Monday, November 19, 2007

Madness stalks the land

Not content with his predecessor’s commitment to seeking a 20 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2020 – all part of the collective madness that is the European Union – Gordon Brown is, we are told, going to promise today to raise the British target to cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050.

This will be during his first environment speech as prime minister, signalling an even higher level of madness than has yet been apparent. Already, civil servants are telling the government that the EU target is unachievable, even within the timetable of 13 years – well beyond the planning boundaries for any democratic government.

Yet, if it is indeed the case that Brown is to set a 60 percent target for 43 years hence – not far short of half a century – he has lost complete touch with reality. Not only is he making plans for a period, the conditions of which he can have no knowledge, he is making commitments for future governments which he has no constitutional right to make.

Putting it in historic perspective, however, this is equivalent to a prime minister in 1907 – then Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, seen here inspecting Crimean War veterans in Manchester – making plans for 1950. By then, of course, we had had two world wars and the political map had changed beyond recognition.

But such is the fantasy world modern leaders inhabit that this clearly seems to Brown to be entirely sensible. The pity of it is that, instead of looking at the man mouths agape in disbelief, and calling for the men in white coats, the journos today will be taking him seriously.


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