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This climate change rubbish is becoming like a religon.No debate on if it is happening is allowed. And we are the Dhimmis who will have to pay the "green" taxes in order to force us to change our behaviour.

I say we fight back and reject any party that proposes higher "green" taxes.


It has long been apparent that you are with George W Bush on climate change (as with so much else). Even so, your argument that we should do nothing because China and Russia aren't doing anything, is either disingeunous or recommends self-interest to an extraordinary degree. One might say that there is nothing Britain can do, alone, on Darfur or Zimbabwe. Does that mean we should do nothing there either?

When will Cameron, Osborne, and the rest of the Notting Hill Gang stop trying to impress readers of, and commentators in, The Guardian and The Independent. There are no votes to be won here, because most of them love Brown or will waste a vote on Ming.
The average Conservative is not an eco-warrior. He and she do not understand what is happening to their party. Yes, we should all become more environmentally aware, and take recycling seriously, but proposing to raise taxes which fall disproprtionately on those on lower incomes - Tesco parking, annual holiday - is the surest way to elecoral oblivion.
However, no matter how disappointing Cameron is to traditional Tories, he is the leader of the party, and the constant rubbishing of him in these columns is doing Labour's job for them and helping halt the slide which the Lib Dems were taking.

If the press are so against the report, then Cameron will be forced to back down. His reaction to the report was pretty welcoming and those words of support could come back to haunt him. He needs the press onside to have any chance of winning power.

Another balls-up from the look of things. If we cant look like a Government, then the public will have no reason to make us the Government. We are such political patzers...

The comments about David Cameron not understanding ordinary people are potentially the most damaging.

I voted for him, support him (despite being concerned about some of the things he says and does) and continue to work for the party.

I have no problem with him having a series of old Etonians as advisors and confidantes.

BUT, he (and they) really do risk looking completely out of touch with the day to day concerns of the average person. And then people can always point to their privileged upbringing as proof of this disconnection.

The quality of life report is a case in point. Possibly some valid points raised; and yes, some quick distancing from the most contentious.

But the average person probably isn't interested in any of it. We're struggling to pay our mortgages and council tax; worried about our pensions; concerned that schools and hospitals don't seem to be materially better despite billions more in tax; possibily intimidated by crime and anti-social behaviour and a sense of uncontrolled immigration; and irritated that if we do manage to surmount these hurdles, inheritance tax may take a large slice of what we leave for our kids.

Stand up for these people Mr Cameron. Voice the concerns of the average person. Don't worry about whether you're in the centre, on the right or on the left. Communicate with ordinary people and you'll see our issues are remarkably similar.

Gareth: "One might say that there is nothing Britain can do, alone, on Darfur or Zimbabwe. Does that mean we should do nothing there either?"

I'm not sure your parallel holds, Gareth.

If Britain stops ALL emissions tmrw we won't make any difference to climate change because our efforts will very quickly be overtaken by the growth of India and China.

Unilateral interventionism can be something Britain usefully does, however. I would cite what British forces achieved in Sierra Leone.

We can also be sure that investment in clean water or anti-malaria action will save lives. We have no assurance that money spent on combating climate change will have any impact.

Has it, or is this another case of if we bash it enough on ConHom it will become a bigger story therefore doing us much damage?

It's already all over the press Scotty. It could hardly be a bigger story.

I agree with the editor's comment above.

We are looking for votes from people who would not vote for us in a million years, no matter what we promised to do on the environment. If we are to keep on the centre ground then we need to listen to the majority.

Introducing more taxes and regulations is not the Conservative way. We risk losing the core vote and not gaining the green vote either. A sort of "AND NOT" strategy.

If the Independent and The Guardian approve of these so called "Green Matters" you can bet your bottom dollar it won't do the Conservative Party any good.

I fear we are heading for a totalitarian state, which I suspect was why the Conservatives in opposition were so useless, and the Blair Government was called the best Conservative Government Britain ever had.

I agree with the editor's comment above.

I have voted for the Conservative party for over 35 years. I have come to the view over the last year that the Conservative party no longer exists. All that is left is gang of elitist liberal thinking social engineers who have hijacked the name of the party.
I will not vote Conservative at the next election and many of my friends are saying the same. The bad news for the party is that I live in one of the safest Tory seats in the country, there are signs that oblivion beckons.

