Friday, April 19, 2013

A 'critical' press

One of the great things about being back in Britain is that there remains a strong, critical press within a diversity of press offerings. To my mind this has to be good for democracy as it is practiced at the moment.  By critical I of course mean the ability to formuate and present a critique.

Two articles last weekend stood out for me as exemplifying this tradition.  In Saturday's Guardian  Leo Hickman's interview with environmental philanthropist Jeremy Grantham was excellent reading.  It made me wish that Grantham would take time out to advise and support The Greens campaign in the forthcoming Australian Federal election. I would certainly like to see him in a staged debate with Tony Abbot, the climate-change-denying head of Australia's Liberal party. Leo Hickman's extended interview with Jeremy Grantham can be read here. This extract shows where Grantham stands:

".... this bubble, the "carbon bubble", is the biggest he's seen. "We're already in a bad place. The worst accidents are [only] 20, 30, 40 years from now." Such apocalyptic talk is often the preserve of deep-green doom-mongers – the kind of talk that has led many to reject environmentalism. But Grantham insists he's guided "by the facts alone".

I may not entirely agree with Grantham on his GMO (though I would say transgenic) position but I did find his position on the so called 'food crisis' refreshing because it was essentially systemic in nature. Unlike an article on the front page of The Observer the following day Grantham understands that the 'food crisis', so called, has to be understood from both supply side and demand side dynamics.  Any perspective that only focuses on supply-side action has to be held up to critical scrutiny as there is a great danger that it is a discourse pushed by vested interests.

Amongs the millions of words that poured forth following the death of Margaret Thatcher - most of which I avoided - I found this article by Will Hutton the most insightful. As is fitting for a systemic journalist of Hutton's ilk, he will be a keynote speaker at this year's UKSS conference in Oxford.

No comments: