Thursday, November 29, 2007

say no to no

A small oil company logo on the front of a leaflet with a picture of a green tree against a blue sky.

It can't go well, can it? The level of insult to our intelligence is already off the scale before we open the fucking thing.

But then there's the slogan, 'Real Energy Solutions for the Real World'. That really offensive use of 'real', like when people use 'realpolitik' in a non-perjorative sense. If you don't agree with Shell, you're not living in The Real World. More, what they present is not a decoy or greenwash but a Real Solution.

Shell's 'Real Energy Solutions' leaflet

Over at the associated website, you can watch the short film 'Eureka!' which is, ahem, 'inspired by' real events. Like around a third of movies, it has cows in it.

It basically runs like this: Shell engineer rebuffs his son's criticism of his dad's work by explaining that without oil we could have no cans of fizzy drinks. Son becomes proud of father who invents a way to drill previously inaccessible oil reserves, oil that would - they really do say this - otherwise 'go to waste'.

Message: if you keep wanting cheap oil, we'll keep supplying it.

A few months ago DVD copies were shamefully given away with Wired and The Guardian, two publications who undoubtedly know better.

Back on the leaflet, there's a reproduction of their Say No To No advert.

Shell's Say No To no advert

Yes, some test cars are driving around on biofuel made from straw. But all the straw in the world can't fuel even a serious fraction of our vehicle fleet. The only solutions have to involve serious cutbacks in transportation itself.

Now that there's real and vocal concern over climate change, the oil companies cannot deny it. So they shoot off these decoys. 'Yes, it is a problem, but we'll have it fixed for you soon with something that can't work, so keep on burning the stuff'.

To borrow a metaphor from Johann Hari, it's 'like telling an alcoholic that he doesn't need to quit drinking, because in a few years you'll give him a liver transplant with a few rusty old knives you found in your garage'.

In the real real world, there's a finite amount of resources, so we can't keep hoping to have an ever-increasing amount of raw materials. In the real real world, much as all of us love the comforts of the hydrocarbon age, we now know we need to cut our consumption right back as a matter of life and death urgency.

People who are campaigning for a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 are commonly told that it's impossible. Yet it is nothing of the sort. It is entirely possible. It requires no new technology, just a reorganisation of what we have.

They get told it's impractical. Yet it is merely what the science demands of us. If you think a swift move to a low-carbon economy would be socially disruptive, you're not understanding the results of a continued high-carbon economy.

The problem we face is not technological but psychological. The odds are mightily stacked against us. But if we don't try, we will never know what would've been possible.

Probably the greatest catastrophe to hit humanity is still - just - largely avoidable. But we won't stop it because, what, it isn't profitable under systems built before this knowledge was understood? It's not comfortable to the people who made the mess in the first place?

The solutions are in our hands. Can we do it?

Yes, yes, yes.

What does it take to turn no into yes?

Curiosity. An open mind. A willingness to take risks. And, when the problem seems most insoluble, when the challenge is hardest, when everyone else is shaking their heads, to say: let's go.

Overthrowing the consumer-capitalist model and the dominance of the oil companies; real energy solutions for the real world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

flying in the face of their future

It was such an eye-opener seeing the media around the Camp for Climate Action. Particularly interesting was the way Heathrow's owners, BAA, wouldn't ever debate the issues. They'd talk about the fabricated idea that Campers were going to storm the airport and smash the Starbucks and McDonald's, but they backed out of every scheduled debate with anyone from the Camp.

This left several other organisations to do it instead, one of which was the pilots' union BALPA.

Thing is, in lying about aviation's real impact they're not doing themselves any favours. If and when carbon taxes kick in - and certainly once oil becomes scarce - mass aviation will disappear.. Seeing this coming, a union should defend its members interests rather then their employers, and be seeking a just transition away from this dead-end profession.

I've written about it in a new post over on UK Watch called Flying in the Face of Their Future

[No Comments on this post - the place to leave them is over on UK Watch]


UPDATE 2 APRIL 09: As UK Watch is offline, I'm republishing the posts from there on their pointer-posts here.



