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This has the makings of a disaster

Zak Goldsmiths selected as a prospective Tory MP, satire is dead!

Ugh. Why do we continually pander to the stuff spouted by the likes of Goldsmith? Ms. Widdecombe is right - as is Bjorn Lonborg - there are better things to spend our time/effort on than trying to "tackle" climate-change.

This whole "green" agenda is part of the Post-Normal

Is this a sick joke? The Telegraph article headline is to let the the free market fight climate change. Yet all Goldsmith proposes is a shift in taxation and more regulation.

He uses the Stern Report as evidence for his argument. Yet the Stern Report was debunked by Nigel Lawson.

Goldsmith ignores the genuine free market environmental policies that have been proposed by think tanks in the United States.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute was attacked by Peter Ainsworth for attacking Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" which has been exposed as a series of lies and distortions by leading climate scientists.

Goldsmith has no scientific or environmental qualifications. He just fritters his inheritance of hundreds of millions on the loss-making Ecologist magazine.

What this article really argues for is for a bunch of trust funded Old Etonians and Bullingdon Club members to tell hard working families how to spend their money and live their lives, e.g. which cars to drive.


I agree with everything he says here. In my garden in December the rosebush was in bud. The question for me is not whether solar flares or carbon emissions caused global warming, but whether carbon emissions now will accelerate it. Like the way Goldsmith is phrasing his arguments in proper Conservative economic terminology, and how he exposes Gordon Brown's financial hypocrisy on attacking Cameron on air taxes given his passenger duty grab. Equally encouraging is the clear statement that green taxes will replace taxes elsewhere, leaving the burden neutral. It is of course our policy to cut taxes as soon as we are able to do so, to share the proceeds of growth.

I have never met Zac Goldsmith, but I find him increasingly impressive. He went for Richmond Park and he will win that seat.

I fear it could be this Green claptrap that finally drives me away from Project Cameron. If (and, in my view, it's a pretty big IF) human activity contributes in any significant way to global warming, then the only significant step the UK can make to countering it is to develop a predominantly nuclear power generation programme. Otherwise, as Ann Widdecombe rightly says, it really is a sugar cube in Loch Ness.

Evidently a few posters need to re-read Economics 101. If climate change is as a result of man-made CO2 (which is, admittedly, a dispute in itself) then it is entirely consistent to tax CO2 emissions. Climate change is self-evidently a negative externality - the Maldives going underwater has no direct economic impact on me, but my CO2 emissions have an impact on them - so taxes need to be adjusted to realise the social cost of that CO2 being emitted.

Taxing CO2 emissions is entirely consistent with standard market theory, in much the same way as it is entirely rational to tax tobacco (since it leads to health problems which are subsequently burdened on the NHS).

Whether it's politically desirable or wise is, of course, another matter...

Zac's opposition to nuclear power suggests to me that he's out of step with most Tory members but it will help him with LibDems in Richmond.

Providing he remains merely the face of Green Conservatism then all is well. Behind the scenes the plans for nuclear power can be developed.

And what are Zac Goldsmith's credentials for talking about the environment with authority....other than a large trust fund, time on his hands and former membership of the Bullingdon Club? Gordon Brown's minions must be relishing this one.

"Climate change is self-evidently a negative externality - the Maldives going underwater has no direct economic impact on me, but my CO2 emissions have an impact on them - so taxes need to be adjusted to realise the social cost of that CO2 being emitted."

Or one can adopt the libertarian free-market position of applying the law of tort and allow the people of the Maldives to sue whoever is reponsible. If they can prove that certain countries are predominantly responsible for global warming in a court of law and that those countries should have foreseen what their actions would have had on the Maldives then the responsible countries should by all means pay up. No need for taxation or state regulation at all.

'Ugh. Why do we continually pander to the stuff spouted by the likes of Goldsmith?'

eer - could it because people in the wider world (ie those who don't use ConHome on a daily basis)are scared about climate change, concerned about the state of our fragile planet and and to have any chance of getting elected we need to engage with this very large group of people. Just a thought.

My grandfather had to doff his cap to the aristocracy who owned the mine in the pit village where he lived at the turn of the twentieth century. Now one hundred years later we have to defer to the new religion that the rich men's sons have found.
My family have voted Conservative for decades because the Tory party and my family moved into the same common ground, a property owning democracy whose leaders went to Grammar schools and grew up over grocer's shops.
If we are now to be lectured at by bored rich boys who have never had to work for a living then that feeling of mutual respect will be dispelled.

"The question for me is not whether solar flares or carbon emissions caused global warming, but whether carbon emissions now will accelerate it. " Tory T

Sorry Tory T, that is exactly the issue, because to accept that carbon is the cause, demands that carbon externalities be taxed.

Renny, the Aztecs believed that without regular blood sacrifices to the Sun God, the sun would not rise again. So following your logic, had David Cameron and Zac Goldsmith been running for office in Mexico in 1520, they should have proposed even more human sacrifice so as to "engage with this very large group of people?" Knowing them, I am sure that they would have done.

Has it ever crossed your mind that politicians might offer us some leadership rather than just pandering to the hysteria of the left?

No, one need not accept that carbon is the cause. One need only accept that whatever the cause, carbon is making the problem worse to a dangerous extent.

