WHEN the voters of East Thanet inevitably return a Labour MP at the forthcoming general election, most will be blissfully unaware that their new parliamentary representative is a puritanical authoritarian. The fascists of the future, Winston Churchill warned, would portray themselves as anti-fascists. They will come not in jackboots but in smart suits. And in our time they are as likely to be female as male, signalling their progressive, caring values at every turn. Which brings us to the quaintly named Polly Billington, who wants to drive hard-working citizens off the roads, and that’s not all.
In his ‘Thanet Speaking Truth to Power’ blog a year ago, Labour supporter Ian Driver was concerned by the selection of Billington as candidate for his Kent constituency. Billington was exposed as a hypocrite for taking half a million pounds from the charitable IKEA Foundation to keep her UK100 operation running. UK100 is a network of Net Zero zealots transfixing local government, as reported in TCW here and here.
Founded by Billington in 2016, the organisation pursues ‘local-led rapid transition to Net Zero’ while Billington herself, Driver argues, has exploited her position as UK100 leader to get ‘a seat at the top table with the UK’s environmental policy making elite’. In this sphere of influence, Billington was able ‘not only to advance her company’s fortunes but also to promote herself and her personal political ambition with those who could help her’.
Boasting of her emancipatory credentials on her campaign website, Billington, who resigned from her position as CEO of UK100 to stand for election, tells Thanet residents that she ‘stood in solidarity with striking workers on picket lines’. But her organisation’s continued existence relies on the Swedish multinational conglomerate IKEA, which according to Driver has ‘a shameful record on workers’ rights’ (including low pay and allegations of unsafe working environments as well as tax avoidance).
The flat-pack furniture giant has been denounced for ‘greenwashing’ and destructive timber procurement practices. As Driver asserted, ‘the scandal has identified Polly as someone who poses as an environmental champion, a campaigner for workers’ rights, and an advocate for fairer taxes and then hypocritically takes cash from an international corporation which opposes these values’.
On her website Billington preaches that ‘with so much injustice in the world, I can’t sit idly by – I take action’. Unlike we plebs, who presumably don’t care as much as Polly. She envisages Thanet as ‘a clean energy superpower’. The majority of voters may read this as pie-in-the-sky idealism, not realising that Billington is serious. She will showcase Ramsgate as a Net Zero town, encouraging the blocking of roads and promoting redevelopment with supposedly carbon-neutral apartment blocks. Many of the occupants of such housing will be outsiders.
Needless to say, Billington supports immigration. And this mentality undermines the Net Zero messaging of ‘green’ political campaigners. As each person has a carbon footprint, promoting open borders and a consequent surge in the population is surely counter-productive. How can we reduce consumption when our politicians are relentlessly allowing in a million newcomers every year? I explain this paradox in my new book Green in Tooth and Claw: the real motive is not ecological, but a preference for foreign workers who are more easily controlled.
In 2007 Billington was appointed as a special adviser to Ed Miliband’s policy unit and was the media director for Miliband‘s successful 2010 Labour leadership bid. According to The Daily Telegraph she was the 59th most influential person on the UK left in 2011. Billington worked on Sadiq Khan’s campaign to be selected as Labour’s candidate to be Mayor of London, leading on communications.
Billington would seem to be following the Common Purpose strategy of ‘leading beyond authority’. Was she trained by that organisation? She purports to care deeply for lesser mortals but as Russell Brand said in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson, authoritarians weaponise warm words of ‘care, concern, safety and convenience’ to wield oppressive power.
Her UK100 scheme, aided and abetted by politicians, is designed to impoverish us, removing our rights and liberties that we took for granted as participants in a civic democracy. It’s a near future of no travel, no petrol, no pets and no petty cash. East Thanet is sleepwalking into electing an extremist, whose decarbonisation plans will apply to hoi polloi but not her and her pals in high places.
The climate change agenda is not based on science or motivated by concern for nature, but is a deceitful means of creating a two-tier society, with the majority reduced to a state of serfdom. Billington, like other emerging members of the master class, has a dark misanthropy in her soul. She pledges to deliver Net Zero but we should send it back – we never ordered it.