Announcing proposed policies in this way has provided disaster after disaster. Thank goodness it is over and the twits that proposed the policy process need to be locked away and never allowed to control the strategy again.

Combine that with the errant silly bits in some of the green 500 page tree killer and what do we get? An electoral suicide note!

John Gummer has the political brain of an ant as he demonstrated in the burger episode. We know this, so why give him a political platform?

We will be complaining next that the media only publicise bad news, "what about the good bits". Guess what, printing bad news gets more attention. Duh.

If we are lucky Brown will not call an election this year and the sensible media experts like Coulson can take control of our activities.

The truth is we need our own version of Alistair Campbell, otherwise we are unelectable as a Govt this side of a collapse in the economy or 2014.

The Editor says "Nothing Britain does on its own will make a difference to climate change."
I agree with Gareth. Is it now the moral compass of our self-professed theo-conservative Editor that if you can't solve a problem on your own (i.e. the UK can't solve global warming alone) there's no point in doing anything? So giving to a cancer charity or Save the Children is not now recommended is it, because it's pretty useless unless a lot of other people do it too? As for voting in an election, how often has one person's vote made a difference, so let's not bother? Think I'll chuck my litter down in the street too because everyone else is doing it and it won't in itself make a noticeable difference to the neighbourhood.

One only has to think about this attitude of the Editor for a moment to realise that it is totally alien to all notions of personal and national responsibility. I hesitate to invoke the Editor's professed faith, but I cannot really see how it fits with any notion of Christianity either.

Further, how on earth will we ever have any chance of influencing international opinion if we do not show our seriousness at home? The lack of such seriousness (plus the pathetic performance of President Bush) may well be some of the principal reasons why Blair's international advocacy of action on carbon (oh, but we must all still fly around the globe like mad dervishes) has had so little effect.

There are no doubt some good points to debate about this report, but certainly not the Editor's. And since when have the editorial columns of the Sun and the Daily Express been his moral guide?

Many of us desperately want a Conservative government and soon. The Gummer/Goldsmith report is in direct opposition to that wish.

Frankly they are in the wrong party.

What a disaster. Under Cameron we're finished. The man has no political judgement. No wonder I hear of 7 anti-Cameron conservatives running in targets (4 in Cornwall alone). The number will of course rise as Cameron continues to gaffe.

Now people say 'Brown is trying to destroy us'. Of course he is, why do people realise this now? Parties always ty to destroy one another its just now we're up against someone with talent and we have a leader who lacks judgemement and is out of touch. The result: Brown looks even better than he as our leader is so bad.

The Cameroons misjudged all this from the start. It's been mistake after mistake. Pathetic.

No doubt the Camerloons will protest that the nasty right-wing press is wrong and that our friends in the Indie and Grauniad are right. The problem is that most Indie and Grauniad readers do not vote Conservative and never will. The core vote is getting a clear message from the press that Cameron is a Conservative in name only.

The polls just before party conference will make grim reading. We are facing electoral catastrophe as the core vote will stay at home rather than vote for this nonsense that Cameron pledged would form the basis of the manifesto.

Cameron is deliberately splitting the party from top to bottom. It is nothing short of factional vandalism and cannot be allowed to go on. I call upon Conservative MPs to write to Sir Michael Spicer requesting a vote of no confidence in Cameron.

"One might say that there is nothing Britain can do, alone, on Darfur or Zimbabwe. Does that mean we should do nothing there either?"

True....and you are having ZERO impact

'I call upon Conservative MPs to write to Sir Michael Spicer requesting a vote of no confidence in Cameron'. - Moral minority.

I join in with this call. I'm loyal to the Conservatives not the Cameroons. I think we need 25 names? Not sure though.

Anyone with half a brain should have realised, that letting loose the poor little rich boy and giving rein to his outlandisn fascistic-eco-tendencies would alienate support for the party.
Green taxes are inherently unfair, and in any event will never replace mainstream tax revenue sources. They represent therefore yet another layer of taxation which will hurt the middle classes and penalise the lower paid.
The Tories should be the party of low taxes and reward for hard effort, lean government and minimal red tape, committed to local control.
The quality of life is the ability to earn money and enjoy one's efforts in leisure pusuits and the acquisition of aspirational goods and services within the scope of income. It doesn't take rocket science to work that out.
Instead we get DC and all this mumbo jumbo crap.