Renny is absolutely right about what most people, voters, think on this. Remember ICM recently? Showed a huge "greening" of thought in Britain? Remember the superb "vote blue go green" PPBs right before the May '05 locals, where they were devastatingly effective?

Might I light-heartedly suggest a little smelling of the FairTrade coffee?

I am a convert to the dangers of climate change. I hate everything that smacks of hippies etc. But I can quite simply no longer ignore what is happening to the planet. In late November I visited New York on business and it was t-shirt weather. For those of you who know the US, that is quite striking.

What are we doing with this poor little rich boy. Selecting him for Richmond Park, where his ma lives, is almost feudal.
His father set out to found his own party, tried to create an estate in Mexico, and led a colourful life. Frankly old man Goldsmith and his Cavenham Foods of yore had a distinct odour of the fishmarket.
Allying yourself to someone like Zac is an own goal, he is a spoilt little brat, who has never had to do a proper job and has been able to indulge himself at the expense of others.
A pox on him and others of his ilk.

I support Goldsmith, both personally and in terms of most aspects of which I am aware of the green agenda. But wouldn't it be more constructive for those who don't, to engage with the arguments (as some have done, but real evidence rather than just counter-assertion would be more illuminating) rather than indulge in personal abuse of a fellow Conservative, which seems often to be based on little more than jealousy of his wealth and background? Since when has it been a Conservative virtue to be poor or, if you are rich, not to use that freedom to seek to serve others through public life?

If, as George Hinton suggests, it is feudal to stand in the seat where your mother lives (and where he was brought up I think, or very nearby), then presumably every other local candidate is feudal?

It's almost as pathetic as the Channel 4 prog last night on Cameron.

"Frankly old man Goldsmith and his Cavenham Foods of yore had a distinct odour of the fishmarket."

"What are we doing with this poor little rich boy."

I can't work out for the life of me if you are more contemptuous to the rich or to the poor. Neither is a Tory attitude.

Some of the commenters on here are really playing the man and not the ball, and I do wonder if any of them have ever listened to Zac, or even met the man.

Londoner, why is it pathetic to deplore the fact that the upper echelons of the Conservative Party are in danger of reverting to 1930's type: a closed club of well-connected patricians many of whom are insulated from ordinary people's concerns by vast inherited wealth and who seem to have one rule for doling out jobs to themselves and a different rule for everybody else? Many people started voting Conservative in the 1960's and 1970's when it began hesitantly to show some recognition of the need for social mobility and meritocracy. Does that trend offend you?

As for the "real evidence" that you crave on the environment, the climate has fluctuated for millions of years. If carbon emissions are the main driver of climate change, why did the climate warm up so much in the Middle Ages and drop noticeably in the Tudor period? I don't say that I have all the answers (nor do honest scientists) but less intellectual arrogance from the Al Gore Admiration Society would not come amiss.

Evidently a few posters need to re-read Economics 101.

Yes Alex......

However Taxation is to raise Revenue and that is its sole purpose.

To listen to your idea that Taxation is how the Governmenmt directs the economy to ends it chooses, is to lose sight of Liberty and the Free Market.

Next you will want VAT on houses to bring house prices under control; CGT on house sales; VAT on Credit Card Bills; VAT on Fines; Council Tax per m2 of housing space;

Economics 101 is American - go back and read Colbert

"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing"

Michael, well said (as usual).

You can add the decisive argument, namely that there is (proven, unlike on Earth) global warming on Mars: it is an inevitable thing for a planet.

on little more than jealousy of his wealth and background?

Both his grandfathers were Tory MPs (as was Cameron's grandfather) which seems to be a qualification; his father was an asset-stripper and serial adulterer. That aside the wealth of Frank Zacharias Robin Goldsmith is inherited and is c £300 million.

He used to support UKIP apparently.

Michael McGowan's concern is valid - and Labour can easily portray a revived Cliveden Set - after all Cameron is related to some of the original members

Michael MacGowan was wrong. Zac Goldsmith was not a Bullingdon Club member. He has not, as far I as I know, even been to university.

Tory T should note that the reason that many on the posters who criticise Goldsmith are not anti-rich. His proposed policies are anti-wealth creation. They will damage the competitiveness of British business and the nation's economy. Zac Goldsmith could seriously damage your wealth.

Goldsmith has no academic qualifications or professional experience to justify his exalted position as the Conservative environment policy expert. He has merely used his father's wealth to fund his ego trip of a magazine.

The Party should listen instead to Iain Murray, a contributor to this site, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He has debunked the nonsense in the Stern Report and Al Bore's scaremongering Z movie.

Apologies to Zac Goldsmith if I incorrectly described him as a former member of the Bullingdon Club.

Apologies to Zac Goldsmith if I incorrectly described him as a former member of the Bullingdon Club.

According to Wikipedia, "Zac enrolled at Eton College but was expelled at the age of 16 when marijuana was discovered in his room. Goldsmith claims it wasn't his.[51] He earned 4 A Levels from a Cambridge sixth-form college[52] before leaving England to travel."

Oh dear! Jorgen, I hope that "Frank" put his expulsion from Eton. and the reason on his candidates application form.

You can be sure that it will included in Susan Kramer's local newsletters and election literature.

While describing George W Bush as a "criminal" might well be a vote winner I'm not sure that it is going to help much in rebuilding the special relationship.

What special relationship?

Presumably the one that got us out of a hole in 1917, 1941 and 1982. Try your luck with Putin, Iran or the Chinese, Justin, if you think you will fare better.

