climate change media politics

Guest post: On David Cameron and his husky friend

All Our Yesterdays is a unique project from Dr Marc Hudson. Throughout 2022, he is posting a climate related anniversary every day – some significant, some not. Together, they illustrate just how long we have been collectively ignoring the climate crisis. Like this website, content is published under a Creative Commons licence, and I’ve been waiting for a daily post to share as a way of introducing the project. Given the cost of energy and the missed opportunity that it represents, today’s seems apt:

April 20, 2006 – David Cameron does “hug-a-husky” to detoxify the Conservative “brand”

On this day, April 20 2006, David Cameron, newly-minted opposition leader in the UK, the head of the Conservative and Unionist Party, had his photo op with a husky in the Arctic. The context was that Cameron needed to detoxify the Conservative brand. And he’s chosen environmentalism as the way to do that, in much the same way that Kevin Rudd would use climate and environment as a wedge issue against John Howard a year or so later in Australia.

Why this matters. 

We really, really really need to learn not to take anything a politician, any politician says at face value. And we need to help other people understand that – or rather, we need to get beyond information deficit and deference, to a sense of the power that (potentially) rests in social movements. Or did. Probably too late to do anything now.

What happened next?

Gordon Brown became Labour Prime Minister, and bottled calling an election in 2007. The global financial crisis hit and then there was an air of inevitability around Cameron becoming Prime Minister which he did, thanks to the Liberal Democrats in May of 2010. In 2012

In January 2012 the Guardian reported that

“The head of the charity that helped to arrange David Cameron’s memorable husky photoshoot in the Arctic, launching the Conservatives’ rebranding as the nice-not-nasty party, has warned that the PM’s lack of leadership on environment issues risks “retoxifying” their image.”

In 2013, Cameron infamously commanded “get rid of all the green crap”. Which is costing ordinary people money now.

History does not record what happened to the husky.

For more, see All Our Yesterdays.

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