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« More pointed questioning of AGW | Main | 69% reckon climatologists falsify data »
Thursday
Aug042011

Ben Pile on Steve Jones

Ben Pile at Climate Resistance has written a long and typically erudite post about the watermelon hypothesis of environmentalism. Steve Jones is discussed at length.

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Reader Comments (21)

Ben does seem to have a particular aversion to the watermelon thesis having written on it on numerous occasions. eg The July 15 post on Prince Charles.

Of course he overstates his case by insisting on a narrow definition of communism as strictly classic Marxism, even as he acknowledges Marx's attacks on the Utopian Socialists who most closely resemble the anti-industrial deep greens. I don't think anyone would deny that pre-Maoist Marxists were heavily in favour of industrialisation. And equally I don't think he would deny that Communism/Socialism has changed many times between the Owenite creators of New Harmony et al and today. Who would imagine fifty years ago that the far left would make common cause will Islamic radicals in favour of Sharia law?

Green politics has an elitist totalitarian mindset that appeals to both socialists who might be described as of the philosopher king tradition and patrician minded Torys. I doubt James Delingpole, the writer of Watermelons, would disagree. The thesis is based upon numbers on the ground as much as ideology and unfortunately the majority of skeptics are acknowledged to be CWM (conservative white males), Ben being an excepting to one of those three.

There is a fundamental misanthropic core to environmentalism and exposing it must be a priority. I frankly don't care if "watermelon" lacks precision if it makes some people recognise the ugliness.

Aug 4, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

You have to smile. Jones had his piece published by the Daily Telegraph on August 2, wherein he says "The system does the same for volcanic eruptions, for it reveals that volcanoes heave and sag over many centimetres as the molten rock deep below swells and shrinks. Parts of Etna, for example, are slumping at around 20cm a year, which means that it will probably not erupt any time soon."

Just checking on the ubiquitous Wikipedia regarding Etna:

"On 13 January 2011, a new episode of lava fountaining occurred...The volcano has been sputtering with abundant steam and ash plumes and some strombolian explosions in the southeast pit crater on the morning of 8 May 2011, generating loud detonations...After sunset, Strombolian explosions were seen to occur at intervals of 3-10 minutes, ejecting incandescent bombs up to a few tens of meters above the crater rim...On 11 May, this activity rapidly increased and some lava started to spill over the low eastern rim of the crater. Finally, around 0300h in the morning on 12 May (local time = GMT+2), the fourth lava fountain of Etna in the year 2011 burst into the night sky. For many hours, there had been increasingly vigorous Strombolian activity and a small lava flow, and the amplitude of volcanic tremor was rising...In July, 2011, Mount Etna erupted again, sending lava sprays 250m into the air..."

So, Etna has been erupting all year, with increasing strength. Wouldn't one think that Jones would at least do some fact checking before penning something as silly as "which means that it will probably not erupt any time soon"? It's one thing to make a failed prediction; quite another to be making predictions that are actually falsified by the existential facts.

Aug 4, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

'And it seems that the majority of respondents take a pretty bleak view of the media in terms of their scientific balance. 59% of respondents feel that the media are almost always biased in their handling of science stories. 29% believe that the media are frequently biased and 12% said that they are occasionally biased. Not a single person felt that the media are never biased in covering science.

The question that we posed to readers was inspired by a recently published review of the BBC’s science coverage. This concluded, for the large part, that the corporation’s content is accurate and impartial. The findings, published by the BBC Trust, consisted of an independent report from geneticist and popular-science author Steve Jones and a content analysis carried out by Imperial College London.'

http://physicsworld.com/blog/2011/08/media_science_almost_always_bi.html

Aug 4, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Yeah, Ben is fond of his "environmentalism is not marxism" thing. He refuses to see evidence to the contrary (mainly by defining 'Marxism' strictly, to mean, Leninism and British Socialism). Take that part out, and his piece this time is brilliant.

His whole Thatcher argument amounts to: 'See, Thatcher had swallowed greenie ideas. Thatcher!! Where does that leave you watermelon thesis peddlers?', which is sort of an argument-from-incredulity.