I saw the headline and wondered who it was referring to until I clicked.

One of the useful things about this thread is that it has brought to our attention, in distilled form, all the malice, venom and hate that lurks at the bottom of the pond.

In my opinion, it's perfectly legitimate to question the science behind climate change policy (as our Editor does) but the level of rancour and demented class hatred on display here today would make even Socialist Worker blush:

"poor little rich boy. Selecting him for Richmond Park, where his ma lives, is almost feudal....he is a spoilt little brat" - George Hinton

"He has merely used his father's wealth to fund his ego trip of a magazine" - No Green Taxes

"other than a large trust fund, time on his hands and former membership of the Bullingdon Club" - Michael McGowan

"If we are now to be lectured at by bored rich boys" - mark

Who ARE these sour inadequates? Are they really members of our great Party? No one should be given a prominent position in the Conservative firmament because of an accident of birth but Zac Goldsmith has used his inheritance to build up and edit a highly regarded environmental magazine, contribute to many good causes (some of which even climate change sceptics would applaud) and support Conservative candidates. Now he has decided to fight a Lib Dem seat on behalf of the Party.

I think those who are raging against him in such a Scargill-esque manner should seek medical help as they clearly have problems with anger-management and self-esteem.

Whilst I think all this environmental stuff is load of hot air, at least Goldsmith's father did a bit for euro-scepticisim.

No Zacharias was not in Bullingdon nor was he at Oxford. However it was Sir Jams who funded his brother Edward and his magazine The Ecologist; Zacharias took over when he had funds from Sir Jams to continue the venture.

No need to have Bullingdon when your family owns nightclubs and casinos and you don't have to trudge up to Manchester

There is no doubt the Cameron leadership has alienated many former loyal Conservative voters; I think many of the latter were prepared to put up with a patrician Tory Party
so long as it went through the motions of representing their concerns and interests. They now feel that unspoken understanding has been broken and accordingly no longer need doff their caps to and agree with everything their privileged betters do and say. Simple really.

Yes, Dr "Raj Persaud", I am fully paid up member of the Conservative Party and have been for 30 years. Perhaps you can confirm whether Zac campaigned AGAINST the Conservative Party candidate in Putney in 1997.

The "pond life" on this site are those who belief that we should abandon traditional values and Conservative principles. They expect us to worship these trust funded "modernisers" (e.g. Gideon Osborne) and "environmentalists" (e.g. Frank Goldsmith) who who want to increase our taxes and tell us how to live our lives.

Zac Goldsmith is going to win us many more votes than he will lose and will add to the debate. All the attacks on his background are rather petty, and Susan Kramer will have to do better than refer to his youth to hold on to Richmond. The attacks haven't worked on Cameron and they almost certainly won't work on Goldsmith.

Mr Persaud, judging by your last paragraph, you should take the plank out of your own eye before you take the speck out of mine.

I have no problem with Zac Goldsmith being rich or being a PPC. Even after ten years of Blair, it's more or less a free country. I do have a problem with him using his wealth to make ordinary striving people less rich in deference to political dogma dressed up as dodgy science.

Because I believe in meritocracy and social mobility (did Arthur Scargill?), I also take exception to the jobs-for-the-boys culture at the top of the Tory Party, which as David Aaronovitch notes in today's Times, resembles the cast of Brideshead Revisited in open-necked shirts.

I am proud to say that I am not a member of your Party which may have been great in the past but most certainly is not now.

Lots of love

"Sour inadequate"

I suspect Andrew Woodman is right. The spin inspired Tories are riding high in the polls and time's pendulum has probably swung so far away from Labour that bar an almighty cock up, the Tories should win their buggins turn at the next election. That does not mean the Tories will deserve to win or will do what is right for the country. We have ten years of New Labour as evidence for that proposition.

Well said Michael. Nil desperandum...

If it is any succour to the Cameroons' most ardent supporters, I doubt if they care what small c conservative critics of them or their policies(?).

I have to say I have no qualms about giving Zac Goldsmith a high-profile role viz. Conservative environment policy, but I am concerned about the continued invisibility of our official spokesman Peter Ainsworth, who seems to have been completely overshadowed by Goldsmith, John Gummer and David Cameron.

By the way, some of the inverted snobbery displayed by contributors to this thread is a disgrace.

As a resident of Richmond, but thankfully not Richmond Park I will at least not have the poor little rich boy imposed on me.
Zac has attempted to carve a niche for himself, without the necessry educational standards to stand as a credible pundit. He has used his wealth to start a magazine and has continued using his wealth to insinuate himself into political circles.
I have no sour grapes, or envy of riches, or the idea of a silver spoon and position, education, network being the route to influence, but, do wonder where the idea and practice of meritocracy has gone, that seemed to be promoted by the party.
If Zac wants to be a pundit let him sit on the side-lines and burble away, Global Warming is not a given, if he wants to be an MP, either found his own party or stand as an independant.
Many in Richmond Park will associate the name Goldsmith with privilege and a life style that leaves a lot to be criticised. Susan Kramer the American born Lib-Dem incumbent will have a field day.

Peter is my MP and a very hard-working one, even though I disagree with him on a number of matters. I have heard that he is a very dedicated shadow cabinet member. His invisibility probably has a lot to do with the fact that generally speaking, Cameron and his inner circle have focussed all the limelight on themslves. The shadow cabinet generally lacks visibility.

