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Nick Robinson's interview with Roger Hallam – I expected to want to switch off but I'm glad I didn't

Updated: Jul 16

Should we be seeking out the views and beliefs of people who are fundamentally different or potentially abhorrent to our own?

Roger Hallam

A rather big question that needs some context. I have been listening to Nick Robinson’s ‘Political Thinking’ for the last couple of years. It's generally on when I'm driving back from somewhere as it is broadcast on Radio 4 late Saturday afternoons. I quite look forward to it.

Yesterday, while driving home after doing some work on a heat pump, I tuned in to listen to the latest broadcast. The interviewee was Roger Hallam. I had no idea at this point who Roger Hallam was. He was introduced as the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and is behind the scenes in Just Stop Oil. At this point, I seriously thought about tuning back to Planet Rock as, while I truly believe we need to decarbonise, I do have a problem with the tactics they employ. I’m glad I


Without going into detail (do listen to the full interview on BBC Sounds) I took away some important thoughts. Roger is advocating significant mass civil disobedience to illicit change and so force our society to move more quickly to a low carbon future. He has no faith in the media, political institutions, society in general and portrayed anger. Do I believe this will change our society? No. My view is based not from a deep insight into psychology but from a personal view of how I observed and participated in facilitating a cultural change. The reason I mention cultural change is that this likely to be the only way we will make and achieve the changes needed.

The current political sound bite regarding decarbonisation is "We need to bring society along". Along with what? And here is part of the problem. All the time society is fed what is perceived as what we need to hear, it will not be able to make an informed choice regarding any changes it may make. While the truth may be difficult to stomach, surely it is better to understand what is likely to happen and what changes are needed.

I do not agree with mass civil disobedience or disruption to events, but I do believe we need to start forcing our politicians to be more honest about the challenges we all now face with global warming and the changes that are required. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to be told the truth by the people we vote in, and for them to have a credible plan to achieve the targets to which we have agreed?

So, to answer the question "Should we be seeking out the views and beliefs of people who are fundamentally different or potentially abhorrent to our own?" – yes. Now having the opportunity to gain some insight into an individual with whom I share the belief that we need to decarbonise but have a fundamentally different view on tactics, I have been forced to analyse my motives and actions to date. It has also spurred me into writing this blog, which will hopefully nudge anyone reading this to think about their motives and actions. And, if nothing else, it might make people aware of a radio show that provides a new perspective on individuals who influence politics in our country.

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