Londoner: Our differences are, I think, practical rather than moral.

Here is essentially what I believe:

(1) I'm open to the view that climate change is real and possible man-made.

(2) The world is not prepared to do what we are told is necessary to combat climate change - look at western Europe's feeble failure to meet the Kyoto targets - targets that wouldn't make much difference anyway.

(3) Any progress will come through global development and sharing of technology - not through criticising/ controlling humanity's hunger for development and material well-being.

(4) I'm persuaded by Lord Lawson's arguments that it'll probably be easier for us to adapt to climate change and very difficult to stop it.

(5) In the meantime we should be using our wealth and political energy to do things that are morally offensive and correctable: I think of malaria infection rates, hunger, our markets being closed to third world farmers etc. All the things prioritised by Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus.

I may be wrong, Londoner, but I hope I'm as motivated by moral considerations as you.

The Editor is being pretty realistic, Londoner and I think you should give his comments more consideration than you have given him at present. Whatever Britain does is very much irrelevant because the fast growing economies of China, India and Brazil to name just three are causing far more environmental damage than we possibly could right now. Yes, lets look at what we can do to do our part to helping the environment as responsible citizens, but is a single country's crusade to change the worlds climate seriously worth it or is it cutting our own economy to do pittance for others?

We talk about freedom and choice for the individual, but when saving the environment comes into it, choice and freedom goes out of the window as the State is forced to interfere to force a social behaviourial change. Its Socialism with a green face and we should be very careful about welcoming eco-fundamentalism.

We are no longer a world power. We are now tainted (thanks to the farce in Iraq) and other countries wont listen to us anymore, nor listen to our lectures about saving the environment.

"And since when have the editorial columns of the Sun and the Daily Express been his moral guide?"

Posted by: Londoner | September 14, 2007 at 10:28

I do not believe that the editorials in the Sun or Express are the basis for the editor's morality. However I believe those editorials have a great influence on a very signicant pecentage of voters.
The Tories will arrogantly sneer or ignore them at their peril. The time for the engagement of the men in grey suits is here.

I think this policy review process has been quite good at signalling the general direction that the party wants to go in, while at the same time allowing Cameron and Co to remain fairly detached from policies that might be vote-losers (and vice versa). It is important that they take note of the negative things written about certain policies while sticking to the overall message that the Conservatives want to be the greenest mainstream party at the next election.

I think Londoner neatly sums up the flaws in your argument Tim. It was interesting to see you push the Bush line that the panacea of 'technology' will solve this problem. That really is the fig leaf of those who either can't face making the hard choices that are needed if we're to begin to face up to climate change or who just don't believe in climate change and are looking for political cover. As for other practical steps that can be taken to help the developing word, these are all rather pointless if one does nothing to prevent the climatic catastrophe heading their way, for which, of course, they have no responsibility.

Londoner, the real problem is that a lot of the proposals contained in this report are both unpopular and loopy.

Removing white lines from roads, cutting street lighting, banning plasma TVs, ending the incineration of rubbish, adopting an economic measurement that places the high point of our economy as 1974, isn't just barking, it's Dagenham.

Londoner has made some very valid points.

"As for other practical steps that can be taken to help the developing word, these are all rather pointless if one does nothing to prevent the climatic catastrophe heading their way, for which, of course, they have no responsibility."
Gareth, you make the point that I was going to highlight. How many people registered the terrible flooding in Bangladesh or India which is becoming every more frequent and devastating? To be credible on the world stage we have to take a lead and by example.

Tax Cuts, but a hawkish Foreign policy which needs to be paid for. I for one am not going to countenance my family members and others being used and abused in the armed forces any more through lack of funding by arm chair generals.

It is the tabloids that are on the money, not the Cameroons. The Cameroons called themselves modernisers and their Tory opponents dinosaurs, but it is the "modernisers" who are consistently out of touch. Wanting Cameron to be the heir to Blair was backward-looking. The soft issues they have sought to champion are often irrelevant to the electorate. The Cameroons are the authors of their own misfortune. If
they had mentally got out of the M25 they might have begun to see the error of their ways.