Criticisng the backscratching that goes one among closed elites is not inverted snobbery. Its meritocracy.

"inverted snobbery"; what a joke!

What happended to the old Daniel VA? This "new" version has turned into a Camerloony.

My criticism of "Frank" Goldsmith is that he has no qualifications or real life experience to justify his high profile policy role. He owes his position to his membership of the Old Etonian club that dominates the frontbenches and CCHQ.

All I want is a return to the meritocracy that was a key feature of the Party under Thatcher and Major. Dave and Gideon take off their old school ties in public but they will be quick to put them back on when visiting Whites.

The fact is that the trust funded Notting Hillbillies can afford higher and greener taxes. The less privileged cannot.

As so very often, Mr McGowan puts it better than the rest of us.

I always thought that the Labour Party was the natural home of envy and class hatred but it seems that are own ranks are not immune.

I would ask those who seem to object to Goldsmith's background, why shouldn't a wealthy person seek to become an MP? Can a rich man do anything more about the background he was born into than a poor man? And is it not the duty of the rich to use their privilege to give something back to society?

As for the environment (which is allegedly what this thread is about), whether or not one agrees that man is responsible for climate change, it has to be conceded that it is a distinct possibility and that it is therefore a respectable opinion to hold. Perhaps the hysterical people on here weren't reading the same article that I was, which did not speak about raising the overall burden of taxation or of clobbering businesses or the poor. There was nothing there that could be construed as "un-Conservative".

Tribal Tory: considering the general and not the specific, I do not think conservatives are motivated by envy or class hatred. Tories are not small minded; they believe in freedom and merit and they are not stupid. Just like anyone else they do not like thinking they are being taken for granted or worse.

I do not care how much money these people have or how they got it but I do object when they deny me and mine a decent standard of living that I worked to attain. I did a proper job, entailing many skills and had to take responsibility for my work. These clowns do not know the meaning of the word. I have, over many years mixed with all conditions of man and I must say that this bunch, Cameron, Osborn and now Goldsmith are not gentlemen in any way shape or form. All they have is money and an attitude.

I share the view that many of the comments on this thread have descended into simple personal abuse.

I hope many of the posts are from Lib Dem trolls. Personally, I have never met a Conservative member or voter who would be that rude to someone to their face.

Or maybe the anonymity of the Internet changes the behaviour of normally polite Tories?

No, Benet. I think you are wrong. What I think has happened is that many Tories are angry because their leaders do not seem to them particularly conservative or interested in their interests. That is, they appear to have little in common and wonder if they ever did.

We need to support Ken Clarke. Goldsmith may or may not be a smart idea politically, but it is imperative that Clarke act as a counter balance to Goldsmith to ensure the nuclear revival goes ahead.

I have not problem with what he said in the quotes above though. In fact, it was quite good.

I hope the LibDems hold Richmond Park though otherwise we'd no doubt have to deal with Environment Minister Goldsmith. A truly discomforting notion.

What a rubbish thread. Attack Zac Goldsmith for his ideas if you want not for the fact that his father was a wealthy man. Remember he wasn't imposed on the Conservative party he was chosen by a constituency in a free and fair election.

As regards, "Personally, I have never met a Conservative member or voter who would be that rude to someone to their face." Absolutely amazing.

I am thinking of buying a property on the south-west coast. can Zac tell me whether I would be at any (more) risk there or in Richmond?

The Lib Dems wont hold Richmond Park - and Zac will be a great addition to the Tory benches.

Some of the comments attacking an individuals character or just personal abuse or quite sad.

Ive first met Zac 10 years ago - and whilst he certainly moves in different social circles to someone like me who comes from Chesterfield - so what? You might not like his views on the environment and that is fine. So debate the environment. I can only think personal attacks are being made by those who really dont want the party to win.

Oh yes bill1215, clearly you are angry. But isn't it best that anger should be controlled? That comments should be moderated when one's blood is boiling?

There is little question that lots of these comments would be considered rude (I think they are rude). It is no defence to make them simply because you are angry.

Also, I am serious about face-to-face rather than online. In all my years campaigning (which I am sure are fewer than many on this board) I have only encountered polite Conservatives. Am I really alone in this?

Malcolm, we know that he was selected openly for the seat. Fine. Good luck to him. The point is that there is a whole succession of rich and well-connected friends of the leadership who enjoy a fairly effortless glidepath into plum positions (he is by no means the worst - think Cameron and Osborne) while lots of other long-serving footsoldiers get shafted. This is 19th century High Tory backscratching. A grammar school boy like you should have no truck with it.

Michael - come on - is fighting a Lib Dem held seat a plum position?

Malcolm wrote "Remember he wasn't imposed on the Conservative party he was chosen by a constituency in a free and fair election."

It was not fair. Only those on the Priority List were allowed to apply to Richmond Park.

The final was weak. Better candidates (such as Simon Walker who was the Queen's Head of Communications) were eliminated to clear the way for Goldsmith who won easily on the first ballot.

BTW, Goldsmith did not apply when Richmond Park was first advertised. There were only three applications from the elitist Priority List.

Mr Goldsmith's reference to "Years of stealth taxes have eroded people's trust" is quite correct. Unfortunately those years started with John Major's government.

