Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fox's glacier hints

Dr Liam FoxDavid Cameron's emphasis on environmental issues risks eclipsing traditional Conservative messages on crime and discipline. So says Liam Fox, via the Guardian, which has picked up on Sunday’s GMTV interview with the shadow defence secretary – further analysed on the Tory Diary site.

Fox is warning that the party risks being "tilted too much in one direction", hinting that the Boy King has perhaps gone a little too far with his "Vote blue, go green" campaign. The Tories needed to show they were a broad coalition by combining traditional Conservative policies - such as wealth creation and being tough on crime - with a social agenda that dealt with domestic violence, mental health and green issues.

The Boy King, however, may feel he is on a roll, with a recent survey carried out for Friends of the Earth which suggests that “most Brits” want the government to go green.

In fact the claim is that over three-quarters of 1,233 adults aged between 16 and 64, interviewed online by TNS - from 25 to 27 April 2006 - would support the mandatory (but unspecified) measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent each year – something which the Boy King favours.

One wonders, though, whether the public support would be quite so strong if the precise measures had been specified, and their economic consequences, or were aware of the latest “green” scam, reported by the BBC.

Power firms, it seems, are set to make a £1bn windfall profit from the EU Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme, benefiting from increases in electricity prices brought about by the scheme without needing to make any extra investment in return.

The problem is that firms have been given, free-of-charge, the carbon emissions permits on which the scheme is based, which they can then sell on at a handsome profit when – if as is likely, they manage to come under the limits set.

This rather demonstrates the fatuity of directly involving state organs in such complex matters by, since the scheme is a mainstay of the EU's policy for meeting its Kyoto obligations, nothing us likely to change and a lot of people are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

Not laughing though is Ruth Lea who, in yesterday's Telegraph business section, succinctly debunks the idea that everyone agrees on climate change. It is a fallacy, she writes.

She is supported by a group of leading climate scientists who have announced the formation of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, aimed at refuting what it believes are unfounded claims about man-made global warming.

They are particularly critical of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its "effective monopoly on public announcements", and are aiming at fostering a new "sceptical consensus" to act as "auditors" of the IPCC.

Needless to say, Rees-Mogg, in The Times believes that "Lucky Dave" has got his strategy right. Given that Mogg almost invariably gets it wrong, the Boy King seems doomed.

The Independent certainly points the way if the Boy sticks to his "environment" line, having already run a story on how his "image as green leader" has "gone up in smoke" since it emerged that he is followed by his official car when he cycles to work. It and the Guardian now take every opportunity they can to remind their readers of this little faux pas.

With that, and Fox's glacier hints, it seems the Boy may have to learn how to be a real opposition leader, on substantive issues – especially as there may now be a sensational development in the offing on the foreign criminals that Clarke let loose on society.

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