Greta Thunberg: Attacks by obscenely rich show she’s winning – Kenny MacAskill

After Greta Thurnberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, lambasted British politicians over their inaction on climate change, Kenny MacAskill – not usually a fan of precocious youngsters – finds himself impressed.

Greta Thunberg speaks to an audience including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Labour MP Ed Miliband (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty)

I confess that like many, if not most, I abhor precocious children. Maybe it’s just been me but ever since childhood they’ve irked to say the least. Likewise, I’ve never warmed to student politicians and disdained them in my day. Too many were on the career trail rather than interested in the wider cause, as far as I was concerned.

But I have to say I’ve really warmed to Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist who’s just turned 16. Received wisdom might have had me saying the opposite but not so. I’m hugely impressed by her. For her age, she’s truly remarkable and must also be very courageous.

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It’s never easy venturing out onto the political stage and accordant spotlight, let alone one with global coverage. Yet she’s done so with grace and aplomb. There’s no sense of ego or arrogance about her, nor any sign of her selling her soul. What you see is really what you get. So, “go girl” I say.

Sure, she comes across as very serious and I can’t help but think that a wee bit injection of humour would go a long way to increasing her popularity.

But that can be learned and, in any event, comes through experience. She’ll develop and no doubt start with some self-deprecation or by telling a few funny tales.

Some of that may be explained by her having Asperger’s. It perhaps accentuates the solemnness while providing focus and dedication. It’s part of what makes her and hopefully will inspire others likewise.

Her denigration by many elderly commentators and even acolytes of the odious and obscenely rich Koch brothers shows that she’s having an effect. As the saying goes, they only kick you if you’re worth kicking and she’s obviously hurting them. It is generational and I for one defend her right to call out mine. As anyone watching David Attenborough would have seen, we’re killing our planet, yet it’s her and her peers who will have to live with it. So, more power to her and her generation.