Michael, cheer-up - so much negativity is bad for the soul.

Zac Goldsmith is a vote winner. I'm sure that Lib Dem Susan Kramer's day was ruined when she found out who would be contesting her seat. There are not many Conservative candidates who could make her 7% majority look quite so slender.

Was millionaire Goldsmith a member of the infamous A list which was forced on Conservative Associations?

While some people on that list may have been carefully vetted blacks and gays it's a fair bet that there were no dustmen or dinner-ladies.

As for alleged Conservative rudeness I also have been involved in politics in the past and some of the rudest, nastiest most arrogant people I have encountered have been Tories.

Alistair thinks "it's a fair bet that there were no dustmen or dinner-ladies" on the A list. If so it is a shame. A one nation Tory Party should be inclusive in words and deeds. I've checked out some of our current MPs backgrounds and it looks like the party could do with people who have experience of real life as well as real graft.

Dustmen, dinner-ladies and Etonians should really be exceptions that confirm the rule. To get some sanity back into politics (if it ever were there), more people with real life experience are needed. I agree with Michael that meritocracy should be the criterium for candidates.

Too true Bill.

But what else can one expect from a a party dominated by millionaires and Old Etonians whose idea of fun is to smash up a restaurant and ask daddy to pay the bill.

'One Nation' is a totally outrageous lie coming from these fabulously privileged and spolt individuals who have no experience whatsoever of real life.

It's the kind of Big Lie Goebbels used to talk about. It's so gross and so totally unbelievable that people actually think it must be true. Rather like the Ministry of Truth that tells only lies or tyrannical states which call themselves 'democratic'

Cameron's party is the same old party, dedicated to making sure the majority of ordinary people are dominated by the rich and powerful.

The Goldsmith story provides further proof, if proof is needed.

I've always found my binmen charming and very helpful. I cannot, unfortunately, say the same for all the Oxford dining club elite whose paths I have crossed.

Indeed it is not only my binmen but binmen in general who have impressed.

I am glad there has been some semblance of "fight-back" on this thread after the vitriol against our PPC for this Lib Dem held seat. This was not a central appointment but one voted on in an open primary. The winner withdrew from a rock-solid safe seat in order to go for hsi local one - if it had all been about patronage he would now be sitting pretty as PPC for East Hampshire.

Further, the leader of the party was elected by a ballot of all members. One of his main (some might say few) policy platforms was environmentalism/global warming. For some of us (including me) this was a particular attraction in voting for him despite disliking some things he was saying about things like the NHS.

Viz "return to elitism" etc, this is rubbish. There is a much quoted figure that there are 13 Old Etonians on the Front Bench, but about 8 of them are Lords spokesmen. In the Commons alone the Front Bench now amounts to about 80, so we are talking of 4 others apart from Cameron. One was in the Shadow Cabinet before he was (Letwin - first appointed by grammar school boy Hague). Another is Boris Johnston - first appointed (and admittedly then sacked) by grammar school boy Howard - surely no-one suggests he is there other than by merit?

The fact is that because certain people do not like the direction of the Party - democratically chosen by very traditionalist members either nationally or in Richmond Park - they come up with all this class hatred rubbish.

What I think would be really helpful (which this thread isn't) would be for the Editor to commission two really serious articles from two scientists in the field with communication skills, one from each side of the debate but within the moderate spectrum, so that we can all start to understand what the key scientific issues and evidence on global warming and its causes are. I suspect most of us on each side have taken up a position on other than purely scientific grounds (for instance, I have been concerned about harm to the environment well before global warming came to the fore). These basic rational building blocks of the terms of the debate often just don't seem to be there.

Mark Fulford wrote "Zac Goldsmith is a vote winner. I'm sure that Lib Dem Susan Kramer's day was ruined when she found out who would be contesting her seat. There are not many Conservative candidates who could make her 7% majority look quite so slender."

That shows how little Mark Fulford knows about Richmond Park constituency. We may have lost the council in 2006 but that was due mainly to a dreadful result in Twickenham. We did well in the Richmond Park wards (especially in the wards in Kingston borough) with a swing of OVER 7%.

Any decent candidate should be able to boot out the obnoxious Kramer. The opinion polls are more favourable now so Zac Goldsmith should with a majority of over 3000. That is the standard by which he should be measured.

Londoner appears to be attempting to shed some light on this debate which is good. And no less than the leadership itself has sought to make the parliamentary party more representative. And because you cannot know how to get somewhere without knowing where you are now, it would be great if we knew more about current MPs and candidates. Then we might be able to discern how representative of voters the parliamentary party is and is likely to be.

Only in this way can the party go broader, faster and deeper. LOL.

I really liked Goldsmith (James, that is)

I find it bizarre how many on this website claim that there is no point in doing anything becaus their actions won't make a difference ... this is conservativehome, the home of the individual which in almost every other subjcts states how individuals are the change makers ... it is just bizarre.

London calls for two papers from "serious" scientists on each side of the debate.

That pre-supposes there are two serious sides to the debate. In fact, as Zac says in his article, there is pretty much a scientific concensus on the relationship between human activity and climate change.

That said, I would be delighted to read a paper from a respected scientist who differs from this. I stress a scientist, and not the much loved Nigel Lawson or Ruth Lea. I would also propose that the paper be properly peer-reviewed, published in a respectable journal, and not subsequently shown to be incorrect.

