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Coffee House

Fake plastic politics?

25 March 2008

7:04 PM

25 March 2008

7:04 PM

Words you seldom hear at U2 concerts (or, indeed anywhere else): "If only Bono spent a bit less time in the recording studio and a bit more time on the international stage talking about global injustice, ah, bejaysus wouldn’t the world be a better place?"

After last weekend, right-thinking Radiohead fans may find themselves in a similar pickle. Is it possible – as Wagner fans seem to manage well enough – to divorce the man’s politics from his art? Or will all future attempts to enjoy The Bends, OK Computer and In Rainbows be quite ruined by the memory of the toecurling, Climate Change special edition of the Observer magazine, guest edited by Radiohead’s singer/songwriter Thom Yorke?

[Alt-Text]


I’m thinking particularly of the five-page interview-cum-love-in, conducted at the Dorchester hotel, in which a star-struck Yorke gets the chance to meet one of his greatest idols Red Ken Livingstone. "Ken tips a jar of fairtrade biscuits on to the boardroom table, studies the packets and then puts them all back in the jar…" 

Livingstone’s political views (basically: the planet’s doomed unless we live in  yurts, travel to work by coracle, revive the barter system, create a state-funded rock pile on every street corner to enable the poor more easily to stone 4 x 4 drivers, and kill Boris Johnson) are subjected by Yorke to a rigorous critical scrutiny not dissimilar to that which Stalin’s latest speeches on tractor production would have received at 1930s politburo meetings.

Earlier in the green mag, Thom reveals that he’s anti nuclear power, anti fast cars, mad-keen on the forcing through of at least 80 per cent carbon emissions by  2050 (apparently oblivious, as only a millionaire rock star could be, on the economic implications of such a policy were it to be enforced) and that when Friends Of The Earth first approached him to be their spokesman, they didn’t want someone who’d present "a holier-than-thou" message. Phew, that’s all right then. Imagine if they’d chosen someone humourless and preachy!

For those of us who believe Warmists like Yorke are part of the problem, not the solution, there was one small scrap of comfort. The magazine’s eco-clap-trap was funded with the help of adverts for mega-expensive, chunky motor cars, include one of Mayor Livingstone’s personal favourites – the Range Rover Sport HST.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


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