One of the curious aspects of the media response to the Camp For Climate Action was the involvement – or lack of it – from Heathrow’s operators BAA.

Several times they were scheduled for debates with people from the Camp, and every time they withdrew. Reports came in later that BAA’s owners, Spanish-based Grupo Ferrovial, had issued a gagging order. But if that were so, why did BAA repeatedly put themselves forward? On Saturday 18th August, a week into the Camp’s coverage, BAA said they’d take part in an extended interview and debate programme on Radio 5 Live, but pulled out when they heard a Camp person would also be on the show.

During the week, several others stepped into the breach left by BAA. The industry lobby group Flying Matters popped up a couple of times (though they also pulled out of one), the Airport Operators Association, some Living Marxism/Spiked front groups, and a handful of rentagob newspaper columnists.
The most curious, though, was the airline pilots’ union BALPA. In June they issued a report claiming that aviation wasn’t as bad for the climate as commonly portrayed. It ‘proved’ this with a number of exaggerated assumptions and scientific omissions that are so wildly inaccurate that it can only be considered to be deliberate. Even a basic understanding of climate science undermined their conclusions.

On Saturday 18th August BALPA’s General Secretary Jim McAuslan took part in that extended debate on Radio 5 Live [streamed in segments on YouTube starting here, downloadable as a single MP3 here].

Firstly they tried to pull a fast one by saying the Camp’s day of mass action should be cancelled in favour of talks with BALPA. As if BALPA don’t already know the science or couldn’t talk another day.

The debate’s presenter put this as a challenge to Camp representative Alan Gill, asking why the Camp wouldn’t debate. ‘Happy to do it,’ said Gill eagerly. Channel 4 News were keen to follow this up and wanted to host it on the Monday. Alan Gill was up for it. BALPA didn’t do it.

During the 5 Live debate Jim McAuslan made a variety of false claims. He said the report had been ‘drawn together based on a number of other scientists including the IPCC’, yet it clearly contravenes basic understanding and certainly the IPCC’s assertions. It presumes all passenger ships have the emissions of the QE2, and doesn’t even take into account the radiative forcing of aircraft (the amount by which emitting at altitude is worse than emitting at ground level).

He said ‘we haven’t had a comeback from the campaigning groups at Heathrow or indeed from groups like FoE and Greenpeace’. Greenpeace issued a press release on the day of the report’s release, dismissing it as ‘pure propaganda. Frankly the aviation industry should be embarrassed by this nonsense,’ going on to describe the flaws in the methodology. The story was picked up by mainstream media including the BBC, as BALPA surely know.

Tom Robbins from the Guardian was another person who found the BALPA report’s conclusions a bit too unlikely
Launching the 82-page report, [BALPA Chairman Captain Mervyn] Granshaw pulled out one key point: ‘Passengers going by high speed train to the south of France would be responsible for emitting more carbon dioxide than if they had flown there.’

I rang the union to check the figures and was directed to a section of the report quoting Roger Kemp, professor of engineering at Lancaster University. I then rang him. ‘No, actually that’s completely untrue,’ he said.

Richard George highlighted further twists in BALPA’s methods and then comes up with more accurate numbers, showing it’s no small error

In a more recent paper Prof Kemp reveals that on a London-Edinburgh route an Airbus A321 would actually emit 210gms CO2e/passenger km – more that five times as much as the 40gms emitted by a conventional GNER train on the same route

So, that BALPA are obscuring the truth is clear. But what really puzzles me is the principle of them doing so. Not because I expect any wide-ranging integrity from them, but because I expect them to be true to their primary responsibility as trade unionists.

There is a lot of talk of global solidarity in trade unions, but time and again it’s shown to be just that. Whether it’s the militantly lefty Liverpool dockers importing scab coal to help break the miners strike or the trade unionists running Workers Beer Company flogging Bacardi and Coor’s products, we see the self-interest of protecting their own jobs.