As an act of faith, I will go first.

I suggest everyone reads the recent IPCC Summary for Policy Makers published in Feb 2007:

The man is not a conservative.

I believe Benet is correct. I think Nigel Lawson, like Dave Cameron, took a first in PPE. And I am all for a scientific approach (if not necessarily grant hungry scientists) towards everything not just man based climate change. Its a shame the ardency for science which some of the climate doomsters proclaim goes out of the window when there are other issues at stake. Then suddenly science goes out the window. Which is one reason I have so
little respect for so many of the CO2 doomsters.

I said Michael, that Zac Goldsmith won a free and fair election because that is exactly what he did. I 'm no fan of the A list but there were plenty of easier seats that Goldsmith could have applied for and there were plenty of other A listers and locals of varying backgrounds that could have applied for this seat but chose not to.
Richmond Parker, (very brave of you to post under a pseudonym) the fact that Simon Walker and others were eliminated is the choice/fault only of those executive members of that Constituency Association. I suggest you turn your fire on them .

Malcolm fails to address the points that I raised in response to his earlier post. Richmond Park is very winnable.

In fact, I did turn my fire on the association officers. Prior to the selection meeting, a fellow activist was lobbied on Goldsmith's behalf by a senior association officer.

Malcolm, and others, assume that Goldsmith would have secured a safe seat with ease. I can only assume that he has detailed knowledge (and a poor view) of the other candidates who applied for East Hampshire, the only other seat that Goldsmith applied for. East Hampshire has seen significant swings to the Lib Dems in recent general elections and is not the plum seat that it appears.

Other Priority Listers were threatened with removal if they failed to apply for few seats. There is one rule for some and another rule for the CCHQ favourites.

As a doctor and health planner, we are expected to practice "evidence based" medicine and planning (when allowed to by the Department of Health!!). This "evidence base" should be the basis on which we set all policy decisions. The excellent work by IDS on social exclusion has looked at the evidence of the problem, and is now working on the solutions.
We should apply the same principles to climate change. The jury is still out, it is clear, with apparently sensible arguments being laid out on both sides. We clearly need to apply the precautionary principle and take this seriously, and try to gather more evidence, and take sensible pragmatic steps in case it is true. However, we should not become hysterical from either perspective.
The thing I hate about political correctness is the refusal to listen to the other person's argument because it somehow upsets people's sensibilities, and stifling public debate. Tories should never stifle debate by shouting the other side down. We need to listen to BOTH sides of the argument, and act in a pragmatic, and sensible way, not shouting the other side down because we have a gut reaction against it (either as climate change deniers, or fanatics). The same I think applies to nuclear power.
From a pragmatic point of view:
1. Insulating homes = saving money.
2. Oil reserves will run out at some point (estimates vary).
3. Being over-dependent on the middle east or Russia for our energy is not strategically sensible.
4. Reducing pollution, congestion is better for quality of life & health.
5. If global warming is really happening, best to be researching alternatives and at the forefront of the science, and prepared (within reason).

Well said Rachel.

I have nothing against Goldsmith's background but unfortunately it does leave him open to criticism when he advocates policies that he can afford the consequences of while others can't. That doesn't mean that those policies are necessarily wrong (the rich will always be hit less hard than the poor) but that it leaves him open to criticism of being out of touch. And when it comes to taxing the working class off of aeroplanes it could potentially be very sensitive.

I have no knowledge whatsoever of East Hampshire 'Richmond Parker' nor do I have any idea whether Goldsmith could have easily secured another safe seat. The fact that he was chosen by the executive and association members of the Richmond Park constituency association is unarguable. Your attempt to deny that is rather pathetic if I may so.

It is Malcolm who is pathetic.

I have not attempted to deny anything. I just pointed out that my constituency was not allowed to choose from the entire Approved List - as was the case until the Priority List restriction was introduced.

The selection process was not open - the Priority List (i.e. Shireen Ritchie's cronies in Kensington, Wimmin2Win, CCHQ staffers etc) received preferntial treatment.

Goldsmith did not apply when the seat was first advertised so his commitment is rather recent. He has campaigned against official Conservative candidates (like "Green" Hilton) in the past.

Malcolm's transformation from independent poster to fawning Camerloon sychophant is very revealing. Perhaps he has applied to be a candidate.

"In late November I visited New York on business and it was t-shirt weather. For those of you who know the US, that is quite striking."

This is the sort of unscientific statement which is bedevilling the whole discussion. Is it reasonable to take up a position on this from one's own experience on a single day?

If you had been in Perth this week you might have had a totally different perspective?

"On Tuesday morning Perth had a minimum temperature of 6.3 degrees. This was their coldest morning this early in the year since records began 110 years ago. These cold temperatures are expected to continue on Wednesday, and may get even cooler."


FACT: The recent max global temperature was reached in 1998

FACT: There has been no trend in warming since 2001


I just wonder how much longer this will have to continue before the likes of Mr Goldsmith will start to back away from their belief that CO2 is the cause of the warming.

Rachel Joyce has uttered more sense about the environment in one posting than the whole cavalcade of climate change cassandras who want to use the environment as a pretext to hike our taxes and curtail our freedoms.

Can someone explain to me why Zac Goldsmith is such an authority on the environment apart from the fact that (a) he thinks he is; (b) he has the hear of the Tory Party leadership; and (c) he has the time and personal wealth to found a magazine devoted to the subject?

