DON’T GET DISTRACTED - Statement on the resignation of Boris Johnson - Extinction Rebellion UK

DON’T GET DISTRACTED – Statement on the resignation of Boris Johnson

With Westminster paralysed by scandal after scandal and the Prime Minister set to leave 10 Downing Street, it’s time to recognise that the decision making bodies we have trusted are functioning for the benefit of corporates and capital rather than the British public, and are not capable of tackling the major crises we face. 

Why do we need radical change that puts ordinary people at the heart of decision making? The answer is right here before us. 

The repeated abject failure of this government is a disgrace, but the archaic UK political system itself has provided no guard rails against these scandals, corruption and the culture of lying rife in our politics. One High Court finding after another of unlawful practices has made no difference. The system has simply encouraged the schoolyard political games that are easily abused by the selfish. Short term thinking and the desire for power mean our system cannot produce leaders who will actually lead in the era of climate and ecological breakdown. 

While we might feel apathy from the endless stupidity of the last few years, we must not be distracted by it. Because the work to dismantle democracy and destroy the future of humanity is working over time behind the scenes; deals on coal mines, expanding oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, authoritarian bills being written to clamp down on our human rights. The list goes on.

What is the solution? Citizens Assemblies.

As the government spends the next month in their own version of Game of Thrones, with MPs backstabbing their way to the seat of power, the UK public must build a mass movement that demands an evolution of our democracy. Independent Citizens Assemblies, selected to reflect the diversity of our society, are our best model for cutting a path out of the embarrassing soap opera of our current politics. A more participatory mode of politics will empower ordinary people with expert knowledge, allowing us all to “get on with the job” of acting on the climate crisis, supporting the most vulnerable, and creating a future that centres care, justice and freedom for all. 

Below is a non-exhaustive list of this government’s failures. Politics as usual clearly isn’t doing the job. It’s time to step up, to step into our power, and do what is necessary to turn this sinking ship around. 

Boris Johnson and his governments’ scandals:

(1 – 5 found unlawful by courts or police)

  1. Prorogation
  1. High Court finds govt failed to protect care home residents
  1. PPE contract VIP lane 
  1. Publication of PPE Contracts
  1. Partygate
  1. Chris Pincher Scandal
  1. Covid Excess Death Rate (aka social murder)
  1. Ministerial Code
  1. Two Ethics Advisors Quit in Two Years
  1.  Not sacking Patel after bullying exposed
  1. Owen Paterson
  1. Sue Gray findings on culture 
  1. Flat Refurb-gate
  1. Appointments to Lords
  1. Imran Ahmad Khan and other overlooked MP misconduct

Good Law Project Twitter Thread: 5 times Boris Johnson’s Government has broken the law

Climate related:

  • Reversal of Green Homes Grant – (over £1bn of the £2bn fund withdrawn)
  • Cut aid spending to 0.5% of national income and below its legal obligations (until further notice) – a reduction of around £4bn. 
  • Authorisation of EU-banned pesticide 
  • Failed (and continuing to fail) to contain nitrogen dioxide emissions within legal limits in 33 of 43 zones measured across the UK.
  • Off-track to meet 4th, 5th and 6th carbon budgets – and legally-enshrined net-zero 2050 commitment. For which they are facing legal challenge from FofE for lack of climate strategy to achieve these targets.
  • NZSG led by Tory MPs claiming charity status and associated benefits
  • Green light on DRAX gas plant, disregarding planning inspectorate verdict that it was incompatible with obligations under the Paris Agreement. 
  • Failed to call-in Heathrow Expansion, despite Johnson’s claim to “lie down in front of those bulldozers”
  • Continuing to fund a $1bn Mozambique LNG project after pledging to end overseas financing for fossil fuel projects. 
  • UK government sued over ‘pie-in-the-sky’ net-zero climate strategy
  • Climate: UK government taken to court over Mozambique gas project | Friends of the Earth
  • Green light on: 
    • Cumbria coal mine (initially and still pending)
    • Abigail and Jackdaw oil fields

HM Treasury:

  • £16 billion funding package to the oil and gas sector to encourage the sector only to decarbonise its operations (but continue to extract fossil fuels). 
  • £27 billion road expansion programme – the largest ever in England – (for which the DfT faced legal challenge for ignoring official advice to consider policy in line with climate obligations and for grossly underestimating the emissions output from the scheme).
  • Cut Air Passenger Duty on UK domestic flights by half
  • Cut grants for electric car buyers.
  • Cut Fuel Duty, in real terms, for 12th year in row
  • New 80% “super deduction” tax break to incentivise investment in UK fossil fuel extraction projects. 

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