Editor, what happened to your much-vaunted 'politics of and'? It appears you've completely abandoned it.

To the commenters who say we are looking for votes from the Indie and Guardian who will never vote for us you are wrong.

What we are actually doing is adopting George W Bush's election strategy in large part. He showed himself as trying to woo Hispanic voters - who were always largely going to be against him - so as to make himself palatable to parts of the non-Hispanic population which felt you ought to try to get them to vote for you.

In just the same way we are being seen to target the Grauniad and the Indie so that middle-class LibDem sympathetic swing voters in marginal seats don't think we're beyond the pale. The hope is that they will either consider voting for us or at least not vote tactically against us.

Is it really impossible to have a sensible debate of this report on this blog? Many of the posts on this subject would have disgraced the letters page of Viz.

I think we will look back in a few years, and see that Cameron sought to woo a fickle public that geuninely thought it cared enough about 'green' issues as a top priority issue, and thus initially warmed to Cameron up until the point they were asked to pay the heavy price.

At this point, reality hit and the environment stopped becoming quite so important to voters.

Has this highlighted the vital flaw in focus-group politics? Chasing the fickle wind of public opinion is a losing approach.

A few extra quid in your pocket may not have the trendy appeal of hugging trees, but when faced with the choice, it is clearly a higher priority.

The problem with so much of this is that it all has the appearance of costing people lots of money whilst not demonstrating with any great clarity where that cost will be balanced by savings.

And some of the proposals will undoubtedly only be to the benefit of the better off with families on lesser incomes already struggling to make ends meet unable to afford some of these ideas. There is a strong sense of these ideas being ones which bear no relationship to the real world in which the aforementioned struggling families have to exist, having been thought of by people who do not have to worry too much about how, precisely, to make ends meet.

There is also the strong sense of the 'rag bag' about these proposals and a lack of a sense of coherence to them that I find very troubling, added to which I doubt whether the Minister for the Prevention of Unintended Consequences has been asked to cast his/her eye over them.

Is allowing ideas that are likely never to become actual policy to spill into print, onto the airwaves and into cyberspace in this somewhat haphazard way, thus creating multiple hostages to fortune, a good idea? Would it not be better for the reports to be delivered and digested with the items that become policy the only ones to see the light of day?

Most of the headlines have tended to pick on matters that, if commonsense prevails, will be strangled at birth (eg compulsory paid parking at out-of-town supermarket sites)but it is those that linger in the mind of an electorate that will have to be persuaded that voting Conservative will be a good deal for them. The good ideas get lost in the background noise.

Or is there in fact a cunning plan?

Scotty:How many people registered the terrible flooding in Bangladesh or India which is becoming every more frequent and devastating?

I did. I also noticed that Bangladesh is built on a floodplain produced by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers and that as such it always floods. I'm not sure that this flooding is more frequent, as opposed to more noticeable - there may be an Irish Famine effect taking place (the Irish Famine of 1740/1 was at least as bad as the Potato Famine of 1845/9 but hardly anyone has ever heard of it because it never made the London newspapers).

However I would concede that deforestation further up-river is probably making things worse for them. I would, of course, willingly give up the white lines down the middle of our roads if that is what it takes to persuade the Nepalis to cut down fewer trees.

Gummer thinks that 1974, when Ted Heath lost two elections, was the high-point of the British economy. He must think that the miners strike, power cuts and three day week cut harmful CO2 emissions and reduced materialism. The rampant inflation of over 20% decimated savings and tackled the nasty materialism too.

This really is a nasty and vindicative report that will hurt the poor and vulnerable. It is produced by two rich eco-fascists who hark back to the misery of the strike-ridden 1970s. The support of Friends of the Earth proves that the environental lobby (which is opposed to econimic growth and improved living standards) has hijacked Conservative policy.

The tory party is at its best when its being radical. However these policy ideas are quite simply stupid.
There was a certain wing of the party (Clarke, Heseltine et al) in the 1990's that took us from our winning Thatcherite position to opposing natural conservative position (eg why on earth did we sign Maastricht and punish the rebels?). They still haunt the party today. Using tax as a stick with which to beat people is not Conservative. We are positioning the party in a way that opposes our natural values and ideology. This was disasterous before and will be disasterous again.