ONG, can you point me to a scientific paper, peer reviewed, published in a respectable journal, and not subsequently shown to be incorrect which supports your case? (Please see my posting of yesterday afternoon at c. 1800). I am not sure such a paper exists.

As Rachel Joyce points out, there are pragmatic benefits to preparing for climate change.

But why people insist on shouting that there is massive scientific doubt, when there is not, is simply beyond me.

Do you complain that scientists ALL believe the earth is round? Or that differential air pressures allow planes to fly? Or that penicillin helps fight infections? What is your attitude to creationism as a theory for explaining the history of the planet?

Let's leave science to the scientists. We should be debating what we do about it.

Point 1: In 1974, Newsweek magazine called for the polar icecaps to be painted black, urgently, to warm up the planet and save us from the impending ice-age. It never appeared.

Point 2. This long, but interesting post turned up on a BBC chatroom recently, and I reproduce it verbatim below:
85. At 12:57 PM on 19 Oct 2006, John Finn wrote:
It’s no good – enough is enough. I can’t listen to any more drivel on ‘climate change’ from programmes like Newsnight. It was bad enough when they were simply urging the government or somebody or other to act, like some latter day King Canute, to “stop”, “tackle” or “combat” Climate Change. More recently though, we’ve been fed regular slots featuring some imbecile called “ethical man” and his crackpot wife, but Tuesday night really plumbed the depths. I am referring to the ‘debate’ between some token presence from the aviation industry and what appeared - from the level of his argument- to be a particularly bolshie 10 year old. It was chaired by Jeremy Paxman who’s clearly getting madder by the day. None of the three participants had the faintest idea what they were talking about. At some point. Paxman asked what must be the stupidest question ever which went something like “Why should millions of Africans die just because ‘we’ want to travel abroad on holiday?” What!!. Where on earth does this come from? I can only assume from some study with the usual plethora of ‘could bes’, ‘may bes’ and ‘up tos’. There is actually good reason to believe that Africa would, for reasons I’ll go into later, be one of the least affected regions in the world in the event of CO2-enhanced global warming. But first, for the benefit of the 10 year old, here is a brief background to the “Science”.

The earth warms due to the incoming solar radiation it receives from the Sun. It cools by convection, evaporation and by emitting Infra-Red (outgoing Long Wave) radiation from the earth’s surface. If the earth receives more radiation than it gets rid of – it warms up. If it gets rid of more than it receives - it cools down. Over the long term the Incoming is broadly equal to the Outgoing, implying that the earth’s mean temperature is more or less stable though there are millions of factors which, over hugely different time-scales, can disturb this state.


Without the so-called greenhouse effect the earth would absorb and emit energy at a mean temperature of –18 degrees C. This is 33 degrees C lower than the current mean global temperature of around 15 degrees C. To put this in perspective, global temperatures during the last Ice Age were around 5 or 6 degrees lower than they are to-day. In other words. the greenhouse effect is absolutely essential for the continuation of human life. So how does it work?

The earth’s atmosphere includes a number of gases – i.e. the ‘greenhouse’ gases – which warm the atmosphere by absorbing some (around 73%) of the IR radiation which is emitted from the earth’s surface. The most abundant and dominant greenhouse gas is water vapour though, because it’s individual molecules are short-lived in the atmosphere, many scientists refer to water vapour as a feedback. Other greenhouse gases include Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane plus smaller quantities of N2O, Ozone ..etc. It might seem reasonable, therefore, to think that any increase in CO2 concentrations could cause the earth to warm. But there are a couple of key questions here, i.e. does it and more importantly by how much. It might be useful here to use an analogy (not mine thanks Richard C.) to illustrate a crucial point. Imagine you are shining a torch. Now cover the torch beam with a sheet of paper. The paper will absorb some of the light and reduce the brightness of the beam. Keep covering the beam with sheets of paper until the light can no longer be seen. At this point covering the torch will have no further effect. All the light will have been absorbed (to the naked eye, at least). Now back to the CO2 increase. As we have previously implied CO2, as a greenhouse gas, can absorb IR radiation – but not all IR radiation. CO2 only absorbs in a narrow band about a peak absorption wavelength of 15 microns (wavenumber : 667 per cm). If we look at plots of the earth’s radiance emission and GHG absorption, it’s quite clear that the CO2 absorption band is already at (or very close to) ‘saturation’ point. That is, all the IR radiation which can be absorbed by CO2 is already being absorbed by the existing GH gases in the atmosphere or to refer back to our analogy we’ve already covered the torch with enough sheets of paper to prevent any light shining through.

When atmospheric CO2 concentrations were at pre-industrial levels (around 280 ppm), in the first 100m of the atmosphere (See Dr Jack Barrett’s paper at http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/barrett_ee05.pdf), the earth’s emitted radiance was apportioned as follows;

72.9% was absorbed by GH gases; 22.5% escaped through the IR window (i.e. that region which is outside the GH gas absorption bands); leaving a remaining 4.6% for absorption in the next layer.

Doubling CO2 concentrations (to 560 ppm) alters the ratio as follows:

73.4% absorbed by GH gases; 22.5% escapes through the IR window (i.e. that region which is outside the GH gas absorption bands); leaving a remaining 4.1% for absorption in the next layer.