So the fact that BALPA are happy to keep killing Bangladeshis for a living saddens and sickens me, but it doesn’t surprise me. Noble as it would be, I don’t realistically expect them to defend those under threat from climate change by doing themselves out of a job.

But nor do I expect them to be the stand-in for BAA. They are not there to defend the aviation industry, they are there to defend their members’ interests. The two are not the same thing.

The Met Office hosted a conference called Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Experts in many areas described the threats and what would happen with varying levels of response. Time and again, it was clear that a carbon tax of $100 a tonne would be insufficient. Yet such a tax would slap around $1m a week on a jumbo jet doing the London-Miami route. Imagine what that would do to mass aviation.

Even without carbon taxes, a crunch is coming. Totally reliant on colossal quantities of cheap oil with no alternative fuel, no industry will be hit as swiftly and completely as mass aviation.

Today’s mass aviation pilots are the last generation of their profession. The employers they so stoutly defend will drop them like the proverbial hot bricks.

Rather than denying the threat aviation poses they should be accepting the fact. Not just out of conscience, solidarity, compassion or commitment to truth, but out of their very reason for existing, to protect the welfare of their members. Producing a report full of distortions and lying to the media about aviation’s climate impact is a betrayal of the people who pay their subscriptions.

Sustainability is about more than ecological interests, it’s about social sustainability. If they don’t want their members to suffer like Yorkshire’s mining communities have since the 1980s then BALPA, along with other aviation lobbyist unions like Amicus and the GMB, should be looking at a just transition. They should be calling for a scaling back of aviation and the retraining of their members into new jobs that have a long-term future and that are meaningful, worthwhile and hopefully socially beneficial.

Friday, November 16, 2007

masturbation is a sexcrime

The bike-fucker is found guilty:

Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex. Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years.

Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.

Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply.
"They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down. "The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex."

Like most people, my first reaction was one of astonished amusement that anyone would have sex with a bike. But this swiftly gave way to a greater incredulity at the way the law was framed. Does this mean if I unlock a door to your house, come in and catch you having a wank then you too can be arrested, convicted and put on the Sex Offenders Register?

Or is it the use of an inanimate object? In which case, anyone who has a vibrator should take care to properly barricade themselves into their bedrooms if they want to avoid arrest.

It's reminiscent of the Spanner Trial in the early 1990s. The state spent £3m prosecuting a group of sixteen gay men under the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 for having S&M sex. It had all happened in private, it was all consensual, nobody had complained of any injuries, or of anything else for that matter.

The judge ruled that consent was not a defence, therefore the men had assaulted one another and they were found guilty.

I've yet to hear of any police raids on boxing matches or prosecutions of tattooists.

The men at the Spanner Trial received sentences of up to four and a half years. Lives were ruined. The Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights upheld the convictions.

Somehow I thought those days had gone. But no. Indeed, there's The Spanner Trust - named after the trial - which is still campaigning to defend S&M practitioners and get consensual S&M made fully legal. They report that there have been several successful prosecutions for consensual S&M sex since. It could, and probably will, happen again.

In Robert Stewart's case there's no consent issue at all because there was nobody else involved. So I've a further wave of incredulity for his solicitor, Gerry Tierney.

What paltry effort does it take to successfully defend someone who was having sex by themselves, in their own locked bedroom, the sight of which offended people who walked in uninvited?

What kind of uninterested disregard for Stewart is going on here to let him get convicted? Another report says that in court

Tierney described his client as a "sad little man"

How completely awful as a human being, unfit for his chosen profession, damaging to his clientele and in need of finding another job - preferably cleaning Glastonbury toilets with his bare hands and tongue - is this man?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

mugabe's musical ally

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is one of the most vilified world leaders.

We often hear of pariahs like Mugabe, Saddam Hussain, Kim Il Jong, Suharto, etc, being compared to Hitler by those who dislike them. Mugabe, however, sets himself apart in the League of Evil by comparing himself to Hitler.

He goes one further. Indeed, ten further. 'Let me be a Hitler tenfold,' he declared.

