This last week saw the launch of London’s new bike scheme, and the city’s cycling mayor Boris Johnson has been typically outspoken about it. “In 1904, 20 per cent of journeys were made by bicycle in London” he told journalists at the launch event. “If you can’t turn the clock back to 1904, what’s the point of being a Conservative?”
Boris is joking (I think),but London is not the only city adopting a cycle scheme at the moment, nor is Boris the only city politician talking nonsense about bikes. In fact, the comments made by Denver mayoral candidate Dan Maes put Boris in the shade. In a recent speech, he denounced Denver’s B-cycle scheme: “This is bigger than it looks like on the surface,” he said, “and it could threaten our personal freedoms. These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”
Apparently, Mayor Hickenlooper’s plan to encourage cycling might look innocent enough, but “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.” In reality, it is a ‘gateway’ scheme to depriving Americans of their freedoms, creating a global citizenry and controlling the population. “At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.”
Ah, that one again, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the UN plot. It rings a bell because a couple of months ago, I was accused of orchestrating a similar plot in Luton. A letter appeared in the local paper the week after our transition town group hosted an election hustings, suggesting that our true agenda was not to create a sustainable way of life for Luton, but “depopulation, open borders and the radical transformation of global society”.
What is it about sustainability that makes people so suspicious? I thought I’d better do some homework and research, as Maes suggests. Here’s what I’ve found about the ICLEI. It is a 20 year old scheme encouraging sustainability at the local government level, a “democratic international association of local governments” dedicated to sharing best practice and working together. If you have any doubts about their aims and vision, their strategy document is online here. If it worries you, read their mandate in section 1.3 – it is a support and information-sharing body. I’ve tried to find the references to world domination. The nearest I can find is that they intend to “develop financially stable World Secretariat, Regional Secretariats and Country Offices covering all regions of the world”, but those are ICLEI administration offices, not world governance.
ICLEI was also instrumental in drawing up Agenda 21, which also gets extreme conservatives hot and bothered. You can read the full text of that sustainable development action plan online, and decide for yourself if it’s communism in disguise.
What’s worrying is that the Denver Post added a little poll to their initial article about Dan Maes’ comments about the bike scheme. How seriously do you take his warning, they ask. About half say ‘not seriously at all’, and 34% say ‘very seriously’.