A nother week has past with more controversial statements from the Labour Party in relations to the future of British nuclear weapons. This week has also seen the normal alarmist debate surrounding climate change and its future ramifications. Both issues could potentially pose an existential threat to mankind, yet they are framed in very different ways. It is time to look at the concept of framing in order to disseminate which threats should be given the ultimate priority.
When I discussed this week’s editorial with our editor Alastair Stewart he made an excellent comment that sums it up- ‘it’s not left or right, it’s safety from humans or safety from nature’ – and he is right on the money. It all depends on how the surrounding world is framed, and what is it that actually matters to you?
One’s views on whether or not the UK should renew its nuclear arsenal depends on how you see our world, and more importantly, who (or indeed, what) poses the greatest threat to you? If your views on humans are more aligned with Thomas Hobbes (‘The condition of man… is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.’) than with Jean Jacques Rousseau you are probably going to see nuclear weapons as one of the only ways to protect us from other human beings, or their modern world extension – other states.
This, scholars would argue, is a narrow view on what constitutes security and threats. It would always put military threats at the top of the agenda. However, to anyone living in the real world it would be obvious that the world is far more complex. More and more people are seeing climate change as the greatest threat to mankind, which shifts the focus away from safety from human threat towards Mother Nature herself. Flooding, drought and extreme weather are some of the consequences of the climate changing, and if we see these as the no.1. threat we would probably divest from nuclear weapons and spend it on mitigation such as building flood defences. But it all boils down to your perspective and how different threats are framed.
At Darrow we do not seek to take sides in this debate, but rather to promote different thinking – new angles to old problems and promote reframing exercises. Today’s political climate is far too black and white. Old problems are returning, but in a setting never seen before. The political establishment, be that in Brussels, London or Edinburgh, by and large try the same ideas from the past but expecting new outcomes. New, fresh thinking is necessary to deal with the brave new world we are facing, a world filled with new and familiar dangers that are ever-shifting.