Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A political contraceptive

Sites linking to our piece on the effect of the EU's emission trading scheme on the closure of the Corus Redcar steel plant have driven our hit rate to a respectable 10,000 page impressions today – small beer by the standards of the big-hitters, but respectable none-the-less.

Of those sites that linked, almost all (that I picked up) were either American or Canadian. These included the WSJ blog, which saw the point immediately, and Craigslist, which also saw the point, remarking that the same could happen under Obama's cap-and-trade

Others were Small Dead Animals, which linked almost immediately the story went up, Michelle Malkin, who seems to be linking semi-permanently to EUREF now (thank you) and National Review.

Of the British sites, there may have been some that we missed (apologies if we have) but the only one we know of is Open Europe, which does not seem to have generated any hits.

Now, please don't get me wrong – what I am about to say is not a complaint, but strictly a neutral observation. In a very small way, the fact that US and Canadian sites have linked, and we have not seen any significant activity from UK sites is another sign – to me anyway – of how climate change in this country has become depoliticised (at least, at a party political level). The party-orientated political sites have opted out.

By contrast, we see massive activity on the US political blogs, where there is a vibrant debate, with many of the political heavyweights involved.

EUREF links, of course, are only one sign. We noted other signs earlier, and that post got a couple of links, one from Iain Dale (thanks) and a very unusual link from Conservative Home. But there has been no significant party political activity about which these sites could report, which has left them in a rather difficult position.

There is most definitely a synergy between politicians, political blogs and, of course, the MSM, and if Right Wing politicians are opting out of the debate – which indeed they seem to be – then we are not going to get any traction on this issue.

How interesting it is, therefore, that potentially one of the biggest assaults on our liberties and wallets in recent history – outside of wartime – is not on the party political agenda in the UK.

But, of course, there is the elephant in the room – otherwise known as the European Union, a guaranteed political contraceptive. Once the dead hand of our government in Brussels gets involved, debate has no chance of fertilisation. While cap-and-trade is a political issue in the US and Canada, we already have it in the UK, courtesy of the EU, and there was never a debate about it before it came in, much less a vote.

That perhaps is the ultimate measure of the degree to which our politics have sunk. The Right is compromised on both the EU and climate change - and has had nothing of interest to say about Climategate. Here, the issues are combined, so all we get is silence, apart from the occasional embarrassed shuffling of feet.