Watch: Tory MS defends ‘billionaires’ in climate crisis debate
A Tory MS has defended billionaires during a debate on the climate crisis in the Senedd.
Janet Finch-Saunders, who represents Aberconwy, came to the defence of the super-rich after Plaid Cymru MS Luke Fletcher suggested that they should contribute more to tackle the emergency.
The Conservative politician argued that they “provide” jobs, but Fletcher shot back, saying that workers have “suffered poor working conditions to make those billionaires their billions”.
The climate crisis will affect the poorest in society the most.
Yet it’s the poorest communities that are least responsible for climate change.
At what point do we, when facing the greatest threat in human history, decide that hoarding extreme amounts of wealth is immoral? pic.twitter.com/XqHLGfzL2S
— Luke Fletcher AS/MS (@FletcherPlaid) November 7, 2021
Luke Fletcher said: “We see that with how we idolise billionaires, how, during COP, people have swooned at the thought that these billionaires are putting their hands in their pockets and throwing us a few billion.
“Now, I’m trying not to be flippant here, because it’s definitely £1 billion more than I will ever be able to contribute myself, but, for some of the world’s most wealthy people, a couple of billion is a drop in the ocean, especially when some of these billionaires have the equivalent wealth of some eastern European countries.
Janet Finch-Saunders said: “I see where you’re coming from, but, with all due respect to these billionaires, have you ever worked out how many jobs they provide?
“How many people feed off the food chain from billionaires? It isn’t quite as simple as, ‘Oh, these rich billionaires.’ Anybody knows, if you actually look into it, that these billionaires, as you keep describing them as—. Have a look at how many jobs they actually provide.”
‘Throw it back at you’
Luke Fletcher replied: “Well, I’ll throw it back to you, Janet—and thanks for the intervention as well—have you ever looked at how many workers have suffered poor working conditions to make those billionaires their billions? That’s the reality here. There’s a lot of paying back that needs to happen, I think, right.
“And at what point, when we face a disaster that threatens to wipe out humanity, when we see so much poverty, when we know climate refugees are a reality—at what point do we as a society turn around and say that hoarding that amount of wealth is immoral?
“We must shift our culture as a society now to put the collective ahead of the individual, otherwise, it’s quite simply game over.
“In terms of the debate before us today and in the context of the Welsh economy, a green recovery is especially important in the context of the climate emergency. We must ensure that this period of transitioning our economy is a just one.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.