In all the heat and light of the currently febrile political climate it’s often forgotten that the real climate is under dire threat, and the co-founder of London’s Stop Killing Cyclists has decided to step back from his role urging for the creation of safe cycling infrastructure in order to spend more time campaigning against what he says is mass-media bias against those warning about a warming planet. Donnachadh McCarthy founded Stop Killing Cyclists with Stephen Routley just under three years ago, and has organised many demos in London, including "die-ins" where cyclists lie down in the road in protest against needless deaths of cyclists.
"My core passion is tackling the climate and environmental emergencies that we and our planet are facing," said McCarthy.
"And whilst the urgent creation of a national protected safe cycling infrastructure is core to tackling this in the UK, I have realised with my other campaigning over the last few years, that the single biggest block to the urgent climate action we need in the UK, is the five far-right UK media billioniares who own so much of our press and media."
He says they and their papers are "opposed to effective climate action and are using their media corporations to promote climate sceptic propaganda."
To combat this McCarthy said he will now "concentrate all of my efforts on tackling this one cause," adding that "once this is dealt with, all other national climate action campaigns, including cycling, will be immensely easier."
McCarthy, author of The Prostitute State and a former deputy chair of the Liberal Democrats, has set up a Facebook group for his new campaign focus, Advertising Action on Climate Project. Its aim is to persuade climate-responsible corporations to stop funding climate sceptic propaganda by pulling their advertising from the Mail, Sun, Star, Times, Telegraph and Express.
"I realised I personally cannot help drive two important campaigns," said McCarthy.
He said the die-ins have been a "crucial element in creating the fantastic public support that protected cycle lanes now have in London, due to the widespread coverage they generated in the London media."
National cycle campaigning needs the same "radical shake up", said McCarthy.
"Government policies on cycling, under all parties, have been criminally disastrous but the campaigning against them have been weak, with protests almost non-existent, other than those organised by Stop Killing Cyclists."