This is an increase of 0.5% absorption of total radiance (in the lower 100m). Bearing in mind that 73% absorption equates to a temperature increase of 33 deg C it’s hard to see how doubling CO2 can possibly result in an increase of any more than a few tenths of a degree.

I can well imagine some of the better informed readers will be pointing out that the reported rise of 0.6 degrees in the past century is already more than a “few tenths of a degree”. Others might want to draw attention to the much larger increases being forecast by IPCC modellers. If I have tine and can be bothered I’ll deal with both these issues (failing that I’ll respond if I’m specifically asked), but I did promise a comment on Africa, so here goes

The atmosphere in the tropics, including Africa, consists of high concentrations of water vapour – the dominant greenhouse gas. The absorption bands of water vapour overlap those of carbon dioxide. Hence the addition of CO2 will not have the same impact as it might in other parts of the world. Also – radiation energy and therefore wavelength varies as a function of the temperature of the emitting body. Basically the higher the temperature – the shorter the wavelength of the emitted radiation. Peak CO2 absorption wavelengths occur at colder temperatures, i.e. in the extreme latitudes towards the poles. In a nutshell CO2 should, theoretically, be most effective in the cold dry regions of the Arctic and the Antarctic. Ah - I hear you cry – isn’t this exactly what’s happening. Well - Yes and No. The Arctic has certainly warmed in the past 30 years, but it has only just reached the temperatures it reached in the 1940s. Check GISS station data for confirmation. The Antarctic, on the other hand, has actually cooled over the past 3 decades. Forget what you hear about Antarctic warming. This only refers to the Antarctic Peninsula – a small finger of land which juts out into the Southern Ocean. The climate of the Antarctic Peninsula is extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in ocean circulation. The large mass of the Antarctic interior shows a definite steady cooling trend.

Right that’s all for now. But for any interested ‘layperson’ it ’s worth reading the following

Two papers by Richard Lindzen (Professor of Atmospheric Physics at MIT)

‘Global Warming: The nature and Origin of the Alleged Scientific Consensus’ and the more recent ‘Understanding Common Climate Claims’ .

Also this highly readable and hugely significant paper by Ross McKitrick

‘What is the Hockey Stick debate about’

You’ll find all 3 on the web.

FACT: The recent max global temperature was reached in 1998

FACT: There has been no trend in warming since 2001

LOL. In just the same way that a warm day in New York is not scientific evidence, nor is taking individual data points from a series of noisy data.

While your facts are both true, they don’t disprove GW. Heck, I’ll even add my own fact: There was no trend in warming between 1989 and 1997. But did that mean that GW wasn't occurring between 89 and 97? Look at the graph and you'll see the answer.

The gradient and its differential are the only things that you can sensibly read from a graph like this. How much will you bet that, with another 10 years of data, the graph won’t continue on its upward trend?

Isn't the answer Mark that neither you nor I know? I thought the big area of debate was not the fact of warming but what was causing it. The thing I liked about Rachel Joyce's post was its pragmatic tone, completely devoid of shaky apocalyptic predictions and hysterical denunciations of heretics. In particular, I agree with her that reducing our dependence on fuel supplies from the Mullahs and Putin is an excellent reason for promoting energy-efficiency.

Gospel of Enoch, in reply I give you:




If you browse around you will find rational criticism of all Lindzen's and McKitrick's work. I am still calling for a paper which has not subsequently be proven to be incorrect.

Nevertheless, I agree with more recent posts about the futility of apocalyptic predictions.

While the human race is not going to die out because of global warming, my sister-in-law's house in Eastern England could be underwater due to flooding if sea levels rise more than a tiny amount.

There are many reasons for reducing our use of fossil fuels - Rachel and Michael have even agreed on some.

But stopping climate change is one of the best reasons.

Those of you interested in this thread will also be interested in this one.

"Isn't the answer Mark that neither you nor I know?"

ONG made an argument that global warming isn’t happening. I took issue with the logic behind that argument because the data clearly shows that GW is happening.

I fully agree with you that the serious debate is over what is causing global warming, although I suspect that I err more towards “man-made” than you. My thought processes are as follows:

1. The consensus of the scientific community is that man-made CO2 plays a significant role. Future generations would see us as negligent if we ignored the weight of opinion without extremely good reason. I don’t buy the idea that these scientists are all left-leaning and kow-towing for left-leaning grants.
2. I don’t believe that reducing CO2 emissions = financial ruin. It’s not the case for the companies which have taken voluntary action and, if anything, we’ll economically benefit from leading the thinking and technology.
3. We have to balance risk and reward and, IMO, we are beyond the point where the rewards are worth the risk. There’s no point in being the king of a sunken island.
4. If GW is man-made it may be too late for us to make a difference, but that sort of defeatist thinking doesn’t take us anywhere.
5. I don’t believe that we have a chance of influencing India and China unless we have taken action ourselves. It’s a false simile to compare GW to unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Benet, the UK cannot stop climate change any more than it can stop the sun rising. It is hubris to suggest otherwise.

Mark, I am sceptical about "consensus" in the scientific community that man-made global warming plays a "significant role". That could mean 10%, 20%, 40%, 90%. Which is it? Climatology is such an imprecise science that they don't really know....and in 1550, the scientific consensus was that the Sun orbited the Earth.

Why have even the Tories been taken in by the climate change propaganda and lies? The hype is exposed almost daily.

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