Friday, April 21, 2006


Echoing the thoughts of millions, I bet, Mick Hume of Spiked online writes for The Times today, declaring. "I will never vote for a leader who makes an ethical spectacle of himself".

The May local "pollszzz", he writes, have been set up as the "ethical elections", in which political leaders seek to show off the virtues of their personal commitment to the environment but, Hume tells us, I would not vote for the Conservatives because their leader rode a bicycle to work, spent thousands on an eco-makeover for his house, or felt the pain of a Norwegian glacier – after a ride on his dog-mobile.

Nor, he adds, would I vote for the Liberal Democrats because their leader has stopped driving his big Jag. Nor would I vote new Labour because its leaders claim to have pioneered the politics of ethical behaviour.

Warming to his theme, Hume decides that "this fashion for ethical politics is a desperate attempt to compensate for the melting away of principles." Politicians who have no distinctive vision of the future are reduced to standing on their personal record of ethical correctness. Instead of a battle between competing worldviews, we are left with a contest to see which party leader has the biggest windmill.

"These 'I'm a good girl, I am!' gestures", he declares, "are designed to demonstrate that one is a decent person. They are the modern equivalent of the affectations of the genteel mode of living in Victorian times."

Actually, Hume is too kind – even genteel. This "environmental correctness" is the last refuge of the intellectually depleted political class who, devoid of any ideas about, or capability to manage, their own affairs, have retreated into puerile fantasies about the way the world should be.

Then, armed with moral rectitude, having convinced themselves that theirs is the only true way, they feel empowered to lecture everybody else on the minutia of the conduct of their lives.

Small wonder that the statist, interventionalist, small-minded dodos of the EU commission find environmentalism so attractive. As a retreat from their own failings, it is very hard to beat. The "fault" must be shared by the whole of humanity.

That said, Hume gets his conclusion right: "there should surely be a moral right to reach for your gun any time a politician tries to play the ethical card," he says.

Short of that, today, I am going to overfill my kettle, turn the central heating up four degrees, leave the lights on all day and go for a completely unnecessary drive in my gas-guzzling 3.5 litre BMW, having thrown my newspapers in the dustbin.

And if the Boy King mentions his "green revolution", once more, I shall scream.


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