For people who believe “background understanding” is unnecessary and off-putting Kate Dyer and Justin Kenrick devote an extraordinary proportion of their article to providing very detailed background explanations for their decision to boycott the Citizens’ Assembly on climate. When we do get to the actual explanation for this decision – one short paragraph out of over 1,000 words – it turns out that they object to participants in the Citizens’ Assembly on climate being provided with too much of the wrong kind of background understanding of both science and policy by others when it is they who should be deciding how much background understanding the participants should have and of what.
The attitude seems to be that they are ‘vested interests’ while we are ‘committed activists’. What Kate Dyer and Justin Kenrick fail to realise is that if the participants in the Citizens’ Assembly on climate really are representative of the population then they are likely to regard both vested interests and committed activists with equal suspicion.
Personally, my suspicions are particularly aroused by those who seem to be portraying themselves as somehow ‘above the fray’ while complaining that they are not being allowed some advantage in the contest on the grounds of their righteousness. But hardly much more than by those who assert a right to some advantage on the basis of superior knowledge.
I come away from articles such as this thinking, a plague on both your houses. The ‘winners’ in this exercise are supposed to be neither the committed activists nor the vested interests but the people and the planet.