Getting to month one hundred – A conversation with Paul Kingsnorth

Getting to month one hundred – A conversation with Paul Kingsnorth

“This is like a movement of people who have seen the promises broken. You come through the other side of the development process and suddenly you’re facing being poorer than your parents. Environmental degradation, overcrowding, decline. It is just what happen to all empires throughout history, really. It’s nothing new in one sense. But we are living through it.”

I met Paul Kingsnorth for a chat about Dark Mountain and what I am trying to do with my research. The conversation shored up some of the thoughts and concepts I’d been considering and brought out new ideas to ruminate. In the same manner and spirit as my previous conversation with Andrew Taggart, we share part of the conversation here.

Just the month before we met I’d finished reading ‘Real England‘. I was left with a feeling of loss mixed with indignation. The book told a tale I already knew – corporate power is crushing local communities and businesses – but it did so through the lives of the pub owners who are squeezed out of business by the PubCos, the boaters who can no longer afford life on the canals, the traditional farmers who are squashed by agribusinesses, the shop-owners who are forced to close when super stores arrive. Part travelogue, part chronicle of the decline of local communities, Real England brings home both the depth and the scale of reckless corporate profiteering. It was a candid reality check which brought up old feelings of anger and sorrow and affirmed to me the importance of connection with place and place-based culture.

I had a feeling that Dark Mountain was connected with the sense of sorrow and indignation that I’d felt reading Real England. I told Paul that it was an enjoyable but very hard read.

PK: Yea, it was quite hard to write. I was on a bit of a downer for a while after it. Because at the same time you’re meeting all these inspiring people doing good stuff but you can see that in the face of what is happening, you know, they can do good things, but they’re not going to hold off the whole… I mean, doing that book was one of the things that brought me up to Dark Mountain in the first place. It just really brought home the scale of what is going on. And… the importance of being honest about how much I’m not going to stop in this country now. Local economies have been basically trashed by the supermarkets and you’re not going to stop that now. You know, you can try to stop more of them and you can try and support local shops. You can support the local economy and you can have campaigns. And you can also do some grassroots innovations, you know, and actually start some local things. But you have to do it in the context of having these bloody great corporate things just squatting there, sucking up most of the money. You can’t fight them off. Maybe one day they’ll fall apart because their supply chains break down but for now you have to work in that context.

If you’re an activist, and, you know, I’ve written about this in Dark Mountain, if you’ve got this sort of activist mindset which is that you identify problems, “we’re going to lobby to stop the problem, we’re going to rally, we’re going to work against it”. If you’ve got that kind of mindset you’re going to assume that everything can be achieved, really, to some degree. You’ve just got to find the right strategy, or find the right tactics, or orchestrate enough people, or use enough good arguments. And… it just, it was kind of a big thing for me to realise that you have to accept that some things can’t be changed.

It’s just saying “come on, actually you’re not going to change the world”. But you have to be able to do it without giving up on everything. There has to be a way of balancing that out. Which is what Dark Mountain sort of came from. It’s saying “this stuff isn’t working and there’s no point in pretending that it is”, and we’re committed to certain things which look like they’re are going to happen now. And we’re not going to stop that either. But that doesn’t mean that we just give up and die. It just means we have to reconfigure our relationship with what’s possible.

One of the things I always say about Dark Mountain is that you have to be in a certain place to be interested in it. You know, you have to have gone through some things before it makes sense. So there are a lot of people out there, including a lot of activists, who I’m still arguing with sometimes. They’re just constantly saying “what is this crap?” You know, “this is handwringing” and “this is giving up”, and “this is…”, you know, “what are you doing?”, “this is really negative”. And I say, “look, this is not an evangelical movement”, we’re not going out there saying “we are right about all this and you must come and agree with us”. We’re not campaigners. It is just a place you can come to if you have reached a certain point and you’ve gone through certain things, like those kind of realisations about what’s possible and what isn’t. And then you come out the other end and say “shit, I need to talk to someone about this, and I need to work my way through it, and I need to think about what still makes sense”. And that was kind of the mentality that it came from.

So, it’s a place that you sort of come to when you’re ready. And some people never are ready. A lot of people are going to think negatively about it because it seems like a threat. If you’re an activist especially. And it is always interesting to me that the people who really get excited about Dark Mountain are artists and creative people. People who get really wound up about it are politically minded people who’ve got… maybe ideological commitments, or just this activist mindset that says, you know, “we’ve got to stop climate change” or “we’ve got to stop capitalism and we haven’t got time for this”. And if you’re in that mindset you’re never going to want to listen to anyone who says it is not possible to do it. As I know because I did it for a long time.

Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine had told me about how the project began as an online conversation between him and Paul. I was interested in hearing more about the take off of the Dark Mountain Project.

PK: It started off as a vague idea of a publication and a writers’ movement and that was what the manifesto was about really. Or, at least that was what was supposed to come out of it. And that did come out of it. But lots of other stuff happened as well because lots of people got interested who were not writers. And it really was genuinely surprising to see the reaction because it was really big. Thousands of people from around the world getting excited about this. And it just popped up all over the place. And we didn’t send it anywhere. Suddenly it got reviewed in the New Statesman, we didn’t send it to the New Statesman. I don’t know how they got hold of it, they just found it somewhere. It just hit that nerve because we were saying all this stuff about getting real and accepting what we can and can’t do, and clearly there were lots of other people who’d been exactly… who were coming to the same conclusions independently. It’s not that we persuaded them, it was just that they read what we’d said, and said “yea, great that’s what I think”. And here are some people who are going to provide some kind of forum for that.

So it was one of these things that seems to have been a historical moment. And that’s still going on. There’s a sort of… I keep seeing it all the time, it is getting in to the mainstream media. I don’t know if you’ve seen it? I keep reading columns in the Guardian that are written by sort of standard columnists who are talking the kind of language that we’ve been talking. It is popping up all over the place. A few years ago it was weirdos like us and maybe John Gray who were talking about this thing and how everything was going to collapse and… a few fringe peak oil people who everyone thought were mad although they weren’t. And now it is just getting into the mainstream because things are noticeably cooling down. And it’s slightly like a delayed reaction but it’s clearly this process unfolding that was already unfolding when we wrote the manifesto. And it is continuing to unfold. It is almost as if it starts at the fringes, this realisation that sort of rolls into the centre. This realisation that everything is changing, it is not going to go back to how it was. And in some ways things are falling apart in ways that we can’t quite pin down. We don’t know what the results will be but we better start taking it seriously. Even though it is really scary. The first thing to do is to say “shit, it is really scary but I have to look at it anyway”. You can see that going on all over society now. And the last people to accept it will be the people in the government. They’ll be saying ‘everything is fine’ for the next ten years as everything falls apart. But they’ll get there in the end.

I don’t know if you’ve read John Michael Greer’s book ‘The Long Descent’? He’s developed this thing which he calls the theory of catabolic collapse. And the point he makes is that if there is a collapse going on it is not going to be an event, it’s going to be a process that goes on over a long period of time, where what he describes as catabolic collapse is where you have… say an event like the 2008 banking crisis, right? A big event happens and then it’s stabilised fairly quickly, so it is not total collapse, it is not apocalypse, right. We’re still here sitting in cafes, but we’ve got noticeably poorer and we’ve got loads of debt to pay back. And suddenly things have got considerably worse in terms of quality of life and the way it is looking in the future. And that sort of pans out for a bit and then there’s another crash and there’s another explosion and then that pans out bit and we go a bit further and then we stabilise again.

And we keep doing that, it is almost like we’re stepping down, and this could go on for a hundred years or two hundred years. And Greer compares it to the decline of the Roman empire, which is that kind of thing happening. At the time, no one was there saying “oh my god, it’s an apocalypse, everything is falling apart”, they’re just gradually realising that their parents were richer than them. This could go on for a hundred or two hundred years, and by the end of the process you are not in progressive, technocratic society anymore, you are in some sort of 17th century agricultural community, or whatever. And I find that quite convincing, I don’t know how it will play out, but… but that seems to me to be one of the things we’re going through. And one of the things he says about that is because it is a fairly slow process it is much easier to deny that it is happening. Because if you suddenly have a total collapse one day, it feels like a tsunami, or something, everything falls apart. Or like, if the Euro explodes and there’s a huge continental catastrophe and all the lights go out, then you can’t deny that. But if you are just gradually getting poorer it’s easier to pretend it is not happening. There’s a lot of people still doing that. You know, my children are going to be poorer than I was, they’re going to have less opportunity, they’re going to have to pay forty grand to go to university, they’re probably not going to have free healthcare, they’re not going to have a pension. My parents had all that stuff as well, I haven’t got it. You know, we’re not horribly poor, we’re still some of the richest people in the world but things are getting worse. But you can deny that all the time.

