David Levy – Communication Breakdown – Sep 19

Current social media and lines of communication tend to be clipped and based on sound bites, and those most successful are those who tap into the short term situation or humour.

Left behind it appears to me are libraries, book reading and letter writing. Some would tell you these are dying arts and from the way these functions are disappearing from our daily lives it appears to be so.

In terms of Marinet that is a pity for we have invested heavily into the written word and the search for truth and solutions.

Last night I was invited to attend an example of the modern day environmental group Extinction Rebellion (XR) and found them to be slick and emotionally as well as psychologically manipulative. It worked on the younger members in the room but I found their presentation as thin as concentration camp soup. The trained speakers, quick to trot out their academic qualifications, were prepared for the uneducated and the easy conquest. Yet to me they were clueless as to how, where and when they could really deliver change.

I for one would see the road they are travelling as fraught with inherent dangers as, at this time, I also see the Liberal Democrats have voted to follow in abandoning the largest vote this country has ever had on an issue. It’s as if they truly do not see the dangers of encouraging social rebellion without having a clue as to the outcome.

Upon questioning XR the challenge came back to me as to what I would recommend and thank you, that task was easy.

Citizen Assemblies already exist in local and national governance. Stand in every seat for councils and parliamentary constituencies with an XR candidate and, once elected with a democratic mandate, form the Citizens Assemblies where you can call in your experts and civilian advice. It is certainly a shorter route to power than the ambivalent strategy you are currently applying. When you have done that then the real battle starts because you will then have to deal with the Civil Service and bureaucracy.

I asked the XR speakers how long their strategy would take, having listened to their lectures portraying very short timelines before the tipping point is reached. Their failure to even address this issue I found galling. It reminded me of fiddling whilst Rome burnt.

Also I find myself thinking there is certain amount of self-gratification going on in getting yourself arrested and being a bloody nuisance to society in order to make your point to a society that is a little more robust than this simplistic philosophy believes it to be.

When the meeting was over I was left with the overall feeling of having been treated like children watching Blue Peter making sticky-backed plastic toys and that this was the depth of this organisation.

I know this perception will not be popular with others in my group.

But I would say to you spend more of your effort either seeking power in our existing democratic institutions and get your colleagues to do the same, or join the organisation formed by Rt Hon Vice President Al Gore and his global alliance to work for change in ways that have already helped the planet.

David Levy


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