“You are failing us!” Greta Thunberg throws down the gauntlet to world leaders.


Climate campaign leader channels the voices of millions of protesters across the world and blasts world leaders to their faces.

Some of you may have seen the speech by 15 year old Jean Hinchliffe in Sydney. If not, see below. It’s electrifying:

It’s the UN Climate Summit 2019 as well as the Labour Party Conference. At the same time the big travel agent Thomas Cook has gone into administration, “leading to the biggest repatriation of holiday makers in peacetime” the BBC has just said. In the meantime, The Prime Minister has got himself involved in a sex-and-sleaze-and-why-hasn’t-he-resigned-already scandal. The media can’t decide over whether to have fun 1990s sex scandal style or whether it’s something far more serious involving public money and overruling officials doing their job to ensure propriety. And the Supreme Court rules 24 hours later on whether the Prime Minister lied to the Queen and/or unlawfully suspended Parliament.

“So….we’ve all been screwed by Boris then?”


“It’s like a TV series!”

Careful – it’s the final run in of the disaster series: The UK. It’s got everything! High stakes, real suspense – no one knowing how it’ll end!”

And everyone is watching. Even Greta.

Greta Thunberg: “You have absolutely no idea what I am about to hit world leaders with!”

The last time world leaders were brought trembling over their failures by a teenage girl, Joan of Arc was on the battlefield. Patriarchy is a powerful institution. (*Actually, there are numerous other examples since then, but such figures don’t get publicity in popular history).

Earlier this year, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP (who was the first MP to start following Puffles on Twitter back in early 2011!) was asked by Andrew Marr over his meeting with activists from Extinction Rebellion.

And today Mr McDonnell praised climate activists – including the school climate strikers and Extinction Rebellion, before outlining some of the measures he said a future Labour Government would take to deal with Climate Change.

John McDonnell’s speech starts at 1:38:22.

Minutes after Mr McDonnell made that speech, Greta Thunberg followed that up with this speech where she crushed world leaders with her rhetoric – breaking the convention that children and young people are only supposed to say nice and polite things at such gatherings.

Ms Thunberg’s speech begins at 40:30.

At the same time, Greta Thunberg and 15 fellow young campaigners filed a lawsuit against five countries over the climate emergency.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UK ratified the treaty in the early 1990s and is now in force in the UK – and has been since 1992. But the Rights of the Child go back a long way – from before the United Nations was founded. Some of you will be aware that the original declaration was adopted by the League of Nations in 1924. Despite the ultimate failure of the League to prevent World War 2, its more successful institutions were carried over into the United Nations – including that 1924 declaration.

And who wrote it? None other than Lost Cambridge hero Eglantyne Jebb.

Eglantyne Jebb Palmer Clarke Low Res_3 colourised Ivory Dress

Hero – Eglantyne Jebb, author of “Cambridge: A brief study in social questions” (and founder of a charity you might have heard of – Save the Children). (Image from the Cambridgeshire Collection colourised by Nick Harris of Photo Restoration Services)

Save The Children wrote about her legacy here.

Personally speaking, I think it’s wonderful to see one of my contemporary political heroes making use of the legal tools made for her by one of my historical political heroes. If someone is able to turn that into an image – of Eglantyne handing the treaty over to Greta, let me know.

In the meantime, this week is going to see a series of actions on climate change and the climate emergency. This week will be a *very long week* in politics. And Parliament isn’t even sitting.


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