And it seems to be quite a convincing way of looking at things. And I think that people are starting to click that there is something going on, and they can see that happening. But it is hard to put into words, especially when you’ve got this progressive society, which we live in, which tells you all the time that things will get better. And as far as I can ever remember, and my parents and their parents can ever remember, things we’re always getting better, at least in Europe where we were. After the War everything got better materially for quite a long time and now it’s probably going to get worse. And we’re not really programmed to deal with that. It’s quite interesting. It is also interesting to think about how much of that is because we are in Europe and how we’re reacting to getting poorer. And how much of it is playing out elsewhere. I think probably if we go to China and India they don’t have this same attitude.

But… on the other hand, they’ve got their own limits in different ways. When I was in Chile, I spent two months in Chile at the end of last year, it’s obviously a poor country, and they’ve got this kind of third world obsession with development. It is about “making us a proper, modern country”, and “it’s a great country, we’re going to build roads and we’re going to build dams, and we’re going to have all these airports, it’s going to be great, we’re going to be better than the Americans”. And they’ll hit their own walls with that stuff because they end up destroying their forests, and their soil, and all the rest of it. They’re trying to do in twenty years what we did in two hundred years and they’ll hit the walls much quicker. You can see that happening all over China and India at the moment. There are certainly limits to what they’re trying to do. You get this sort of Western progressive idea that you hear in the papers about how China and India are rising and we’re falling. We are falling but I don’t think China and India are going to be replacing us in that sense. Because they can’t get up to level. It doesn’t look possible.

JDG: Dougald talks about improvisation which I guess is maybe… would you say that is an appropriate metaphor for Dark Mountain? Well, of course it had a beginning with you guys meeting and wanting to create this thing, a journal or whatever, but improvising it as it went along…

PK: I think there are a few different strands to Dark Mountain. And I think one of them is the one we have just been talking about, Dougald calls it collapsonomics, which is what we were talking about in terms of being realistic and honest. About what you think is happening. And this is kind of that improvisation in a way because it’s the opposite to planning. One of the problems I have with the kind of technocratic green movement at the moment… the idea that there is all this shit going on and we have to have a really good plan because that is the way that we are going to stop it happening. We’ve got to have a really good plan, right? We’ve got to have a global government of some kind, and we’re going to work it all out in advance and plan it in a big abstract way. Then we’re going to have a big plan for carbon reduction and we’re going to roll it out across the world and somehow we’re going to make everybody do it. And we’ve got to have a plan for what we’re going to eat and a plan for what we’re going to…

You know, you look at this fight that’s going on among some greens at the moment on nuclear power for example. You know “we need to roll out x number of nuclear power stations, and I’ve done research and I’ve shown that they’re safe”. Maybe they are safe, I don’t know. But it’s not going to happen for any number of reasons due to expense, how long it takes to build them, public opposition. When you actually take the abstract stuff off the page and take your massive intellectually satisfying plan and try and make it work… it won’t work. Or at least bits of it work and others bits of it don’t work… We can’t even plan our own economy. You know, we’re not going to plan the whole fucking world. So that’s where improvisation comes in. And Dougald is right about that. That the opposite to having a big plan is saying “look, there are some things that we can plan for and ought to plan for but a lot of the rest of it is making it up as we go along”. And this is another thing that our society is really uncomfortable with, the idea that you just have to make it up as you go along. Climate change… we’re not going to stop it, we don’t know how it is going to pan out. Reacting to that is going to be making it up as we go along. Even the scientists don’t know, they’re just doing their best. So you can’t do anything else except make it up.

I said this to George Monbiot in the debate we had in the Guardian, I said “look we’re going to have to adapt”, he said “well, we can’t do that, it’s impossible, we can’t, we have to stop it”. And a lot of the greens put themselves in that position intentionally or otherwise. And if you put yourself in the position of saying you’ve got one shot at stopping something which in order to stop it has to involve re-wiring the whole of global society within ten years then, you know, you put yourself in a position where you’re going to just get fucked because it is not going to happen. And then what are you going to do because that is the only option you’ve given yourself? You know, it is all or nothing. We’ve got a hundred months to save the Earth but what happens when you get to month a hundred? What are you going to do then, are you going to jump off a cliff? Because you are going to get there and you are not going to stop climate change. So well, you know, this is it.