We should be re-iterating the Conservative small state anti tax pro freedom ideology, rather than attempting to construct a new one. Nanny state Dave is not what modern Conservatism is about.

We're doomed I tell ya; doomed!

It's interesting that it has taken the threat of real action, from a Conservative Party in opposition, to get the papaers FINALLY talking sense on climate change.

Look, Britains emmissions are tiny compared to global energy consumption. I work in the oil industry, and if everyone in Britain lived in caves and ate raw fish, global emmissions would not alter one bit. Not even a tiny bit.

The way to tackle emmissions is through international treaties, not local taxes. Even this will lead to cheaper global oil and gas prices and.... much more consumption in non-treaty zones. Switching off your lights and tv will save you money, but I promise you it won't help tackle climate change one bit. Now, this is not the same as quality of life - we need to focus on easy changes to make Britaoin nicer to live in, international treaties to reduce emmissions that harm the atmosphere and a more frugal lifestile when it comes to waste. But les not kid ourselves that polar bears will benefit.

The lead article on Platform 10 is from someone who was involved in writing the report and now works for Greenpeace. John Gummer has been trumpeting the virtues of Greenpeace and its policies for several years.

It has been reported on this site that both Zac Goldsmith and Steve Hilton voted Green at the last general election. Goldsmith's father played a key role in bringing down the Major government.

Yet I, and other posters, have been accused by Cameroons (probably CCGH trolls) of being non-Conservatives. My "crime" is criticise policies drawn up by Green Party voters and Greenpeace supporters.

I have been a loyal member of the Conservative Party for over a quarter of a century. It is to reclaim our Conservative Party from these infiltrators. They are the Blue Green Militant Tendency.

I wonder where this magic technology that the Editor keeps talking about is going to come from. With no green taxes or changes in standards, there's no incentive to research or develop this technology.

Maybe the Editor hopes that scientists and engineers will solve it all out of the goodness of their hearts on a spare Friday afternoon...



Assuming that we want to raise taxes, isn't it better to raise them by encouraging behaviour which is good for the community and discouraging behaviour which isn't? If these announcements had been paired with a commitment to reduce income tax, I think they would gain more popular support. Companies and individuals should not be able to force the public sector to pay for their mess with our tax money.

With the proviso that we want to lower the tax burden over all, who thinks that income tax is fairer than environmental tax?

The reason for doing it is that it sets an example, and would help us become world leaders in new technology, as well as improving our local enivironment. It gives people a choice - you can still do what you want, but it's much easier to avoid tax if you want to.

I'm not sure who managed to get Cameron to hitch to this bandwagon so tightly. During the leadership hustings in 2005 in Perth he answered a question about renewable power by calling windmills "Giant Bird Blenders". I reprted that here on conservativehome.com

So who convinced him to go green. Must have been Hilton surely? Now look I've got a great deal of support for the change, the move to the centre agenda is long long overdue. I believe it will win us elections and get conservative thinking back onto track after twenty years of radical right theory (which conservative's simply don't do, at least until 20 years ago). The green agenda we are currently following is radical, impossible to predict, we can'y control it and is based on unproven theory with no understanding of the global context. I don't to radical, and neither should the Conservative Party.

If a Conservative Government were to increase green taxes and reduce income tax, who would benefit most and who would suffer most?

The people who pay a lot of tax may have an offset for the green tax rise, but those who pay little or no tax will have little or no offset.

I don't see how this can be compassionate Conservatism.

We certainly know everyone is awake today.

I don't think much, if any, of the report will get put into official policy. The strange section about how great the 1970s was certainly shocked me (have they never seen Life On Mars?), but then I looked at the small print of how this ISEW happiness measure is made up.

ISEW = Personal consumer expenditure
- adjustment for income inequality
+ non-defensive public expenditures
+ value of domestic labour
+ economic adjustments
- defensive private expenditures
- costs of environmental degradation
- depreciation of natural capital

Adjusting for income inequality is crazy, why does inequality make you unhappy? In that case, North Korea is happy? We must not become the party of envy. Having a 36 inch Plasma television but your friend having a 48 inch one shouldn't make you unhappy - if it does, sorry, but get a life. Inequality can only make you unhappy if you are either jealous (get over it) or full of self-guilt (in which case send your cheques to...).

