Snipe - The Scoop

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Roger Evans in row over 'Climate Change Taliban'

The Conservative leader on the London Assembly is embroiled in a row about referring to opponents of expansion at City Airport as 'the climate change Taliban.'

A number of complaints were made against Roger Evans after he wrote the following about the airport protesters, many of which are his constituents:

"We were promised a flash mob objecting to plans to increase flights in and out of City Airport [at People's Question Time] but in the event there were about a dozen campaigners in red shirts who oppose all airport expansion. Boris was having no truck with the climate change Taliban and he pointed out that Newham Council had given their approval so clearly there was local support for a project that would create jobs during the recession."

Writing in the Guardian yesterday, John Vidal asked:

"Could [Boris] please do something about young Roger? He is in deep water in the area after describing people who are fighting the airport expansion as "the climate change Taliban". Roger, you really must not go calling peace-loving east London residents terrorists. Expect a slew of official complaints."

Green Assembly Member Darren Johnson said today:

"Roger Evans’ attitude is a clear disrespect of local people’s legitimate concerns. Airport expansion will affect the quality of life of thousands of Newham residents who are anxious about increased noise and airpollution. The real threat to Londoners health and lives doesn't come from a ‘climate change Taliban’, but from he air pollution that already causes 1000 premature deaths in the capital each year".

"The London Mayor supports the concerns of people in West London about noise and air pollution, but dismisses the people of East London who have expressed those same concerns about airport expansion. We shouldn’t be surprised at the Mayor’s attitude towards local people. After all, he will need to evacuate 35,000 people from the Isle of Sheppey to build his fantasy island airport on top of World War II explosives."

The offending comments have now been removed from Evans' blog although no acknowledgment has yet been made.

Taliban for London

Evans' follows in a long line of Tory 'humorists' from Richard Littlejohn to Brian Coleman who enjoy railing against the Traffic Taliban, and 'Taliban for London'.

But whereas the 'Town Hall Talibandits' may easily be dismissed in this way, those people opposed to the expansion of City Airport come from across the political spectrum.

And as their representative on the Assembly, Roger Evans would do well to treat them with some respect.


-Update- Statement added from Darren Johnson

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

The people around London City Airport have been treated with contempt. Petitions against expansion have been ignored , job figures have been massaged and 4 years at Drew Primary School are exposed to Toxin levels 50% over EU acceptable levels. Noise is in breach of WHO Guidelines.

That Roger Evans has decided to call residents Taliban is appalling.He should be ashamed on commenting on something that effects so many people yet he and Boris no so little about.

Tom said...

I'd get slightly away from what he called them (I'm all for a good insult) but what stands out here is the contempt the Conservatives have for people who actually want to keep the planet habitable. It's the same with the phrase 'eco-mentalist' being used to describe people who think that driving everywhere in a big 4x4 might be a bit selfish. Charming. Exposes a big hole at the heart of the Tory greenwash, too. What would Dave Cameron say?

AdamB said...

I like Roger and I'm sure he meant it as a joke, but for the people whose lives will be made miserable by this expansion, it is very far from being a joke.

It's all very well using this kind of knockabout stuff when you're in opposition, but when it's your own side making the decisions then I think it's a bit much.

Especially when the man many of these people voted for has broken his promise on the issue.

Anonymous said...

If the Airports Masterplan comes into effect it will have the equivilent number of flights as Heathrows Third Runway.So of course Boris and Roger can say no to a Third runway as they know that its been moved to East London by stealth.Shame!

Anonymous said...

So you lot are all taking the train to Southend for your holidays this year?

Ok, so thanks to the Dear Leader, everybody's skint and no one's going anywhere -- but if you want to stop airport expansions, then put your little placards away and stop buying airline tickets -- but most people won't.

Personally I think the most damaging thing to the environment is probably the smoke that blows out of George Monbiot's fanatical arse, but even if only 30% of the self-righteous True Believer yarn is somehow based on truth, then probably we are all going to fry, and there's not a single thing you or anybody can do about it.

Well, you could go talk to the Chinese and the Indians. Good luck with that.

---Yours, Appealing of Ealing

Anonymous said...

"I'd get slightly away from what he called them"

That would appear to be what the entire article is about.

-AOE

AdamB said...

There's a difference between being anti-expansion and anti-aviation AofE. Just because I drive to the supermarket doesn't mean I want a motorway going through my back garden, and just because I don't want the airport in my area to expand, doesn't mean I'm opposed to all air travel.

This isn't even about climate change as far as I'm concerned (aviation is only a small contributor to that) but about air quality and quality of life. This is something that I thought Conservatives were committed to as well (or is that only in West London?)