Environmentalism is not an empty ideology, in search of, or becomes used by, power. Environmentalism, is, a form of will-to-power. Thatcher didn't seize on ecologic ideas, ecologic ideas seized Thatcher. The whole idea of 'ecology', in all its forms, harbors in it the seed of a will-to-power.

Aug 4, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub, you say that I 'refuse to see evidence to the contrary', but then that the point about Thatcher is no more significant than 'See, Thatcher had swallowed greenie ideas. Thatcher!! Where does that leave you watermelon thesis peddlers?'.

As you know -- because you've commented on the posts, and we've discussed it -- the historic right has made many more appearances in the story of environmentalism's development. And as you also know, my argument is not that 'it's the right what done it'.

To cut it short, and to borrow your expression, environmentalism is not a form of 'will-to-power', but is the will *of* power. In nominative democracies such as ours (assuming you're from the UK), it is the establishment who are turning green. The important thing is not that it was Thatcher who was in power and went green. It is that the 'watermelon' thesis and its variants do not explain the ascendency of environmentalism as effectively as does the atrophy of political institutions -- including political parties. It is circumstances which drove the established left and right 'green'. As I put it: 'environmentalism is a symptom, not a cause'.

The appearance of the likes of Thatcher, Prince Charles, the Murdochs, and so on gives us hints that the debate does not divide according to simple categories. A look at the history of the development of climate institutions shows us that these categories do not hold. A look at the ideas in currency at those times shows us that there is little continuity between the traditions of those coordinates through historical eras, and indeed, nominatively right and left ideas converge, or at least lose their identity.

Environmentalism really is an empty ideology, into which a hotchpotch of nebulous ideas, prejudices and agendas are poured.

Aug 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben Pile and Shub,

This is getting interesting. Allow me to be the first to say here that the question is not one of "either...or else..." but "both...and..." However, I must add one item that seems to support Shub's thesis. The rise of environmentalism that we have seen in the USA includes a powerful movement to undermine the integrity of science. Isn't that movement entirely of the Left, even in the UK? And this movement has been very powerful in American academic institutions quite independently of environmentalism. And this movement has as its inspiration classic doctrine from Lenin and the like. Setting aside William James' "Will to Believe" and similar items, the ideology which subordinates scientific truth to political action is entirely Leninist. I cannot find one proponent of CAGW who is not quite adamant for the need to have science serve policy. It is one thing to promote environmentalism. It is quite another thing to demand the sacrifice of science at the throne of environmentalism.

Aug 4, 2011 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Theo -- Isn't that movement entirely of the Left, even in the UK?

No. If it's 'Left', it's a nominative, post-political left that owes little to any theory as old as Lenin's, and has conceded much to the putative 'right'. The problem with your argument -- if I may say so -- is that it is preoccupied with categories and their exclusivity. This thing is 'left'; that idea is 'Marxist'; such-and-such a perspective is 'Leninism'. Too often in the climate debate, attention to its geometry comes at the expense of looking at its substance and context. Lenin may well have said what you have attributed to him -- I don't know. But there is no idea in any political theory that is necessarily exclusive to that theory or the movement that follows it and their contemporaneous interests. The political sphere is fluid. Ideas have utility, and interests are contingently arranged, such that one moment an idea is useful to one group, a burden the next. Why shouldn't the 'subordination of science to politics' be in the interests of a nominatively capitalist group or class -- the 'bourgeoisie', as Lenin may have called them? But in what sense is that class or its argument 'Leninist'?

Moreover, the scientism in contemporary Western politics is ubiquitous. Whether it be about the climate, drugs policy, abortion, gay rights, and so on, moral arguments defer to science. In other words, we expect science to do moral and political work. People cannot make arguments for the de/criminalisation of drugs or the rights and wrongs of abortion without recourse to 'science'. The argument descends to 'science'. Frankly, it would be better if science had been co-opted into a definitive political project, than by the excesses of our disoriented politicians. At least we would know where we stood. The fact that we don't, and the fact that people search for categories to explain the debate attests to the fact that those old categories no longer hold. They no longer serve as coordinates. We live in 'interesting' times.

Aug 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

A long missive but an insightful one.