This is what has happened to the greens. They got so obsessed with climate change, and totally single-minded about stopping carbon emissions to the extent that everything else fell away, everything else was a price worth paying for doing that. And we’re not going to do it in any significant way. And it is almost like the denial thing is kicking in with the greens now because at some stage they’re going to have to say “it is not going to work, is it? What are we going to do now?” They’ve put everything on it. They’ve bet the whole house on stopping climate change and they are not going to stop it.

So yea, Dougald is right. And it is true in our personal lives as well in terms of how you kind of emotionally come to terms with the stuff as well, that’s a kind of improvisation too. And there’s an element of Dark Mountain which is almost like a kind of therapy group which was entirely unintentional but a lot of people get together and start talking about how they are dealing psychologically with all these things. And like I said, a lot of them are activists or previous activists who have been really motivated people and realised it doesn’t work in various ways, who come to terms with that. It is like a process of therapy in a way. Which has been quite interesting.

But I was saying there’s a few strands to Dark Mountain and that’s one of them. Dealing with collapse. And the other one for me, which is one of the big motivations in the manifesto, is the deep ecological viewpoint, the ecocentric viewpoint, which is something I’ve always felt quite strongly about. The thing that motivates me to do all the environmental stuff in the first place is this idea that at least one of the roots of our problems is that humanity thinks that humanity is at the centre of the world, and that the world exists for our sake. It is this old religious idea that’s been dumped on science and presented as a scientific idea. That because we are so clever we must be above everything else, and look at all the things we’ve done, so therefore the world must exist for our benefit. If you don’t re-wire that idea pretty quickly or at least try and get different ways of seeing out there, ecocentric ways of seeing, ways that don’t have the interest of humanity above the interest of everything else, then you do end up turning the world into a giant farm. A giant computerised farm in the interests of people.

If you take this anthropocentric green narrative, which is the common one at the moment, and feed it into the climate change debate you can very easily end up arguing that as long as you can stabilise the climate, it doesn’t matter how you do it. And as long as you can have a planet that is more or less in balance, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got quite a lot of extinct species if they weren’t useful to you anyway. If you don’t relate to the world as something other than human that has value in its own sake, then you end up just having a global slave state where everything else that exists, exists for the purpose of humanity and is controlled by us. And a lot of people are arguing quite openly that that’s what we need to be doing. And that for me is another big motivation for doing what we’re doing. So when we were talking about new stories and writing about things differently, for me one of the big things I’m looking for is that shifting of consciousness. It’s a very hard things to do and it will take a long time. It is not like us producing a few books is going to change all that but we’ve got to start getting that discussion out there, and that debate and those… trying different ways of seeing things. It’s just infecting everything at the moment. And as things collapse, that anthropocentric narrative will grow stronger and stronger and stronger because we have to desperately try to hold onto everything we’ve got. Especially those of us who are in the rich world here but also people in the poor world who wants to be here. They want to hold onto it too.

So, you’ve got this great kind of global American Dream that everyone wants to hold onto. And if you don’t believe that anything but humanity has a right to life unless it is useful to us then a lot of destruction is going to happen as we try and keep this system going. One of the other things I’m constantly saying with environmentalism is that it’s morphed accidentally from being a movement of people who protect nature from human society to a movement of people who want to protect human society from nature. So the purpose of environmentalism now, almost accidentally because most environmentalist don’t think like this but it is what they end up doing, is keeping civilisation on the road in its current form with all of the things that we take for granted. Which is why you end up saying “well, we’ve got to cover all the mountains in windfarms because that’s the only way that we’ll get our energy needs met. Because we’ve got to keep the lights on”. And that’s the first assumption you start from, that this little bubble of privilege which hasn’t existed for that long has to keep going because we really like it. And lots of bits of it are very nice like us being able to sit in cafes and talk, you know, which is great, but we’ve got to have that, there is no way that we can not have it. And we’ve got to give it to everyone else on the planet because otherwise it’s not fair.