Anonymous said...

Thanks AdamB - Spot On!!
It is about quality of life. Its strange why it applies to west london and not east.
Plus East London already has the Heathrow Flights overhead as wells as London City Airport! Wheres the fairness in that?

Anonymous said...

"It is about quality of life. Its strange why it applies to west london and not east."

Today the wind is from the east, Heathrow is on "easterlies", and here in Ealing, I get a low flying jet over my house every couple of minutes ...the ones that bank to the north. In what sense do quality of life considerations only apply to the west?

Oh, and by the way, I'm not complaining.

-AOE

Tom said...

"So you lot are all taking the train to Southend for your holidays this year?"

Barbados and the Isle of Wight for me. The former by long-haul flight out of Heathrow, which is currently the only alternative available and since I've lived under the damn flightpath I reckon that's karmic balance restored. It's not like I'm calling for Heathrow to be moved to the Thames Estuary or anything.

Isle of Widget we're driving. I'd prefer to take the train, but some anti-public transport clown who thought only motorists matter closed the line from Shanklin to Ventnor in 1966. Sound like anyone you know, Appalling-O-E?

Anonymous said...

"This isn't even about climate change as far as I'm concerned"

I accept and agree with that point. I was responding to the reaction to Mr. Evans' humour which was specifically targeted at climate change activists.

-AOE

AdamB said...

"In what sense do quality of life considerations only apply to the west?"

In the sense that Kit Malthouse and Boris (for a time) want to close Heathrow and move it to the east (while still expanding City Airport).

"I was responding to the reaction to Mr. Evans' humour which was specifically targeted at climate change activists."

The point is that the people he was referring to were not 'climate change activists' but anti-expansion activists. Evans appeared to be lumping the two in together as a means of dismissing them both.

Anonymous said...

"closed the line from Shanklin to Ventnor in 1966. Sound like anyone you know, Appalling-O-E?"

Probably Barbara Castle. Labour government.

-AOE

Anonymous said...

"In the sense that Kit Malthouse and Boris (for a time) want to close Heathrow and move it to the east (while still expanding City Airport)."

In no serious sense then. The day that happens, we'll be flying pigs.

-AOE

AdamB said...

"In no serious sense then. The day that happens, we'll be flying pigs."

I agree. Unfortunately it hasn't stopped Boris pouring his time and our money into the project.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately it hasn't stopped Boris pouring his time and our money into the project."

Yes. A waste of money.

Ok folks, nice talking to you. PMQs nearly over, and the sun is shining.

Nice to see you posting something contentious again. I was getting bored over at Navel Watch...but they do love me over there.

-AOE

Anonymous said...

From a Royal Docks resident point of view it is heartbreaking to see all the families move from the area. Britannia Village was created as a regeneration project full of 3 bed homes and a school to create a community. Few families are left and its turning into a rental dumping ground. Why? Noise from the Airport. They are very quick to say that noise levels inside homes are monitored but I want my children to be able to play outside in the park. They cant. The noise is too much. I am disappointed that Evans used this language to dismiss people who only want what is right and acceptable for the children in Royal Docks and surrounding.

Tom said...

"Probably Barbara Castle. Labour government."

Quite, so why do you often sound like 1960s road-mad governments? Face it, you're something of a sixties throwback yourself, AoE. This isn't a party political point, it's a being-wrong-about-things point. Still, if you want to shack up with Babs and Ernie Marples, fine by me, but don't expect anyone to listen in the 21st century. West London was where the tide was turned, remember, when residents groups infiltrated the 1973 GLC elections. Via the Labour Party.

"here in Ealing, I get a low flying jet over my house every couple of minutes "

Lovely and peaceful here. Of course, the prevailing wind is the other way, so usually I get to examine them from below every 90 seconds or so, which makes days like this when I can open the windows and hear nothing but birds and binmen all the more blessed.

To settle a bet, can you confirm you aren't dull self-obsessed Boris voting Ealing resident Toby Young? What an arse he is, eh?

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23662444-details/Do+something+for+cyclists%2C+Bojo/article.do

Anonymous said...

Roger Evans has shown himself to be a right Burkha!

Tom said...

"After all, he will need to evacuate 35,000 people from the Isle of Sheppey to build his fantasy island airport on top of World War II explosives."

Um, not quite. The airport site is a good ten miles further out than the SS Richard Montgomery. Not that that makes it any more sensible as an idea, of course.

Anonymous said...

Well said Darren Johnson!! Good to see one member of the assembly sticking up for the people!!!

The Realist said...