And how would such a figure of gargantuan foulness celebrate their wedding? By hiring a band to play music of equally gargantuan evil, of course, invoking the darkest most dictatorial plotter ever to pick up a guitar.

on the day, his group played songs by Ottis Redding and Chris de Burgh among others... they proved at the wedding that they meant business when they performed songs such as Stand by Me and Lady in Red

Monday, November 05, 2007

a foot in both camps

I could be topical, you know.

I wanted to say something about how the upsurge of Hallowe'en tat is weirding me out. Not just for another load of overconsumption and how those east Asian factories have figured out that if we speak the same language as the USA then it's probably easy to sell us their English language plastic nonsense even if we have no traditional precedent. No, what gets me about it is the slogan 'happy hallowe'en'. I mean, it's meant to be creepy and scary and people doing tricks and whatnot. Doesn't the 'happy' seem at odds with that? Kind of like flogging 'with sympathy' cards that say 'happy funeral of a loved one'?

Or for today's festivities, how about the Guardian's green guy Leo Hickman saying we should do away with fireworks.

Name another product that maims children, scares pets and wildlife, costs councils hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and yet hasn't already been tossed into the dustbin of history.

The words 'motor car' spring to mind.

But no, no, my brain can't really expand on other topics. I've still got several 'Climate Camp vs The Media' things to get off my chest.

One is my new post over at The Sharpener, called A Foot in Both Camps.

[No comments here about the content of The Sharpener post, please - leave them over on The Sharpener]

= = = = =

UPDATE - The Sharpener is dead. So here's the post:

It’s always something of a fish/barrel/firearms combo going for Spiked and their writers. But given the scandalous denial of the facts and complete absence of research in one particular piece, I’ll do it anyway. Just so you know who we’re dealing with, Spiked rose from the ashes of Living Marxism, the magazine of the Revolutionary Communist Party. They had the traditional fanatical far-left party allegiance and devotion to allies right or wrong. This cost them dear when their love of Bosnian Serbs during the Balkan wars led them to fabricating a libellous story about ITN’s coverage, and LM was sued out of existence.

The party folded, the communist ideas evaporated, but that fixation with making the story fit your beliefs has endured. They always had a strong anti-environmental stance, seeing humans - and especially their technology - as capable of fixing everything with industrialisation. (Quite where the energy sources and raw materials are coming from, well, let’s just keep seeing further industrialisation as the only progress worth having and have faith it’ll all come out alright.)

This has led them to their present position of being fervently ‘pro-science’ (ie pro-corporate science) and extremely critical of environmentalism. The team donned suits and formed a number of front groups (am I the only one who always wonders why a person is presented as a plausible pundit just because they’re from something that can be called a think-tank?) with names like Global Futures and London International Research Exchange.

Living Marxism and Spiked folks were climate change deniers for as long as it was tenable and quite some distance beyond. Indeed, Martin Durkin, maker of denialist documentaries The Great Global Warming Swindle and Against Nature, as well as ones ‘proving’ that silicone breast implants are good for womens’ health and that genetic engineering is more or less the best thing ever, has strong links with the personnel and ideology of LM and Spiked.

Brendan O’Neill is Spiked’s editor. So we can expect anything he writes to be in the Durkin tradition of highly selective fact-mincing.

He’d already used his keen political intellect to lay into this summer’s Camp for Climate Action for being ‘made up of painful miserabilists, who wouldn’t know what fun was if it stamped its eco-footprint on their faces’.

But after the Climate Camp he wrote this other piece, comparing the Heathrow Climate Camp with the No Borders camp at Gatwick a month later. No Borders is an international network who work with and for migrants and asylum seekers on the issues of freedom of movement and for the freedom for people to stay in the place which they have chosen.

O’Neill talks of the contrast between the ideals of the two camps, concluding “You’re either in the Gatwick camp or the Heathrow camp. Make your choice.” All the hallmarks of LM journalism, there. Challenging, bullish, ideologically driven, and completely at odds with the facts.

