Save the planet , but spare us the platitudes of these 'green' politicians

UK Daily Mail
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Politicians of all the main parties are desperate to be green.

Environment Secretary David Miliband announces the Climate Change Bill with the grandiose promise that there will be five yearly 'carbon budgets' which would limit the amount of CO2 that the UK discharges.

"Within a decade, all our new homes should become zero-carbon," he announces breathlessly "...and, in transport, we will have to make steps towards becoming a post-oil economy, with biofuels, hybrids and ultimately fully-electric or hydrogen cars replacing the traditional petrol cars."

He adds, with what must be seen as extraordinary optimism, that he will be "getting India, China and the U.S. on board in what is a global battle".

Not to be outdone. Gordon Brown wants us to know that he, too, is greener than green. At his Scottish home, he composts his food and cardboard waste. Did I hear anyone in Beijing say: "Big deal!"

The Conservatives, of course, have a dynamic young leader who travels to work by bike (followed by his official car, naturally, containing his papers, and a change of clothes) and who has been anxious, ever since his election, to secure his green credentials.

We all remember him burning up the fuel by flying to the Arctic for a photoopportunity among the huskies in the icy wastes which will be melted in the event of global warming.

Knowing that British voters quite naturally prefer animals to politicians, David Cameron goes to the City of London to tell business leaders that 15,590 species are threatened with extinction if we do not curb the emission of greenhouse gas.

Pandas, parrots and turtles are all natural Tories, it would seem.

And, of course, it goes without saying that Sir Menzies Campbell, a keen motorist with more than one expensive, gas-guzzling car, will always match any green pledge from the other parties, with the promise that under a Lib-Dem government, Britain will save water, use lowenergy light bulbs, recycle domestic waste, and make every Lib-Dem baby in the land wear washable nappies.

Offends In the great green issue the politicians have found a subject which perfectly suits them. It bolsters their self-importance by being something of allegedly 'global' significance.

It apparently offends no one.

And indeed, it will appeal to those millions of patient souls who, by sorting out their plastic wrappers, their newspapers and their empty bottles into separate containers each week for the council to collect, somehow believe they are doing their bit towards saving the planet.

It also, of course - and this is the part the politicians like the best - allows them to boss us, and to wrong-foot us.

While China builds five power stations a week, and while India carries on its programme of industrialisation to keep up with its great rival and to combat its own desperate poverty, British citizens will be made to feel naughty for having a summer holiday which involves a cheap air journey, or for loading the kids into the back of the car for a day out with granny.

It is hard to judge the Prince of Wales's capacity for rational thought. When he is speaking about green issues, he seems to parrot Jonathon The logic lead to time in garden, but when touring it was horrors, her favourite behind were flown Highness.

This ridiculous he gave to reduce If the limousines jet planes hypocrites, but only impressive.

Further, science politicians is at best even wrong.

Yet the liberal subject dealing facts and a sign of Those warming echoes to deny attempt The really parrot the ideas of his guru Sir Jonathon Porritt.

The logic of his position would lead to his spending a lot more time in his Gloucestershire garden, only travelling by ecofriendly trains.

But when he and his wife were touring the Gulf last month and it was discovered, horror of horrors, that Camilla had left her favourite pair of stilettos behind in Clarence House, they were flown out for Her Royal Highness.

This makes Charles look as ridiculous as does his claim that he gave up playing polo "in part to reduce carbon emissions".

If the politicians in their limousines and the Prince in his jet planes were not such glaring hypocrites, their words might - but only might - seem more impressive.

Unproven Further, so much of the science upon which the green politicians base their campaign is at best unproven, possibly even wrong.

Yet the BBC and much of the liberal Left pronounce on the subject as though they were dealing with incontrovertible facts and that to oppose them is a sign of madness or mendacity.

Those who challenge the evidence are branded 'global warming denier' - with its sinister echoes of those who seek to deny the Holocaust - in an attempt to close down debate.

The really nauseating thing about this 'who's the greenest of them all?' competition, though, is the sheer inefficacy of any of their proposals.

David Miliband's claim that he will lead China and India to see the error of their ways is not only patronising, it is simply incredible. It is like an ant believing it can lead a charge of elephants.

If China continues to build power stations at its present rate, within a couple of years, it will be emitting more greenhouse gas than has ever been produced in the history of the human race. In 2005 alone, it produced the equivalent of all the power plants in Norway and Sweden.

Britain and the United States became, in their day, world superpowers by the building up of huge industrial might.

In so doing, they made themselves rich, and this wealth had a hugely beneficial effect upon the lives of the great majority of its citizens, including those who worked in industry.

On the other side of the coin, of course, we all know that the great industrial towns of the North of England, for example, were major pollutants of the atmosphere, that many workers in coal mining, steel-manufacture or the potteries led miserably short lives, their lungs choked and the countryside all around them wrecked.

The Chinese and the Indians are now undergoing their great industrial revolution.

How dare the rich nations, they ask, turn greenest competition, inefficacy that to not simply ant of build present it greenhouse been the it all and States world up so themselves a upon of who coin, the example, the workers manufacture led their countryside Indians great dare turn round and accuse them of polluting the planet when the countries of Al Gore (with his energy-consuming mansion) and David Cameron (one of the mostst privileged men in Western politics) are now basking in the effects of 'their' phase of pollution?

This is the really major problem facing the world today. It is one which Gordon Brown with his pathetic compost heap, or David Cameron, with his threat to tax holiday flights, can do nothing to prevent.

If they tried to cost a programme of aid which would, for example, compensate India for adopting a 'green' industrial policy, and in the unlikely event of it wanting to accept such a patronising proposal, the burden on the British taxpayer would be immense.

Punitive So, of course, Miliband, and Brown, and Cameron and Campbell all prefer to mouth 'green' platitudes about changing the light bulbs.

The only end result, while the great industrial revolution of the East darkens the skies over China and India, is that Western politicians will be able to boss us about just a little bit more.

As with their punitive attack on smokers, they will make us all feel guilty for driving our cars, and they will enjoy the idea of meaningless legislation.

The true mantra of all politicians is not the one which Tony Blair must wish he never said about education.

It is 'legislation, legislation, legislation'.

But will it make a ha'penny worth of difference to the great world outside Westminster? We all know the answer to that.

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