Aug 4, 2011 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

About Etna erupting, the last eruption was on 18th July. I climbed Etna on 27th July and the three peaks were still venting steam. You could gather 9 day old lava particles in abundance. Wonder which world do frauds and charlatans like Steve Jones occupy as that doesn't seem to be the word we normal human beings are part of.

Aug 4, 2011 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenter

Nice article by Ben! About the watermelon hypothesis, my feeling is that this is one of many questions where the left/right categories are not completely helpful. Judith Curry had a post about libertarianism and the environment - I guess that the liberal (in the old sense of the term) vs. statist divide is perhaps slightly more useful than the left/right one in understanding how political instincts overlap with feelings about AGW. This overlaps to an extent with Ben's reply on Aug 4 at 3:27 pm: the appeal of "evidence-based policy" in recent times does not sit well with some liberals' view that piecemeal social engineering is preferable to utopian planning. And this in turn brings another thought: people do not all fit neatly on a one-dimensional spectrum of views. E.g. George Soros is a huge fan of Popper's political views, yet is an ardent AGW-believer. As mentioned in Ben's article, Thatcher's views on AGW may be complex, and may not inform us all that much on how AGW fits into the left/right divide.

Aug 5, 2011 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Ben Pile

There are plenty of ardent environmentalists who are also CAGW sceptics, so presumably it is as wrong to conflate 'environmentalism' and 'leftism' as it is to conflate 'environmentalism' and 'warmism', though the latter appears to be rife throughout your writing.

Criticism of one set of labels as simplistic ('left', 'right', etc) ought not to depend on a similarly simplistic interpretation of another set ('environmentalism', 'warmism', 'sceptic', etc).

Personally, I would find arguments like this easier to follow if assumptions about such labels were made explicit at the outset. For example, "Throughout this article, 'the left' will mean big-state authoritarian technocrats, and 'the right' will mean small-state classical liberals." A clear statement of what the 'watermelon theory' actually is would also be helpful.

It appears to me that your argument (like so many) rests solely on ambiguity of the terms in which it is expressed.

I would also respectfully observe that to support one controversial viewpoint by reference to another risks derailing the discussion and is therefore a form of self-trolling (I hesitate to mention it even in these terms, since, fortunately, nobody else has).

Aug 7, 2011 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Jake, you are right to point out that there are divisions within environmentalism, and that it is a broad category. It's a point you may find I make often on my blog, if you care to read the other arguments there. My claim is in fact that there is no coherent 'environmentalism' as a concrete political idea or philosophy at all. There is no Marx or Smith of environmentalism. Instead, I argue, 'environmentalism' is a constellation of phenomena -- an epihenomenon, which is why it is wrong to see it as a continuation of the Left. The important dynamic -- the context of environmentalism's ascendency -- is the collapse of political traditions, and many other public institutions. In other words, 'environmentalism is a symptom, not a cause'. I also claim that many of the political arguments of environmentalists are not particular to environmentalism: its scientism, and naturalistic tendency are ubiquitous, as I discussed with Theo.

To your point about there being a difference between different environmentalists' emphasis on the climate issue, my broader criticism of environmentalism is its eco-centricism, which I beleive comes at the expense of human-centric ethics and politics. I don't beleive a synthesis of these positions is possible. I've argued elsewhere that, were the climate issue to diminish in its significance, environmentalism has sufficient institutional apparatus that it is able to simply emphasise some other aspect of our relationship with the environment. My bets are on the population issue, which has been an adjunct to climate. But it could be otherwise. There is also 'biodiversity' -- which is possible an even more nebulous concept than climate change. And so on.

At 4.5K words, I felt the blog post was already too long to expect people to read it. It's long even by my standards. To offer a definition of terms at the start of each and every blog post would defeat the purpose of blogging -- in contrast to more formal essaying -- in my view. Blogs create the possibility of developing a perspective, which is why some blogs use 'tags', through which you can see an approach to a problem or subject develop. I prefer to link back to previous articles, to give more context to the idea I'm working on. In contrast to more formal forms of writing, blogs only have a beginning, the middle is always moving, and there is no end unless the author gives up.