The Camp for Climate Action and No Borders openly supported one another. Their websites link to one another. As well as the day of mass action, there were several smaller bits of direct action from the Climate Camp. One was an occupation of the offices of budget airline XL. The target was chosen not only because of their cheap flights but also for their contract to deport refugees from the UK. The action was explicitly in solidarity with the No Borders camp.

In the press release one of the protesters, Allannah Currie, explained:

environmental refugees outnumber all other kinds combined, and climate change will make that get a lot worse. We in the wealthy countries have welfare to protect us from climate chaos, but the world’s poorest have nothing to help them except us taking responsibility. Our carbon emissions threaten to take the essentials of life from the poor of the world, it makes a mockery of our concern about aid and debt relief.

The press release went on to plug the No Borders camp and had the No Borders URL at the bottom. When protesters (except one who’d locked on to a stairwell) were removed from the building they continued outside, holding a banner saying ‘CHEAP FLIGHTS… CHEAP LIVES?!!’. This action upped the ante considerably and led to XL pulling out of deportations within weeks.

The Climate Camp’s programme of workshops included ‘No Borders and the Harmondsworth Detention Centre’ and ‘Climate Change: Making Poverty Permanent?’. Additionally, there was one from anti-Shell campaigners in Ireland who’ve forged links with indigenous groups fighting Shell in Nigeria, and several from anti-biofuels campaigns that are largely based on the fact that oil plantations are destroying forests which is an attack not only on the ecosystems but also displacing the people that live there.

The final action from the Climate Camp was a protest at Harmondsworth Detention Centre where asylum seekers are kept in prison-like conditions. The report on Indymedia describes the protesters as being ‘from the Climate Camp, including many from No Borders’ and explains: “The link between the Climate Camp and detention centres is in no way convoluted. Climate change is already producing millions of environmental refugees. These millions will become hundreds of millions in a business as usual scenario. Many of those refugees managing to flee to this country, along with many fleeing torture and war, are met not with compassion and asylum, but brutal repression and detention. The policies of UK plc with regard to climate change are hurting these people, but instead of helping them, UK plc locks them up.

If he’d, ooh I dunno, checked what the Climate Camp actually did then O’Neill would have known this. Knowing any of it - all of it easily found in obvious places - would have totally undermined his case. If he’d gone one further and actually made contact with anyone from either camp he would have discovered all that and more too. O’Neill says of the No Borders camp ‘this time freedom-loving greens are nowhere to be seen,’ yet at No Borders many of the organisers and attendees were the very same people as the Climate Camp. They also shared infrastructure; the same marquees were used, the same bike library available for borrowing, the same vehicles delivering stuff and taking it away, you name it.

O’Neill talks about his imagined lack of solidarity between climate activism and No Borders as illuminating

the deeply anti-humanist strain in the politics of environmentalism. Because environmentalism is built on ideas about scarcity and shortage, it tends towards misanthropic solutions: demands for smaller families, harsher living conditions and restrictions on migration. Strip away the trendy gloss, and environmentalism increasingly looks like an expression of middle-class outrage against the masses and our dirty habits.

I love that, calling himself ‘the masses’.

As a rule of thumb, the richer you are the greater your personal consumption and carbon emissions, so environmentalism is pretty much an attack on people’s habits in direct proportion to the size of their income. It’s an attack on the rich and their dirty habits.

If we are to talk of global migration and global climate, we have to look at humanity globally. In those terms, the masses do not have dirty habits. Most people will never fly or own a car, indeed barely half the world’s ever made a phone call. To do any of these things says you’re actually in the rich elite. Why do the likes of O’Neill always use ‘middle class’ as the criticism? Don’t the upper class ever offend their beliefs? But the term is not used in a strict socio-economic sense. It has other connotations, it implies a woolliness of thinking, a kind of personal and intellectual inauthenticity as a human being. It’s a nice handy catch-all dismissal, vague enough to not have to be defended.

He says that it is ‘inhumane’ to restrict immigration if climate change is going to force vast numbers of people to leave their homeland. Quite so. Indeed, at both the Climate Camp and the No Borders camp this point was made repeatedly. But might it be more humane to let people stay on their land amongst their culture rather than deprive them of the basics of life and force their migration just so the rich can jet off for weekends in Barcelona?