So suddenly you’ve got a system where seven billion people have to live the life of middle class consumers. It’s impossible to do that. The only way you could even conceivably do it is to try and have this world as a giant farm, in which you’re controlling the climate and you’re manipulating everything and you’re eating stem cell meat and… science fiction writers have been warning us about this stuff for two hundred years and it’s all happening. It’s the only way… it’s almost like we’re being locked into this machine. One of the things I got from Robinson Jeffers when I started reading him was that he could almost see all of that. And you read some of his poems from seventy years ago, he’s talking about this giant machine that we’re locked into and this net that is closing around us. And we’ve got seven billion people in the cities and we can’t live free and we need this machine and so… there’s no escape from that. Unless it falls apart. All you want to do is to sustain it. More and more people come along and they want to sustain it and you have to spread the human net wider and control things more closely, and use more science and control technology in order to provide yourself with the stuff that you take for granted. And it is almost… you know, it is a very bleak vision that I sometimes have, and I sometimes look at that and I think I don’t know how we’re going to stop that. I don’t think we are. I think until it falls apart, actually I think until the fuel sources run out… I don’t think we are going to be able to close that down.

So the other thing for me that is at the heart of Dark Mountain is the attempt to re-invigorate the thing that inspired me initially about environmentalism which was ecocentrism. Get that back into the debate again but to put it into the context of collapse. What is it like to see the world as something that doesn’t belong entirely to us in the context of having built this giant machine and it starting to fall apart? As it starts to fall apart we grip it even tighter. It is a kind of strange… trying to put all of this stuff together is one of the reasons that some people find Dark Mountain so confusing because it is confusing sometimes. When people ask you to explain this thing in a few sentences it is very difficult to do it. Because it is much more complicated than that. It is like a big gathering place for people who have these… these views and these understandings that they can’t even necessarily put into words. At least in that very rational way that we are expected to put everything into words now.

I think it is also a place you can come to be confused in a way. You know, in a healthy way. We start off with this understanding and acceptance of where you are and what’s happening, and you don’t really know what to do, you might not even know how to articulate it. But you want to be somewhere else where people feel the same and talk to them about it and work it out. And that feeds into the whole creative angle which was the original point of Dark Mountain, which is to say “well, we’re actually going to create something from this, we’re going to create art or we are going to create stories and writing”. And try and express this stuff in a way that it hasn’t yet been expressed. And I don’t think we’ve really done that yet. I don’t think we’ve… you know, if we’re talking about creating a new kind of uncivilized writing and art, I think we’re getting there, but it’s a process. I don’t think we’ve created… we didn’t bring out one book which was a radical change of anything that has ever been published. We’re sort of working towards something. So, yea, it’s kind of an unfolding process the whole thing.

JDG: Do you think it might be that Dark Mountain is actually more than one thing? I mean, you talk about different strands… Because I’ve been trying to explain what it is that I’m studying and I find that my explanation changes depending on who I’m speaking to. Sometimes it’s about a conversational space, sometimes it’s about dealing with where we’re at, this despair thing, or settling in life which is also part of my own journey. And that… I want to take quite seriously the idea that the world is not one thing and there are multiple realities. It’s not much use to try and imagine that the world objectively exists out there. That leads to all sorts of quite overwhelming things and feeds back into… you know, when we come up with solutions to environmental problems they have to be one size fits all. The angle I’m taking, the theoretical starting point is that reality is multiple and that we all… we’re all coming from different places and so it’s… I find it a strength that Dark Mountain can be these many things. You know, it is not like being part of Greenpeace or something like that. It is actually something that engages with where you are at and that allows you to explore these things. And explore the confusion as well and the questioning.

PK: No, I think that’s right. It’s interesting because for a long time we were kind of struggling with how to explain it. And saying “maybe we need to define this more clearly, maybe people aren’t sure what it is, and maybe we need to narrow it down”. And eventually we realised that that was… that you’re right, that the strength of it was that it was hard to pin down because it starts from that very broad place of accepting this collapse and wanting to view things differently. Beyond that it refuses to prescribe any way of… that things should be done. Which is another thing that annoys activists. They keep saying “what are you going to do then? What are you going to do, just write a poem?” And you say “well yea, I am actually going to do that but that’s not really the point”. I think that’s absolutely right that people like it because it gives them that space to be puzzled in. And to work things out as they go along.

If you read the pieces in the books a lot of them are people working things out. They are not people saying “well, this is what we have to do”. Or, you know, “this is how everyone should be writing”. Or, “look at my answer”. They’re saying “look at my confusion” but also “look at me puzzling through this new situation without feeling that I have to come to… have a proposal at the end”.