Aug 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

I posted a response on Ben's blog article suggesting that the old Left failed because people express a preference for negotiating their exchanges (of goods, ideas, desires etc). It is this enduring preference which brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and falsified the old Left's claim that society cannot sustain it.

I went on to argue that the new Left has since regrouped behind 'environmentalism', from where it makes a subtly modified claim which conveniently sidesteps this pesky human preference - stating instead that the *space* society lives in cannot sustain negotiated exchange... regardless of whether there is a social preference for it or not.

Ben's article draws attention to Thatcher's greenery a way of dismissing the 'Watermelon' thesis. I responded by suggesting that anyone who wanted to get rid of negotiating an exchange (eg, when faced by a bunch of militant mineworkers) would find environmentalism a useful position from which to try. The fact that it is the near-universal position held by the Left, merely suggests that the Left want more than anyone else to achieve this end.

It looks like Ben has barred my response on his site. Given his appetite for effortlessly demolishing counter arguments to his ideas... I take this censorship to mean I might be on to something!

Aug 8, 2011 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Peter - I take this censorship to mean I might be on to something!

Your comments are held in moderation because you've ignored my dozens of requests to keep the discussion focussed. I have no idea why you read my site.

Aug 8, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Yeah Peter,
You might be on to something.

Ben's argument against the watermelon thesis, amounts to contrasting the historical disparateness between the Left and modern environmentalism, ab origine, in order to refute/downplay the analytic similarities that exist between them.

Aug 8, 2011 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

"... in order to refute/downplay the analytic similarities that exist between them."

We have had that discussion. And there isn't any such similarity, except trivial truths; connections of the order that get the likes of David Icke excited. As I pointed out to you, there are plenty of rightward thinkers involved in environmentalism's history. Starting with Malthus through Ehrlich and Hardin to Thatcher. Yet to say that environmentalists were 'green on the outside, blue on the inside' would be hasty, even though 'Vote Blue, Go Green' was the Conservative Party's recent slogan... And a logo of a tree... And that 'Quality of Life Challenge' policy group, headed up by that well known communist, Zac Goldsmith.

The desire for simple categories to explain the debate is insidious. The same desire in green politicians, whether they be red or blue, divides the debate into 'scientists' and 'deniers' at the expense of a debate.

Aug 8, 2011 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Yes, Ben, there are plenty of rightward thinkers who are/were involved in environmentalism's history. But these were victims to the siren call - they could not recognize what beckoned them, from within the Green.

If you must be aware, that I am not pursuing 'redness', purely in order to use it as a shorthand. I don't want to call environmentalism 'red', in order to dismiss it. At the heart of the environmentalist/ecologist's condition, is man's relation to nature - hardly a question that was ever easily disposed of, as the environmentalists childishly deign to do. I don't see or use calling environmentalists as watermelons, as a smear, or a label.

Aug 8, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

"... But these were victims to the siren call ..."

The problem is, Shub, you're reading history backwards. Causality and reality unfold the other way. There was no 'siren call', and to allude to one makes you argument all the more implausible by adding this mystical, or at best, teleological call -- you're doing a good job of reflecting the excesses of environmental ideology.

"... At the heart of the environmentalist/ecologist's condition, is man's relation to nature ..."

That is because the human condition is such that we find ourselves in 'nature'/creation/the biosphere/whatever you want to call it. It appears in countless political ideas throughout history, not as some continuous, or otherwise, process. The problem is not in observing that man relates to 'nature', the problem comes from over-stating that dependence, especially where 'nature' is mis-, or prematurely conceived.

Aug 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

No Ben, I am not reading history backwards. In fact, I am not reading any history at all, when I say that rightward thinkers were seduced by the siren call of environmentalism.

This, is a process that is ongoing. It has happened in the past, and it happens today as well.

Environmentalism, is a certain way of thinking. You can't buy into parts of it. You can't buy into it, without bringing harm to your native method of thinking, especially if you don't know what it is.

But, historically, that is what 'rightward thinkers', have tried to do. The fact that they did so - the fact that right-leaning politicians and ideologues borrowed, occupied or brought into the tenets of environmentalism - does not prove that environmentalism has affiliations or allies in the right.

Moreover, what is a siren call?

