Sunday, 22 March 2009

Big Politics On The Big Screen

Cinema is increasingly becoming a forum for political debate and campaigning.

Following on from films like An Inconvenient Truth and Taking Liberties we have The Age Of Stupid, which recently came to a silver screen near you.

IMDb reviewers are scathing about the 'peril porn' presented in this cinematic offering, explaining that the 'worthwhile and important message' is 'diluted and diverted' towards overtly and overly-partisan messages, which only appeal to the already converted.

The film features veteran Labour party activist Pete Poselthwaite and looks back at the world from 2050 in the aftermath of apocalyptic climate change.

It certainly grabbed the attention of several local commentators.

Neville Hobson is impressed with the coordinated multi-media promotion of the film.

Green Party activists Rob White and Adrian Windisch were overjoyed by the self-affirming vindication of their beliefs and the opportunity to network among like-minded people, although Adrian did detect a strong bias towards Labour during proceedings.

Reading Energy Pioneers had an obvious commercial interest in cross-promoting the event.

On the wider web American environmental activist Pincas Jawetz excitedly disobeys advice to watch the film locally (to cut down on carbon emmissions) and uses the premier as an excuse to fly a detour while on her way to Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile William Shaw explains the film's 'exemplary' model of inspiring political activism.

Robin Sivapalan is more sceptical about the purposes of the film. He describes how the entertainment was really only a preamble for the 'real stars' to build a political platform for Labour party Environment Minister, Ed Miliband MP and his below-the-radar Labour party leadership bid - suddenly the purpose of the 'Not Stupid' campaign in the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December becomes clear!

Meanwhile Mike Hulme offers his viewpoint from the BBC's Green Room with a report from Copenhagen's Climate Science Conference, which the release of the film was coordinated to coincide with.

He says that calls for 'immediate action' have been lost in the noise because it is unclear who is saying what and nobody really knows what they should be doing - politicians who've hijacked such campaigns for career advancement do so at the risk of undermining the cause.

Oranjepan asks:
Has the release of this film helped prevent the apocalypse, or has it created a self-fulfilling prophecy?


Update: Debby Lloyd from environmental recruitment firm EcoSearch asks 'is it too late?' at


  1. Could be the self fulfilling prophecy... what all these green people and global warming doom mongerers apart from Porritt forget to mention is that 6 billion people breathing out CO2 is going to contribute to the effect

    Porritt says the population of Britain "must be cut" How does he propose that happens?

    Mass genocide, starvation, population movement, the end of the NHS what? Its a real thought provoking comment.

  2. Hi Henry, you mean where Porritt says here that UK population must fall to 30m.

    This is despite reports that UK is set to increase to 71m by 2050.

  3. It is absolutely daft to suggest that Jonathan Porrit supports genocide. What world are you living on?
    I think as a Liberal Democrat that he is probably right. Probably like him, I do not know how it can reasonably be done, but if the earth cannot support the current human population then people will die of stavation and disease, genocide will happen anyway. And the people who would have committed it would be those who ignored the likes of Jonathan Porritt and continued to pollute the environment regardless.

  4. Hi Geoffrey,
    I agree that Henry makes an overly-strong characterisation of Porritt's position, but at the same time it's also a step too far to go from saying the country is over-populated to concluding what the ideal population should be.

    Porritt simply opens the door to speculation of the sort Henry has indulged in.

    I disagree with the Optimum Population Trust's definition of sustainability on the grounds that we live in an interconnected and interdependent trading world where the distribution of population and resources is not equal - for example, where would I get my bananas and mangoes from?


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