STEPHEN GLOVER: The hypocrisy of party-loving elites

STEPHEN GLOVER: From gun control to climate change, the hypocrisy of party-loving elites like Hugh Grant and Leona Lewis is shameless

Within the space of 24 hours, two mass shootings in the United States have accounted for the deaths of 29 innocent people.

Already the usual heartfelt pleas for tighter gun controls are being made.

I wonder whether any will emerge from the actors Hugh Grant and Joan Collins, or the supermodel Naomi Campbell, or the singer Leona Lewis.

In the past, they have all mourned the easy availability of guns in the US.

So it is peculiarly odd that they should have been present at an extravagant party in Austria on Friday night to mark the 90th birthday of Gaston Glock.  

I wonder whether any pleas for tighter gun control will emerge from the actors Hugh Grant and Joan Collins, or the supermodel Naomi Campbell, or the singer Leona Lewis. It is peculiarly odd that they should have been present at an extravagant party in Austria on Friday night to mark the 90th birthday of Gaston Glock

Former X Factor champion Leona Lewis, pictured at the party with Mrs Glock’s brother David Tschikof, gave a private performance at the lavish party thrown by the owner of one of the world’s biggest weapons producers

That’s the same Gaston Glock who has sold more than five million of his pistols, becoming a billionaire in the process. 

After the shindig, Mr Grant flew out of Austria in a Glock private jet. He’s a bit of a regular at Glock’s bashes, having attended at least of three of them previously. He has seemingly forgotten his moral outrage after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in which 13 people were murdered. Then he begged America ‘to look into its soul’.

It seems to have slipped the mind of Leona Lewis, who sang at the party, that last year she inveighed against the ‘atrocious gun violence in this country’ [the U.S.].

Naomi Campbell apparently blotted out a tweet she sent as recently as June in which she reflected that ‘the statistics on gun violence in America are astounding’.

After the shindig, Hugh Grant flew out of Austria in a Glock private jet.  He has seemingly forgotten his moral outrage after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in which 13 people were murdered. Then he begged America ‘to look into its soul’

Dame Joan Collins has been similarly forgetful, though perhaps more forgivably as she is 86. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 in which 20 young children and seven adults were shot dead, she tweeted: ‘I hate guns.’ The killer, Adam Lanza, shot himself with a Glock pistol he had been carrying throughout his rampage.

It’s all very perplexing. Why did they go to the party? Are they so fond of Glock, and his 38-year-old wife Kathrin, that they overlook the dubious source of his wealth? It’s possible, I suppose. Some people do have strange friends. And Gaston certainly doesn’t sound a charmer.

Probably they hoped their presence wouldn’t be noted by pesky journalists, and that their double standards, which surely merit the charge of hypocrisy, might pass unnoticed.

The tax-avoiding tech giant Google threw a £16 million mega-knees-up in Sicily where invitees discussed global warming for three days. Pictured are Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom arriving on a yacht 

Curiously enough, just days earlier there was another classic example of celebrities being indulged on an epic scale as they behaved in a way strikingly at odds with the pieties they publicly intone.

The tax-avoiding tech giant Google threw a £16 million mega-knees-up in Sicily where invitees discussed global warming for three days — when they weren’t drinking champagne, relaxing by the pool or working out in the gym.

Google is coy about the guest list, but world-famous experts on climate change such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio, fashion designer Stella McCartney and singer Katy Perry reportedly turned up to share their insights. Naomi Campbell is also said to have been there, on her way, presumably, to the festivities at Schloss Glock.

Caring and knowing as much as they do about climate change, many of the guests arrived in private jets (forget any idea of flying with hoi polloi on a scheduled flight!), plus various energy-hungry super-yachts, significantly boosting Sicily’s carbon footprint.

