The strange case of Dr Earth and the UKIP environment policies

Dr._Strangelove jpeg

Dr Strangelove

Curious to discover whether UKIP could justify new(ish) recruit Mark Reckless’ position on the protection of Lodge Hill (he is currently for its protection), I went in search of their environmental policies. I had already subjected myself to “ordeal by UKIP agriculture policy“, and the scars having nearly healed, I braced myself to read what they had to say about nature, wildife and so on.

It doesnt start well. The Environment in UKIP land is a subset of Housing. I suppose the thinking behind this is that farmland is for farming, and everything else is for housing, so the environment is where houses are built. Perhaps I’m overinterpreting here.

I was also intrigued by the UKIP slogan “vote purple keep The UK (represented by the Union flag) green.” Are UKIP now trying to grab the “greenest government ever” trophy from the LibCon coalition.

Their housing and environment spokesman is Andrew Charalambous, who is, variously, a Barrister, a Colonel to the Governor of Kentucky, a trooper in the Territorial Light Cavalry, and a Knight Grand Commander of the Byzantine Order of Holy Sepulchre.  He claims to be descended from Roman Emperors, Norman Kings and the Doges of Venice, styled himself Doctor Earth, and set up an Eco Club, which entailed clubbers flying to Ibiza for their green club experience. Friends of the Earth got very cross when Charalambous tried to associate their name and logo with his antics.

You can read all about Dr Earth’s beliefs here on his facebook page. It is quite strange. He says he has completed one of the profoundest spiritual journeys in history. I find it a bit odd that someone who is as enlightened as Jesus or Buddha would end up as UKIP’s housing spokesman, but I understand the path to enlightenment is full of temptations, dead ends and traps.

Charalambous is also a property developer and private landlord, owning over a thousand properties. So he should know something about housing and the private rented sector in particular. He has profited greatly from it, earning over £750,000 from housing benefit paid via tenants to his properties in Haringey, North London, many of them immigrants.

But he is also, according to this wikipedia page, a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the Universitas Sancti Cyrillus, which also  bestowed upon him a Doctorate of Divinity. This University is based in Valletta, Malta, and is closely linked to the Byzantine Order of Holy Sepulchre, in which Charalambous is a Knight Grand Commander.

I was curious to find out more about the University of St Cyril, but there was little information, other than its own promotional websites. Until I found it listed here and here with other degree mills and bogus universities. Could this really be true?

Anyway, enough about UKIP’s colourful environment spokesman: what of their policies?

Well on climate, we know about UKIP – but they are keen to stop banging on about carbon and start tackling other issues, like the culling of the Amazon Rainforest. Is that like Badger Culling, but hotter?

They will bring in Clean Streets inspectors, with powers to fine councils who fail to keep their streets clean. And ensure at least one dustbin per every 3 residents; presumably this will help all Dr Earth’s tenants to clean up their front gardens.

UKIP love trees – just as the BNP and other Fascist organisations do, especially Oaks. UKIP wants to reforest Britain, so I guess they support George Monbiot’s re-wilding campaign. George will be delighted to receive such high profile support, especially from Dr Earth. According to UKIP deforestation causes lung cancer, not smoking. I wonder if they got confused with the pro-smoking astroturf outfit called FOREST. Its a complicated business and there must be so little time available for Dr Earth to study all this, in between running his housing empire, raking in housing benefit, being a Professor in Malta and a Colonel in Kentucky.

UKIP would ban all tree-felling and provide a 100% grant for tree planting, including labour AND make it tax-deductible (eh?) for individuals and businesses. Trees according to UKIP make the soil less acid and more calcium rich (it’s magic) “causing more prolific carbon sink”.

UKIP want cleaner rivers, and to achieve this they will create a “Marine Environment Corps” which will go round collecting rubbish.  Tougher fines from polluters will fund the corps. UKIP will also insist on shampoo bottles having labels warning consumers of the nasty chemicals inside.

On our declining wildlife habitats UKIP is clear what the problems are, unclean water and rubbish.

“Our priority is to preserve the wildlife habitat of endangered species, particularly by replenishing sources of clean drinking water required for their survival.”

Finally – the missing piece of the jigsaw. Our wildlife is disappearing because it doesnt have access to clean drinking water. Even the plants. It reminds me of Dr Strangelove and the paranoia that the Ruskies were intent on poisoning “our precious bodily fluids“.