Let us consider an anti-communist political position, for instance. If a politician of this hue, buys into green ideas, he is adopting an 'ism' that is odds with personal liberty, an attribute of fundamental importance to his original position. Of course, that is not how he will see it, nor will he admit to himself that that is the case. What is the end result? A politician who sees himself as being clever, for jumping onto the green bandwagon, but in reality has only compromised his own position (of anti-communism) a wee bit.

This is because, post-election, he'll have to appease his green constituency by saying: "I know you guys all want to be free and all that, but will please sort your garbage into three bins and throw away your lightbulbs. (It's a small price to pay)."

You are probably counting such people in your list of 'right wing environmentalists'.

Of course, this is not your fault - it is rather the bankruptcy of the anti-communist approach, in the first place.

.................

The problem here, Ben, is that you are putting across your points, largely to an audience who agrees with you (although I don't know why you had to unload on Peter like that).

Aug 9, 2011 at 4:08 AM | Unregistered Commentershub

Ben

If you are still following this thread, what do you think of the non-Marxist socialists in regard to environmentalism (particularly those that preceded the Communist Manifesto)?

I know that's a tough question because prior to Marx there isn't a clear cut thinker of his stature, but perhaps making the question open will give you more scope to reply.

---

My thoughts would be that prior to Marx the Socialist movement in general saw the industrial revolution as a negative. This is partly realist, based upon the harshness of the new industries and overcrowded inner cities and partly a romanticization of feudalism. I would acknowledge that this current overlaps with traditionalist conservatives eg. people like Ruskin and Wordsworth. It's perhaps noteworthy that the former described himself as a Christian Socialist.

I would suggest that the modern environmental movement has grown out of that background, owing much to romantic notions of pre-industrial society but adding in ideas like Rousseau's noble savage along the way. It grew through the art and crafts movement and anti-mass production. Thus it takes ideas that could be described as conservative or socialist in origin.

Nonetheless movements change. The modern right owes as more to classical Liberalism and Libertarianism than to classical Conservatism. Whilst old style Tories such as Cameron and Goldsmith can point to 19th century Tories for their ideas, those ideas are not shared by other parts of the right.

Equally the left has changed. No one except perhaps Spiked would now call for the White Heat of Technology.

I would suggest that the watermelon charge comes from
1. tracing these ideas from those parts of the left that rejected Marxism
2. noting that communist parties always have done and continue to practice entryism
3. from the priorities of the deep Green movement. Not only do we see the Green Party aligning itself with other extreme left causes (such as supporting Hamas), we also see how they resolve contradictions between environmental issues and leftist ones. For example the Chinese and Indians are mass building coal power stations. Now Gaia doesn't care whether one person produces a million tonnes of CO2 or a million people produce one tonne each. It's the total volume that will fry the polar bears. Yet the environmental movement is prepared to let China build because it is catching up. Meanwhile it calls upon the US and Europe to scale back even though the Chinese build up will dwarf any possible US/European reduction. Thus the equalitarian imperative trumps the environmental one. Hence the claim that red trumps green.

Aug 10, 2011 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

TDK, I think it's too easy to impose continuity over our view of history with the benefit of centuries of hindsight. We might want to compare the Luddites with contemporary anti-industrial greens, except that would forget the political character of their arguments, and make the mistake of seeing ideas outside of their context. The Luddites didn't want to be displaced by machines. Smashing them up seemed to be their only way to assert their interests. The alternative was pretty dire. The proto-communism of Thomas More in Utopia is another interesting instance of attempting to conceive of a different social order in which there is a discussion about 'nature'. But that discussion owes much more to medieval theological and ancient philosophy, and of course, the limitations of medieval technology than it owes to some fanciful wouldn't-it-be-nice-if... idealism. I.e these ideas are responses to actual conditions. More notes (through the protagonist's narrative) the social effects of the displacement of people from the land to make way for sheep -- i.e. nascent commodity (wool) markets -- which creates idleness and greed in the upper classes, and criminality in the dispossessed. What he invents is horrible to us, though it is characterised by relative abundance, and conditions that are preferable to starvation.

