Dominic Lawson: Planes, Hypocrites and Automobiles

  • Date: 06/05/19
  • Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

It must be wonderful to call on us all to consume less petrol in order to ‘save the planet’, but get free rides in what the Guardian/Observer salutes as ‘one of the most successful luxury performance cars of all time’.

Poor Dame Emma Thompson: photographed in seat 2F of the first-class cabin of a British Airways flight from London to New York, while tucking in to her complimentary beef carpaccio canapes — only a fortnight after flying to the UK from Los Angeles to play her revolutionary part in the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations against climate change.

High-flying hypocrite: Dame Thompson is spotted on a British Airways flight from Heathrow to JFK on Friday morning, despite earlier demanding: ‘We should all fly less’

Thompson is charged with extreme hypocrisy, as Extinction Rebellion insists that flights (even economy ones) should only be taken in ‘an emergency’. 

But I think we should give the Corbyn-supporting actress a bit of credit. She could, as she has in the past, have taken a private jet — which is even more CO2-generative per traveller.

Instead, she decided to slum it in the first-class cabin of a commercial airliner. That’s a true sacrifice.

A fortnight ago, Thompson flew to the UK from Los Angeles to play her revolutionary part in the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations against climate change

And it’s hard to be a passionate advocate of carbon emission reduction without wanting a little bit of the high life, too.

For example, the leading article of the left-of-centre Observer newspaper yesterday called on the world to do more to prevent ‘the life-threatening dangers of global warming in the Arctic’. It added: ‘As the world’s leaders turn their backs on the environment, we are at a crisis point. Individual consumer choices are important.’

Presumably, choices such as buying cars with much smaller engines, and certainly not monstrous gas-guzzlers of the sort which only those with no care for the planet’s future would zoom around in.

But what’s this, popping up on the Guardian/Observer website at exactly the same time as that stern lecture? A gushing review of the new £159,000 Bentley Continental GT, capable of reaching 207mph (almost three times the motorway speed limit). 

The reviewer exults about his driving experience in this beast: ‘Its vast engine is chortling happily. It weighs more than 2 tonnes, yet it can surge from 0-62mph in under 4 seconds. Sitting up front, the limitless potential of the W12 engine hovering beneath your toe, is a truly wonderful place to be.’

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