UKIPs Wildlife Rangers (paramilitary?) will scour the country collecting “inappropriate refuse” which can trap or injure birds of animals. UKIP are worried about wild plants and would commission an investigation into which ones are threatened – which is something we could really do with. And already have. They also mention amending Section 13B of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which doesn’t exist.

On greenbelt, UKIP is immovable. The Green belt is “effectively the lungs of Great Britain“. The green belt shall never be surrendered. Dr Earth is worried

“We breach the green belt. We start with the shrub lands. Where do we draw the line? Who makes the assessment as to what is to be kept green and what is to be concreted”

Who could resist the call to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr Earth if the green belt was breached and the shrub lands were lost? Not I.

UKIP have probably the strongest brownfield first policy of all the parties, and here stand shoulder to shoulder with CPRE. That must make their Chief Exec Labour man Shaun Spiers very uncomfortable.

I will leave you to explore the remoter corners of Mr Charalambous’ website, in search of nuggets of green inspiration.

What can we tell from this rambling, shambolic hotchpotch of paranoia, fantasy and ignorance? Dr Earth’s take on the environment has a distinctively new-age tinge to it, combined with a barely hidden authoritarian urge to create quasi-military eco-squads, planting trees, fining litter bugs and preventing the contamination of the drinking water. This is coupled with the usual anti EU, anti immigrant and anti climate change positions that are well known, and a smattering of “the market knows best” neoliberalism.

I wonder if Mark Reckless has read this stuff – after all Dr Earth will soon be visiting Lodge Hill with him to expound on the virtues of building houses on Brownfield land.


 Photo of Dr Strangelove from the Film by Directed by Stanley Kubrick, distributed by Columbia Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
This entry was posted in UKIP, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to The strange case of Dr Earth and the UKIP environment policies

  1. Thank you. You read it so that we don’t have to.

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  3. Steve says:

    Apparently UKIP intend to outlaw the ‘mass falling of trees in all forms’. The ‘falling’ of trees is a common practice in the management of heathland; should I expect a visit from the UKIP Wildlife Rangers?

    Worried of Ashdown Forest

  4. Kate Hand says:

    Thanks Miles! Most enlightening. In the sense of enlightening me about the profound ignorance of others – is there a word for that? Perhaps Dr. Earth is modelling his approach on the paramilitary national parks departments that many African countries have, on the basis that the green blob are looking to poach anyone trying to cull a badger…

  5. Nathaniel Chase says:

    My curiosity about Ukip and energy issues was satisfied by two sound bytes, which I offer for consideration. Mark Rekless, after his election win, asserted on Question Time that there is no consensus that human activities cause global warming . This is wrong. The scientific consensus has been clear for a long time: fossil fuel emissions cause the planet to retain energy, and the effects of this process are underway.
    Second, on the Ukip website I found the charming assertion that ” global warming is so twentieth century”. This bar chat by men who apparently are unwilling to take the few hours required to sort the bollocks from the facts regarding the dire danger we are in is matey and populist. Or it is a demonstration of intellectual shallowness amounting to an absent humanity, a rejection of hard-won and proved fact in deference to the greasy hustle of twisting the voters for more juice.
    Either way, if anyone thinks Ukip are something new, you will be roughly disappointed.

    • Miles King says:

      thanks very much Nathaniel.

      I could also suggest pointing to the bizarre ramblings of Roger Helmer, the UKIP energy spokesman, but I think it’s probably best not to.

    • “Bizarre ramblings”, “bar chit-chat … matey and populist”, yup, that’s about the size of it I agree. Unfortunately there’s hundreds of thousands of British people, if not millions, who are themselves quite like this. Especially lower middle class, white, heterosexual, men over 50. They’re being called the “left behind”. I meet these guys all the time, especially out dog-walking, and being a chatty type interested in others I like to find out about where they’re coming from.

      I’m afraid, Nathaniel, that these people don’t want anything new. What they want is to go back to the 1950s, when men were in charge, gays were in the closet and foreigners could either be ignored, bossed about, sneered at or bayoneted, depending on what was in Great Britain’s perceived interest at the time.

      Unfortunately, given the ageing population we’ll probably have to wait a long time for them to die off!