There is a qualitative difference then, between pre- and post-industrial environmentalism. The pre-industrial relationship with nature really created a virtually zero-sum situation. Though environmentalists try to reinvent the concept of such zero-sum-ness, they do so in much more abstract ('scientific') terms, rather than in terms that be easily related to experiences of life/nature/society. I don't see any meaningful continuity between the environmentalism which exists prior to the industrial revolution, and that which follows it.

Malthus, and the neo-Malthusians represent a much more interesting continuity. It's not romanticism that drives contemporary establishment environmentalism and its institutions; banks, energy companies, technology firms and their interests drive it far more than the primitivism of lentil-pushing Guardianistas. No doubt the latter have rediscovered or reinvented some of those romantic ideals, but that speaks much more about contemporary anxiety, or anomie than it says about a historic trend. If you look at the arguments even those people make, they look more like spreadsheets, and carbon accounts than enthusiasm about knitting your own solar-power flying lentil burger... "Look, I've recycled my own urine" is followed by a litany of claims about how failing to do the same will bring about doom. That's not an argument about more 'authentic' lifestyles; it's a gun to your children's heads.

If we look at these ideas, and what produced them in history, they are much more easily seen as a response to actual, experienced conditions in pre-industrial and industrial society. If contemporary environmentalists have been at all successful in the same way, it has only been to identify the emptiness of contemporary, post-industrial society experienced by a very narrow section of society. This usually results in a criticism of 'consumerism'. Meanwhile, most people experience consumerism as cheaper, better food, more leisure time, and more opportunities to travel, and so on. There have only ever been a few hundred people on the streets, complaining about the fact of cheap flights; there are far more people on the planes. The reaction has been, ironically, more consumerism: an emphasis on things like locally-sourced goods, organic food, 'ethical' boutiques and markets, which are about lifestyles that set these consumers apart from the hoi polloi. It's a preoccupation with the self, this criticism of individualism, and its desire for 'authenticity'. This existential crisis has not turned into a political idea as such, in the way that actual, material oppression did.

To your three points, which I hope I've understood.

1. tracing these ideas from those parts of the left that rejected Marxism.... I don't think it's a rejection as such. The tendency is, I suggest instead, a collapse of the tradition for many reasons, which aren't exclusive to the left.

2. noting that communist parties always have done and continue to practice entryism... I think this is a trivial truism. The left practiced 'entryism', because for the establishment, there is no need of a strategy to assert its interests. And for greens, it could hardly be called 'entryism': they walked straight in. The door was open. They were invited, if they weren't already there. Environmentalists -- such as FoE, and the Worthingtons, Lynas', Tickells, and Radiohead frontmen -- didn't have to organise themselves into secret committees to achieve roles in drafting the Climate Change Bill. And when that bill became an act, it did so without any resistance. It's not as if the established classes put up a fight.

3. from the priorities of the deep Green movement. Not only do we see the Green Party aligning itself with other extreme left causes (such as supporting Hamas),... I think this is coincidental. In Germany in the 1990s, the Green Party backed Nato involvement in the Balkans. Meanwhile, Radovan Karadžić was a founding member of the Bosnian Green Party. And I think the Brazilian GP candidate last year was a committed catholic, against abortion, etc etc. Of course, these are just three instances. But they nonetheless are radically at odds with a general, 'left' perspective on issues. In the UK, certainly, the Green Party ends up absorbing a small part of the legacy of the historic left movements (but as others have noted, there were some members of the GP whose names appeared on the leaked BNP membership list, and a convergence on some of their policies), but the GP began in the 1970s as PEOPLE, before Ecology, established by individuals from the Conservative Party. And again, what is the significance? Caroline Lucas certainly did well to earn her 16K votes. But the next three most popular GP candidates won half as much in turn. I don't think there were more than 1/4 million votes for them. After nearly 4 decades of campaigning, they barely register. Their influence cannot explain our increasingly green policies.

In summary, I don't think we can identify anything particular to both environmentalism and the left. I am not saying 'there's no such thing as a watermelon'. The point is that watermelons paint themselves green to give their ideas currency -- the same as everybody else. The watermelon theory doesn't really tell us anything, then.

Apologies for the over-long comment.

Aug 10, 2011 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

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