Why does non-defensive public expenditure improve ISEW? Public spending doesn't make me happy, often the reverse. I hate waste, can't stand the Olympics (and resent paying for it), thought the Dome an eyesoar... This suggests the State spending ever greater sums of our money will make us happy, no matter what it's spent on - mad.

What exactly is value of domestic labour?

Who decides the economic adjustments?

Why does defensive private expenditure make you unhappy? Strong defense would make me happy as it improves our security. Does this include the police? Therefore no Army and no Police equals happiness? The report suggests private healthcare falls into this category?

How do you measure costs of environmental degradation or the depreciation of natural capital?

Such a complex weird formula, burried in a 500 odd page report, is - like I said yesterday - designed not to be read. The ISEW is like part of a political platform for some left wing crazy, almost like a parady. I really think much of statistics and conservatism don't mix, we are meant to be the party of individuals and when you start turning people into figures you inevitably group people and restrict outcomes. You can't measure happiness.

They may be right that money can't buy happiness (although it can certainly help), but governments can't make happiness either (although they can help by keeping out the way and not taking so much of our money).

I congratulate Mr Breaker on his excellent post.

ISEW, by definition, is an extreme socialist/communist measure. It is purely subjective and has no analytical or political value at all (unless you are a Heathite/socialist).

One can only assume that it is "borrowed" from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who appear to have had a major influence on this report.

I think Edward said it right earlier in this thread. Cameron has gone after this issue (and the NHS/public services) for the same reason that Brown has pushed hard at Britishness and immigration. Brown is trying to get the floating right-winger/centrist to vote for his lot, whereas Cameron is attempting to get the floating left-winger/centrist to vote for us. Who wins? We decide. The extremes of both parties have to hold their noses a little in order to get a certain proportion of their ideas into government. Brown is banking on our lot bottling it and staying at home (or voting for Ukip). Are you going to let him get away that easily?

Oberon - whatever Cameron may have said about windmills during the leadership election, he certainly also said that tackling climate change, and the environment generally, was a priority issue for him. As someone concerned about this issue since Mrs Thatcher raised it in 1988 (and a party member who is proud to have joined the very week she became leader in February 1975), this was an important factor for me for one in voting for him, despite disagreeing with him on matters such as the NHS. So you are quite wrong to say that Cameron has been weakly "led astray" on this issue.

Tim, thank you for your clarification as to why you think anything the UK does on this might be futile. Some of your arguments may well be valid, and I do not doubt that you have considered aspects of the moral element, but I stick by my main point that just because we cannot "solve" any particular problem on our own, that is no reason for doing nothing. Whether (a) climate change is man-influenced and (b) the particular measures in this report will do any good in counteracting that, are more difficult questions to answer. For those of us who are serious about getting the right policies, not just those which might create a blip in either direction in the opinion polls, it is a lot more constructive use of time to read the report than it is to rejurgitate chunks from the Sun and the Express. I am pleased at least that my post seemed to raise the level of debate for a while (not difficult perhaps).

Anyway I am about to print off the report (double sided printing, natch) and intend to read it over the week-end. I already know there are some aspects I like the sound of more than others but think we need to consider it as a whole. I will take a lot of convincing (for that read "pigs will sooner fly") that there was more well-being in 1975 than 1989 (if I have understood the second hand reports correctly). I suspect that's heavily influenced by the usual rubbish about equality. You really do have to be a rich man to feel comfortable when the stock market has just dropped 60% (probably because you've shorted it!) but, even so, if Zac had been around then to experience the despair of 1974/75 I do not think he would take that view.

A lot of people have commented about how this report is 'electoral suicide' and will turn off voters. Be that as it may, I think we have a more worrying issue to deal with. How on earth did Zac Goldsmith end up in such a powerful position? Let's remember, he is 32 years old, has no university degree (or any qualification on the subjects he pontificates about) and has shot to fame on the back of being rich, good looking and the son of Jimmy Goldsmith. Yet, this guy is being asked to advise on the future of the economy, the political system, technological development, planning regulations. His main experience on green issues is as the editor of a magazine that was set up by his uncle and and is as reliably disinterested as Pravda. I don't care that ZG's uber-rich - money doesn't disqualify someone from having a good opinion. I know from many people that he's also a nice guy. But so what? He's plain wrong on many things. Rather than using its brains, the party HQ has latched on to him like a schoolgirl with a crush, in a bid to boost its image. In doing so, it prioritises spin over substance.