      • Nathaniel Chase says:

        It’s nice to have what feels like a conversation. Though I find that some of the things I think about tend to be conversation stoppers. The pure human sorrow that comes over people who encounter the current climate data and begin to understand is painful, painful. I have found that by this stage, in order to comprehend the irrationality that is rampant across the world, it is necessary to draw a line under the Holocene era. I have to work to understand our brief time in the anthropocene, because it offers perspective on the last period in history when we could assume stability and a future. The transition point is arbitrary, though the epilogue to the Holocene begins with the industrial revolution. I date the end of the epoch at the time of the 90s global climate summits, which were followed by major increases in emissions.
        Yes the worst are full of passionate intensity, but it’s not that the best lack all conviction. It’s that the truth is a dog that must to kennel, when our leaders are doing business. And also that this truth is one that nobody will be able to come to turns with, you go on coming to terms with it. There isn’t any precedent for a species conscious of its consciousness watching and commenting on its own extinction.
        As I said, this sort of thing doesn’t go down very well at parties. What I do is go back and check my facts, every day. And I’ve stopped talking about it, which is why I am enjoying this. I don’t mind being classified as a loony, or the charmingly bitter “warmist”, from the Daily Telegraph types. But if you call me a conspiracy nut, I am afraid that’s wrong.

      • Hi Nathaniel, I’m always up for a conversation, especially one that doesn’t go down well at parties! My own bugbear is the erosion of biodiversity by human arrogance, excessive reproduction, greed and stupidity. My feelings on climate change are that it may be the one thing that can stop the human juggernaut which threatens to overwhelm or subjugate other species. And seeing that all the things that we would have to do to prevent climate change are things that we ought to do anyway, like making contraception universally available to all, getting rid of private motor cars and the proliferation of such habitat-destroying infrastrucure, stopping fossil fuel air travel, completely re-structuring the economy away from perpetual growth and consumerism and so on, Id prefer a focus on these causative factors rather than symptoms of our disease like climate change. But ultimately the real causes of our problems are psychological, ie the assorted human rag-bag of neuroses; insecurity, power- and status-seeking, selfishness, greed, religious mania, sexual hang-ups, wanting to dominate others, and all the rest. If we don’t tackle the psychological causes humanity will continue to lay waste all about us.

        Que sera. We live in interesting times indeed!

  6. Nathaniel Chase says:

    I appreciate your concern for my disposition, which is indeed fragile. However, we are instructed to go where the facts take us, (to a dark depopulated wilderness), and there tell what we see. How about this from Helmer, a Cambridge maths graduate:

    …there hasn’t been any global warming for 18 years, according to satellite data…the sensitivity figures that the IPCC uses – of 3 degrees for a doubling of C02 – is grossly exaggerated.

    Either maths at Cambridge has had a terrible falling off, or something has happened to Mr. Helmers education.
    It would take an essay to clear away the fog of this gibberish, but is it worth it? What he is telling the voters is they can forget about the environment, and those who are thus inclined for unrelated reasons, like an investment portfolio, will accept this gift.
    (My own perception is that this kind of glove puppet politics of the environment will last through another two summers, by which time the methane emergency will be properly underway, and it is a much more ambitious gas than CO2. What party will be in power when the truth finally comes home because it couldn’t make it out there on its own?)

  7. Nathaniel Chase says:

    How could climate change actually help these problems?

    • Nathaniel Chase says:

      Ok. It s just that it seems to me that your vivid description of humans being human is a condition that requires habitat to continue. I’ll just get my coat.

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  9. Dave wildlife warrior and ecological condultant says:

    You don’t quote your source of these policies and phrases. Read the manifesto out this week and you will see none of the silly stuff above is there. As a professional ecologist I see ukip as offering hope for wildlife protection with good policies.

  10. Dave wildlife warrior and ecological consultant says:

    Oh sorry the link is the reference. I agree this is infantile rubbish, so I am writing to UKIP to ask them to ask AC to delete these pages. They are not UKIP policies, well apart from the Brownfield policy. Please look through the policies in the manifesto.

    • Miles King says:

      thanks Dave. Personally I would be sorry to see the pages deleted as they gave me much pleasure. While it may be possible to delete the pages, the views of Andrew Charalambous, Stuart Agnew and Roger Helmer, UKIP’s environment/climate change/housing spokesmen will remain the same.

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