Suffolk County Council worked me hard last night. I wasn’t sure whether to give my speech about the pro-social council or do my cultural theory experiment, so I asked the audience and they told me to do both! An hour and half later I made my exhausted way back to Ipswich station.
On the cultural theory experiment I ran the same process I undertook last week on the blog. Of the four approaches to climate change fatalism and hierarchy continued to be virtually friendless with the majority of the 120 strong public sector audience plumping for the egalitarian (we must change the way we live) option and a much smaller number going for individualism (technology and markets can solve the problem).
There is a number of ways of interpreting this. It could, of course, be the way I phrased the options. The one I tend towards is that both fatalism (there’s nothing we can do) and hierarchism (it’s up to Government to act) are seen as responses that reflect badly on those who adhere to them.
This doesn’t surprise me about fatalism, but it is fascinating that people don’t want to sound as though they are relying on governments to take the lead in solving a climate change problem which not only self evidently requires concerted state action but on which we have seen quite positive steps both by our domestic government and – over the weekend – by other national leaders.
Has supporting the idea that Government can do good come to be seen as naïve, or even shameful? If so it sounds like more bad news for Labour.