It's not just Zac of course. I'm sure that Steve Hilton also thought it was a good idea to give Sayeeda Warsi a promotion to prove how 'sensitive' the Tories are to Muslims. But again, how on earth is she qualified to talk on community issues?

I wouldn't have any respect for an individual who was this sycophantic, much less a political party.

What we are actually doing is adopting George W Bush's election strategy...trying to woo Hispanic voters

In just the same way we are being seen to target the Grauniad and the Indie

That is an utterly ludicrous analogy.

Breaking the 'tribal' habits of Hispanic voters - who may well be conservatives, fascists, or to the right of Nick Griffin, is entirely different from vainly attempting to convince the more-or-less intellectual leftwing readers of the Guardian and Independent that Conservatives really think like them.

They may be socialists, but they aren't stupid. Anyway the sort of unity the party has displayed over the Gummer/Goldsmith report is really going to impress them, isn't it?

EML. Yes. After 20 years ok loyal Party membership, I shall be voting UKIP. I am fed up with all this eco-Nazi crap.

Dumb and Gummer's report was bad enough.
But it is Cameron's mindless rush of enthusiasm for "green" taxes, even when appraised of the electoral oblivion that awaits such taxes, that really boggles the mind.
I won't even mention Osborne and his love of the fuel tax escalator.
Cameron is not merely semi-detached, au Biffen, he is fully detached in the centre-left of a field in the middle of nowhere.

What has annoyed me with the QoL report is that I am actually very keen to protect the environment, but this report falls into the old trap of humans equals bad and the answer is less of everything we like. I think it's called tomato environmentaism, it starts green and ends red. As for the equality and too much consumerism stuff, that's just outrageous. Who writes this stuff, the Communist Party? The US has their right to arms in their constitution, please put my right to own a plasma tele and Land Rover in ours before Goldsmith bans them.

Britain accounts for 2pc of global CO2, and so we aren't going to save the planet on our own by using energy efficient light bulbs and re-insulating.

We should cut our pollution but for our own sake - for example the increased rates of asthma, the horrible pollution smell in the cities, the fact the World's oil reserves are mostly in States run by nutters etc. And the way to do this is to work with car manufacturers, develop new eco-fuels, improve rail transport, and encourage more people to work from home with tax incentives. We should protect the countryside by not building on it and by encouraging trees etc. Achievable things we see the benefit of, rather than unachievable things owing more to self-flagellation than logic.

The report suggests restricting people from converting lofts and garages, but we should encourage this - annexes reduce the need for new housing.

I wonder where this magic technology that the Editor keeps talking about is going to come from. With no green taxes or changes in standards, there's no incentive to research or develop this technology.

The fax was developed because Kanji was hard to transmit on a teleprinter - HTML was developed because it was hard to send text and images from CERN to labs in the USA - the hovercraft was invented - like the jet-engine because someone pursued an interest.

At no stage did Tax Policy develop technology. I find it astonishing that there are people who think technical development is a product of taxation.

What taxation does is to destroy industries and prevent invention. Pitt imposed a window tax so people could suffer loss of daylight. Inheritance Tax makes it pointless for old people to improve or maintain their homes.

VAT drives low-margin business overseas. Auction tax on 3G mobile licences drove mobile handset production to China.

VAT at 25% under Denis Healey made it cheaper to buy electronic products with 8% VAT from Asia than to build them in Britain from 25% rated components.

The use of Tax Policy to direct the economy is just another piece of political tinkering with the economy - it is trying to direct economic activity in diretions politicians desire

Just as a quick side note, I will partly defend the idea of removing white lines from roads. Removing some "street furniture" such as white lines and excessive signage has been proven to make drivers more cautious and reduce the amount of accidents. Whether this is greener or not, I have no idea.