Google is coy about the guest list, but world-famous experts on climate change such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio, fashion designer Stella McCartney and singer Katy Perry reportedly turned up to share their insights. Pictured is Harry Styles arriving

The white buildings of the Glock Horse Performance Center, which boasts two indoor arenas, were bathed in pink and purple light

Our own climate change zealot Prince Harry was reportedly flown to the island in a private plane, and then whisked by helicopter to the luxurious resort near Sciacca, creating God alone knows how much carbon dioxide. This was shortly after he had revealed his determination to be kinder to the planet by having only two children.

Caring and knowing as much as they do about climate change, many of the guests arrived in private jets. Pictured is Robbie Williams performing 

He and Meghan could have endless offspring if only he travelled by train or, even better, decided never again to attend a completely worthless conference which will have done more to worsen global warming than ameliorate it.

In case anyone should imagine all that free champagne and fine food is making me jealous, let me say that discussing climate change with the likes of Katy Perry and Leonardo DiCaprio would be my idea of hell.

I am as bewildered by the behaviour of these privileged people in Sicily as I am by the presence of gun-hating celebrities at the Glock jamboree in the foothills of the Austrian Alps.

Can it be that the super-rich and very famous do not believe that they are bound by the same restrictive rules as they enjoin the rest of humanity to observe? It is very hard to resist such an interpretation.

Whatever the explanation, it is certain these people succeed in undermining the cause they affect to support. For it is an old truism that living by the values you proclaim is by far the best way of getting other people to follow them.  

If you hope to persuade people to reduce their carbon footprint, don’t jaunt around the world on a private plane. If you want others to take seriously your strong views on gun control, don’t fetch up at a party thrown by a billionaire firearms manufacturer.

Speaking of Google’s Sicilian blowout, we shouldn’t forget that Californian tech billionaires notoriously encourage children to use their ubiquitous gadgets from the moment they emerge from the womb, while sometimes eschewing them themselves.  

If you hope to persuade people to reduce their carbon footprint, don’t jaunt around the world on a private plane. If you want others to take seriously your strong views on gun control, don’t fetch up at a party thrown by a billionaire firearms manufacturer.

I am as bewildered by the behaviour of these privileged people in Sicily as I am by the presence of gun-hating celebrities at the Glock jamboree in the foothills of the Austrian Alps. Pictured is John Travolta with Gaston Glock’s wife, Kathrin

Speaking of Google’s Sicilian blowout, we shouldn’t forget that Californian tech billionaires notoriously encourage children to use their ubiquitous gadgets from the moment they emerge from the womb, while sometimes eschewing them themselves.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent who didn’t let his children use iPads. The company’s existing chief executive, Tim Cook, doesn’t want his nephew to use social media. Microsoft founder Bill Gates didn’t let his kids use a mobile phone until they were 14.

There are some effective proselytisers who practise what they preach. After Emma Thompson recently jetted into London from Los Angeles to support the Extinction Rebellion protest, she was chided by climate change scientist Kevin Anderson, who pointed out she could easily have paid for a billboard poster in Piccadilly to get her message across. He hasn’t flown since 2004. 

We may think this self-imposed austerity is extreme, but it is more likely to persuade us towards his cause than Ms Thompson’s behaviour. She is in the business of advertising her virtue — like those gilded luminaries in Sicily — without making any commensurate sacrifice.

Some of us may find the 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg a little hectoring, but at least she tries to follow her own recommendations. She hasn’t flown since 2015 and travels outside her native Sweden by train or boat.

In order to attend the UN climate change summit in New York next month, she will cross the Atlantic on a carbon-neutral yacht that generates power from solar panels — although, sponsored as it is by the Yacht Club of Monaco, home of the gas-guzzling Grand Prix, the boat may not be as innocent as it sounds.

We are all of us guilty of hypocrisy in little things. But at least most us do not blithely ignore what we advocate. So far as saving the planet is concerned, we do our little bit without too much fuss, buying many fewer plastic bags, and just about coping with the complexities of recycling.

The truth is that even our own posturing politicians are virtual ingenues by comparison with Google’s carbon-emitting climate change busybodies and the gun control enthusiasts glad-handing Gaston Glock. Is it any wonder that people distrust our shameless global elite? 

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