Such an idea as espoused by the climate campaigners left O’Neill incredulous.

They were effectively calling for less choice, less freedom of movement, and for tougher taxes and restrictions on people’s ability to fly. Their argument with BAA can be summed up as follows: “We demand the freedom to protest against freedom!”

Absolutely. There are limits to freedom. Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. When climate change is already killing people in their thousands every week, the freedom to increase emissions is the freedom to throw ever more punches.

The whole principle of Contraction & Convergence is that we find the safe level of total human emissions - so nobody’s fist is hitting anyone’s nose - then we share those out equally. As opposed to the idea that whoever has money can do what they want and if it inflicts suffering and deprivation on the poor and those yet to come, well, tough shit.

In talking about the ‘masses’ yet just meaning those in the rich nations, and in talking about ‘freedom’ meaning the freedom to do what your money allows, O’Neill and Spiked reveal a deeply held sense of superiority over and contempt for those they exclude; those who do, in actuality, constitute the mass of people.

For the vision that joins up its thinking and acts responsibly out of concern for humanity at large, you need a foot in both camps.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

independent rests on sunday

Starting in 1997, the Independent on Sunday ran a campaign to decriminalise cannabis that they promised would only end when it was successful. They devoted huge amounts of their paper to it.

They staged a debate getting respected figures on both sides to talk it out, which Godhaven Ink published - it is objectively neutral, and in so being it ends up being the most persuasive piece of pro-legalisation propaganda. It has all the tough points from both sides, and any reasonable person can't help but see who's right.

The campaign petered out eventually. But recently the Independent on Sunday followed its run of cannabis scare stories with an outright apology for ever running that decriminalisation campaign. Its reasoning rests on one idea, the mounting evidence that cannabis can trigger certain mental health problems for a tiny proportion (0.01%-0.2%) of its users.

Considering these people, Gyrus wonders,

What else was going on in these people’s lives? Was cannabis really a direct cause? Was it more of a catalyst for something simmering away due to other factors? How many people out there would be driven crazy by their jobs if it weren’t for them being able to wind down with a spliff in the evening?

All good points. But let's say we know, for a fact, without a shadow of a doubt, that cannabis was wholly and unquestionably the cause of these people's psychotic episodes.

Firstly, let's be glad the hospital got to them before the coppers did. Imagine descending into schizophrenic paranoia and then getting busted and jailed.

Why do we put people who are on drugs in jail? They're SICK! They're not criminals. Sick people don't get healed in jail.

- Bill Hicks

But more, there is an underlying assumption that the Indy on Sunday - and indeed other newspapers - aren't mentioning. They presume that more stringent laws mean less users. This is just plain wrong.

Is that clear enough? Greater criminalisation does not lead to less consumption.

Cannabis was legally downgraded several years ago, from Class B to Class C. The Home Secretary in the aftermath of reclassification was Charles Clarke. Like anyone taking up the post, his instinct was to repress and restrict. Yet he had to concede that

contrary to my personal expectation, reclassification has not led to an increase in use

In fact, it has gone the other way. The government found that use among teenagers fell by 16% in the year after reclassification.

Even this isn't the whole story. Usage has been falling across society since the late 1990s. Reclassification hasn't made a blind bit of difference.

After the Netherlands decriminalised cannabis in 1976, use went down for six years. It has risen a little since, but no faster than in countries that have harsher regimes. Despite the greater availability, Dutch people are around half as likely to be cannabis users than Brits.

Jim Bliss tackles one of the hackneyed myths of cannabis consumption in a way I'd not heard before.

there are those (the UK Conservative Party for instance) who still trot out the “gateway theory” as a rationale for criminalising cannabis. The theory being that those who use cannabis will be more likely to use harder drugs due to some undefined biochemical conditioning that occurs in the brain. This is simply absurd and — when taken to a logical conclusion — rests upon the assumption that our neurochemistry is aware of which drugs are legally proscribed and which can be legally prescribed.