JDG: Which is actually… that’s implicit in the manifesto as well, the whole shifting perspective and shifting worldview. And it is also changing the way we have a conversation…

PK: Yea, it is. And it is moving away from the activist mindset as well. I mean, some people have said “well, this isn’t much of a manifesto, it hasn’t got any proposals in it”. You know, I say “it’s not a political manifesto, it’s an artistic manifesto”. It’s like… it’s sort of slightly inspired by a lot of the early twentieth century modernist manifestos, which were, you know, cubists or… or imagists or dadaist or whatever, in the sense that they’re saying “we’re looking at things in a completely different way”. It’s quite interesting looking back at that period, almost exactly a hundred years ago, where the world turned upside down, and all the certainties disappeared. There is a massive war a couple of years around the corner but you can’t see it coming. And yet you can feel it coming. And looking at all of the stuff that was flowering then… looking back at it now, historically, you can clearly see that that was the end of an Era. It’s quite interesting that it was exactly a century ago. You know, the first fourteen years of the last century are just clearly… now this is almost seen as this Golden Age. The people didn’t realise at the time because you never do at the time. And then everything falls apart and turns into something completely different. It gets reconstituted into something new.

And you can clearly see if you look at the art and the writing that people had this sense that there was something really big changing. But no one could see what it would be. And it feels really like the same sort of thing. So, in that context there is no point of having proposals in that sense anyway. What are you going to do? Sit down and say “well, this is what we have to do?” Well, you can do that if you want to but it will be irrelevant in one or two years time. Like, you know, how many books are there being published every week, non-fiction books by people with new political proposals for something or other? They all get forgotten within six months, even if they are interesting at the time because they are just completely irrelevant, they are people taking a bet on something. And pretending that they have a huge amount of knowledge that they don’t really have. One person can’t sit down and say “this is what we have to do about the whole world”. It’s ridiculous. This is mad egotism. And it just looks silly.

The opposite to that is holding open this space where you say “we’re pretty sure where we stand in terms of what our principles are, and we’re pretty sure that everything is falling apart here in some way, but we don’t know where it is going to go, and we can’t argue any solutions, but what we can do is have a process of working it through”. And in that process, you know, things will be created. And writing will be created, art will be created, something new will come if you start to do it with that attitude. Rather than thinking that you have to propose things all the time. It takes a long time to shake off the activist baggage if you come from an activist background. But it’s… if you’re writing a novel… it is interesting thinking about what you just said about multiple viewpoints because if you’re going to write a novel you going to do it… to create any successful piece of art, you have to hold open that way of looking at the world where there are multiple ways of seeing. Every character has got a completely different relationship to what is happening. And a different way of seeing it, being, and they’ve got a different consciousness.

And obviously you can’t write a piece of art that comes from a particular political view and everything in it is a mouthpiece of what you want to say about the world because that just produces bad art. So that almost… what the difference is, the difference between writing a political manifesto and writing a novel or create any piece of create art… you know, when people say “well why haven’t you got a solution”, I say “well, you don’t ask poets why they haven’t got solutions. You don’t ask novelists why they haven’t got… you don’t ask people who write symphonies why they haven’t got a solution to things”. They’re having a creative relationship with the world and they’re saying something and expressing something, creating something that they’re not even obliged to have a position on necessarily. Or if they do have a position they are not obliged to pretend that they have one that they don’t have.

If you’re coming from my background, I think it is maybe less of a problem for Dougald, but as someone who has written a couple of books which are quite activist like that, and have lots of stuff in them about what must be done it’s a more complex process to move away from. And it is not that I think nothing can be done, it’s not that I think politics is useless or that manifestos are never really good but they have to be fairly limited in their application, I think. You know once you start extending into all areas of life, into the whole of the future…

JDG: Yea, that’s like what we’ve done with economics.

PK: Yea, pretty much. You can talk about the economics of your town. Or you can have a campaign like the one I’m involved in here at the moment to stop the supermarket coming into town which I think we could win, hopefully. I’m doing a lot of campaigning. But it is a very local, specific campaign. Or you could have a campaign like the one that went on nationally last year to stop the forests being sold, quite a specific campaign, you know, and it was achievable and it got won. That kind of thing is always worth doing. But that is not the same as trying to plan the future of the world. Based on all sorts of assumptions you have and questions and all sorts of abstract stuff that is completely mad. And I think there is so much of this stuff going on now because it’s… because it’s falling apart more obviously. As I said, I think people want to cling onto it more. There’s just more of that need to control. If you can feel something slipping away you want to hold onto it more tightly.

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