"The parks are the lungs of London," wrote William Pitt, British Prime Minister (1766 - 68), an idea that took flight in 19th and early 20th century city planning and now is enjoying a Smithian revival in London Mayor Boris Johnson's "greener and cleaner and cheaper" vision for the city. "Like Goethe's 'frozen music,' the balletic branching structure of the young Ailanthus (above) as it spirals heavenward is a physical expression of the dynamics of plant growth, as formulated in The Fibonacci Series," we captioned this image from our August 2007 post "A walk on the wild side."
"Lefties are fundamentally interested in coercion and control, and across British society you can see the huge progress they are now making in achieving their objectives," newly minted London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote three years back — when he was moving on up as MP for Henley — in a Telegraph opinion piece that blew our socks off. His words were prescient, of course. Things have gotten worserer and worserer in the Mother Country since then, what with the insidious infiltration of Sharia Law to take its place as first among equals (!) beside Common Law ["Off with their heads!" appears to work for both], not to mention the parallel Gramscian march through the institutions now dropping its rotting fruit all over the Anglosphere. But if Londoners had the sense — or luck, or whatever it was — to elect Boris Johnson to lead them through this darkest of dark hours, there may yet be hope for the old verities. We discovered this new light in our naturo-politico-intellectual universe in today's WSJ, a must-read chock full of quotable quotes, as is everything we googled about him this afternoon. First an excerpt from the Journal and then on to all things green and beautiful:
Talking up the need for bigger apartments at the introduction of his new housing strategy, he says Londoners have grown too fat to live like Hobbits. He indulges his passion for cycling by seeking to make London friendlier to bikes — for aesthetic green reasons, he says, to get people out of cars and fat burned off their bodies. Recently, he infuriated earnest greens by describing climate change as "a religion" in his weekly column. "Not all religions are bad!" he says. "Climate change might be the faith that supervenes and brings the human race together. Fear of the Sun God …" he adds, before trailing off in a chuckle.
Johnson's casting of "climate change" as "a religion" was right up our alley, of course, but we had a scare when we stumbled upon these quotations from a November 2008 speech of his:
The Tory mayor, famed for scorning the global warming agenda in the past, sought to throw off his image as the man who used to write caustic articles about "the religion of climate change" by saying that his mind had been changed by the incontrovertible science. "If the climate can change, I don't see why my mind can't," he said.
"Incontrovertible science"? We took a few deep breaths and then reminded ourselves of Spectator columnist Rod Liddle's words:
Like all politicians, he is sometimes required to talk anodyne or disingenuous rot, but unlike the remainder, he cannot keep a straight face while doing this.
We reserve judgment until we can see a video of his presentation. We're hoping his face will reveal a man lying to a cat. Meanwhile, we totally agree with Mayor Johnson's specific "green" prescriptions:
And even if the entire scientific establishment [Huh? You haven't been keeping up, sir] is wrong about anthropogenic climate change — and I don't think [Yes. You don't think!] they are — then I believe to reduce pollution also makes aesthetic and economic sense as well [Now you're thinking]. And I want today to show what we all know to be true — that in an economic downturn there are in fact huge opportunities for us to go green and stay cheap and indeed to be greener and cleaner and cheaper at the same time.
It is our job in City Hall not just to help Londoners to beautify and improve the city, so making it an ever more attractive place to come to live and invest. It is our job to help Londoners save money. Every week I authorise new combined heat and power plants in developments across the city, intended to deliver energy and hot water locally. And this CHP means that our houses no longer have to emit those shaming plumes of gas from our own individual boilers.
"To beautify and improve the city, so making it an ever more attractive place to come to live and invest." William Pitt's venerable 18th-century notion of the "lungs of London" — picked up next century as the "lungs of the city" on this side of the pond by our own Frederic Law Olmsted — comes to mind. It's a good thing. Meanwhile, we are encouraged by the Mayor of London's invitation to Labor PM Gordon Brown to "Bring it on, you great big quivering gelatinous invertebrate jelly of indecision."
"Like Barbara Boxer within her Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on climate change this afternoon, Baby makes the rules," we captioned this image of the Babe last March, citing the latest derring do of two of our heroes fighting the good fight, Senator James Inhofe and Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus.
Update: This just in:
Another great man after our heart and mind.