Seriously… think about it…

- “Cannabis leads to heroin!”
Wow, really? So does alcohol lead to heroin?
- “Of course not!”
Well, does tobacco lead to cannabis maybe?
- “Not a bit of it! Cannabis leads to heroin which leads to speed, ecstasy and cocaine.”
Er… do any of them lead to prozac?

In reality the “cannabis gateway effect” (which does exist in many places) has been demonstrated to be sociological rather than biological. It is the prohibition of cannabis which places it into the same supply-system as the harder drugs. Those who smoke cannabis are more likely to have regular encounters with those who sell hard drugs than those who do not. It’s all quite easy to understand when you actually think about it rationally for a second.

I've covered much of this stuff before (though in the face of the same old - let's use the right word - lies, it still needs saying).

For all this though, the thing that's prompted me here isn't the message, it's the messenger.

The Independent on Sunday has not only apologised for the brilliant cannabis campaign, it's now running a new one, The Military Covenant, running stories about how homecoming soldiers in America get tickertape parades and asking why that doesn't happen for our boys.

It's turned into a conservative rag akin to the Express. This has been no more starkly illustrated than at the Camp for Climate Action.

In the run-up, the IoS's Cole Morton extensively interviewed a couple of Camp organisers. He came along to one of the public meetings the Camp organised in villages near Heathrow to meet with local residents and explain what the Camp would be. They received 100% support.

Hip to what much of the media would be saying, Campers also went round thousands of houses in the area handing out letters explaining what would really be going on and why. Again, they got not one complaint and cartloads of praise.

Into this atmosphere stepped Cole Moreton. Despite appearing to understand climate change, despite the openness of the Campers, he did a stitch-up. He wrote of how the Campers were dark, shadowy anarchists hoodwinking the locals about their intentions. One of them wore a smart dress to the public meeting to lull the locals into a false sense of security. Another deceptively wore a T-shirt with a peace dove on for the same reason, apparently. Nothing to do with these being the clothes those people wear ordinarily.

So far, so irresponsibly sensationalist. But he then took a turn into the despicably tabloid, ringing one of them up saying, 'oh, your friend says we need to dismantle capitalism before we can tackle climate change, would you agree with that?', trying to coax out some outrageous quote to fit his story.

The friend, of course, had said nothing of the sort; quite the opposite, in fact. As she put it, 'revolution or survival, which one do you think we need most?'.

This from a paper that's supposed to take climate change seriously. As opposed to being staffed by the sort of journalists who follow children home from school pretending to be mummy's friend so they'll get a good line, or shout through a letter box 'we know you're in there' as a woman cries behind the door.

Then during the Camp a call came in from the IoS's Jonathan Owen. His opening gambit was to be clear the IoS wasn't like other papers because the weekday paper writes about climate change a lot. He wanted to run a story with depth for the Sunday of the Camp's conclusion. Something with purpose, something that others wouldn't be writing.

Having been told about the way the police were using the Terrorism Act to stop and search people coming to and from the Camp, he declared his outrage. 'This is supposed to be a fucking democracy,' he railed.

He saw that the attempted injunction - the widest ranging ever sought in this country - seen with the misuse of terrorism powers against people who were clearly not terrorists, and the smear campaign being launched via the Evening Standard were three parts of one story. They showed how the establishment responds to anyone who openly and peacefully stands up and makes demands merely for the emission cuts that even the government admits are necessary.

Numerous calls were had over several days, a personal relationship developed and Owen came to the Camp and met with people there. He declared himself impressed with what he found and, in keeping with all he said and all he'd been told and the Independent's support for action on climate change he went and wrote his piece.

He filed 1400 words whose main point - that unique angle he was looking for, something that encapsulates the urgency of the issue and the potential of this new movement - was that Swampy had come to the Camp. At least Heat magazine is open about valuing celebrity above other concerns.

Audacious front pages, Robert Fisk and whatever might make it an intelligent and thought-provoking weekday read, but on a Sunday, it has a day off.