AOE you are wrong - Roger Evans comment was not aimed at climate change activists at all. It was aimed at community groups in an anti expansion flash mob. These were made up of local residents who are not anti aviation but are against aviation expansion when the negatives outweigh the positives.

Ironically there is a by election in The Royal Docks next week - because the local councillor tragically died as a result of an asthma attack. It is worth noting that Newham has the highest mortality rates in under 30s with asthma in the whole country. Anti expansion campaigners issues go beyond the event of a jet flying over, and the associated noise, it is about the health and well being of the communities.

East London, Essex and Kent is under a minimum of 13 flight paths and is beneath 3 holding areas for Heathrow and City Airport planes. East London is affected not only by low flying City Airport flights, but also Heathrow flights from 4.30am each day.

Anonymous said...

Its also worth noting that as well as the noise, air quality and massaging of jobs figures (exactly how many pilots do you think live in Newham or East London?)there is wider regeneration blight. Save for some hotels and excel, nothing is really going on there. Given that the Royal Docks were originally part of the London Docklands Development Corporation area, its really shocking. Who thought that putting an airport there would regenerate the area in the first place?

As well as creating new homes, you would also create new jobs and a really attractive place. See for a good example of what to do with a dockside regeneration site.

Anonymous said...

Its also worth noting that as well as the noise, air quality and massaging of jobs figures (exactly how many pilots do you think live in Newham or East London?)there is wider regeneration blight. Save for some hotels and excel, nothing is really going on there. Given that the Royal Docks were originally part of the London Docklands Development Corporation area, its really shocking. Who thought that putting an airport there would regenerate the area in the first place?

As well as creating new homes, you would also create new jobs and a really attractive place. Look at http://www.hafencity.com/index.php for a good example of what to do with a dockside regeneration site.

Anonymous said...

David Cameron yesterday slapped down a senior Tory who compared climate change activists to the Taliban, as he continued his attempt to green his party, despite the recession and opposition from sceptics.


Sources close to the Conservative leader described as "inappropriate" a website entry by Roger Evans, a London Assembly member, describing anti-airport campaigners as "the climate change Taliban".

And a spokesman for Boris Johnson, London's Mayor – who once compared concern about global warming to "Stone Age religion" – added: "This is not language that the Mayor would use."

The assembly's assessment sub-committee is now determining whether the remark should be investigated by its standards board.

Ironically, "the Taliban" is also the epithet privately used by green Tories for the party's climate change sceptics.

Last Tuesday Mr Cameron again emphatically sided with the environmental wing of his party during a regular private meeting with backbench MPs. He told them that the commitment to green issues would remain at the centre of Conservative policies.

Next week he is to have a special meeting with Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who – as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – is leading scientific calls for tough action.

Environmentalists feared that the Conservatives would scale down their commitment after the sacking in January of Peter Ainsworth – one of the greenest MPs in parliament – as shadow Environment Secretary and his replacement by Nick Herbert, a founder of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-fury-at-climate-change-taliban-jibe-1651310.html

Anonymous said...

There has been a concerted malicious campaign today to try and tie Neil to the Boris Flashmob and beyond.

False names and identities were created on various websites and identities of people associated with Fight The Flights were used.All between 12pm and 2pm.

As you are aware the Royal Docks by-election happens this week and various other "parties" have become vicious and nasty.It is a shame that the Newham machine is so desperate not to have a Tory Councillor that they will stoop to this level.


Fight the Flights is the London City Airport anti expansion community group. They ARE NOT anti airport NOR anti aviation and are NOT party political. The group is representative of the community in that it has campaigners who are from all political persuasions. We have a cause, which bonds us all together - and politics don't come into that, whatever the 'impersonator' claims! We can understand that those who don't have the privelege to personally know the residents campaigning would perhaps have difficulty understanding that nice people do actually exist and make up our communities.

So who would want to impersonate and make such statements to try and attack Neil Pearce? A pr company perhaps - or the political party in the Royal Docks who didn't listen to the residents and is now concerned it might lose a seat?

Neil Pearce has indeed been involved in Fight the Flights - because he listened to residents concerns in the Royal Docks about their fear of airport expansion and responded to that. There's no secret there at all. Neither is there any secret that Neil Pearce did not agree with Boris Johnson - this was all documented by BBC London. None of that sounds like he was trying to hide it, does it?

And one last thing: Neil Pearce is not on the board of FTF and he did not organise the flash mob, and we have indeed had support from: Labour MP John Austin, Baroness Ludford, Lib Dems and Darren Johnson from the Greens.

AdamB said...

Hello Anonymous. Can you email me on adambienkov@btinternet.com about this and I'll look into it.

Thanks

Adam