The street lights being switched off over night idea is however insane.

Mr Breaker

Where I live we were without white lines for two months this summer. It did not encourage more cautious driving. Instead of keeping to the left drivers hogged the mid-point at full speed in a game of chicken. It has been far more dangerous than before. Thank God the lines have been reinstated. I was nearly killed beforehand.

It seems that most of the bloggers here are obsessed with vote chasing populism. Whilst I would like to green taxes to be popular, they are not. However, that does not mean that you do not take action. Global warming is happening!

It's not as if the Goldsmith is proposing to tax people for the sake of taxation. I don't really see the point of being in politics unless you aim to improve the country - which includes the environment. I wouldn't be surprised that the Luddites who criticise Cameron for his environmental position were the same ones who rejected the idea of the o-zone layer being depleted or the founding of the Environment Agency.

Climate change is real and just because it doesn't involve banging on about Europe or Immigration, it doesn't mean that it shoudn't be dealt with.

So, I congratulate the report and its real action it proposes. It's good to see that the Conservative party is proposing real change and not a whitewash to the challenges of the environment (unlike the Government). This is why I am a member.

"All so predictable"

It certainly is-this place is dancing to Brown's tunes way beyond his wildest dreams.

Sam S

Re "Luddites": I thought they were the machine breakers who opposed the march of technology; which sounds more like today's eco protagonists which is where the comparison ends as the Luddites were at the bottom of the economic pile not the top.

I completely disagree that the quality of life report is a disaster. The environment is much more at the forefront of political debate these days and any propsective party of government can not ignore the fact that we have to encourage people to maintain sustainable lifestyles and as far as I can see the report is offering carrots to people to be more green. Sticks are necessary as well but what is wrong with a gas guzzling 4x4 being taxed more, especially in urban areas where they are not needed. As long as there are cheaper alternatives people can be encouraged to use less environmentally damaging cars. Of course David Cameron cannot save the world but if we don't get our act together then we have no leverage to get the likes of China, India and Brazil to care for the environment. This is a far greater issue than Europe or immigration and I believe a vote winner.

Cleo - people care most about schools, hospitals, crime and the economy. This is what matters. People will tell you they care about the environment and they do - they like the countryside, they don't like congestion etc. But the idea climate change will decide peoples vote is simply wrong. We're on the wrong battlefield, we need to focus on radical public sector reform.

The best way to help the environment is through capitalism. Only when people are rich enough not to worry about food will they take care for the environment.

I think that the Editor's comments at 10.51 should be read carefully and given proper consideration.
It is difficult to escape the conclusion that climate patterns are changing and that these changes are made greater by our current ways of living.
Britain is not as influential in the world as it once was but that is the worst possible reason for not doing the right and responsible thing now. We should set an example and try, through government, to influence other nations to do the same, starting with the USA.
It is perhaps a pity that the appearance of this report has come at a rather unfortunate time for David Cameron and the party but that should be a test of his - and our - mettle.
Zac Goldsmith's Q & A article should be read thoughfully before people rush into judgment.

cutting street lighting
A lot of local authorities are doing that now. It is questionable whether it makes not just environmental sense, but also economic sense - illuminating many streets that are completely desolate through the night.

Near Macclesfield on the Middlewood Way the path is lit up all through the light for much of it and yet few people walk along it.

People can always take torches, there are ones that people can wear on their heads. Cars and bicycles are supposed to use their own lights at night.

Cutting most street lighting off during the night would save millions of pounds a year for a Local Authority, vast amounts over the UK as a whole.

"He wants to destroy the Conservative Party."

Why not? Are you saying that Cameron, Hilton, Zac and Gummer have monopoly on destroying the Conservative party?

Remind me again, what is the difference between these Cameloons and the Lib Dems, exactly? I keep getting confused.

Have they proposed a tax on breathing yet? Breathing is bad. It produces way too much CO2. Ban breathing.

I like the report. This infighting is not doing the Tory Party any good. Apart from anything else I want to see a fair fight between Conservatives and us at the election. At the moment it is looking like a walk-over and that is not good for our democracy.

This is a far greater issue than Europe or immigration and I believe a vote winner.

Cleo, since you tell us you are a totally impartial floating voter may we take it that you are offering your esteemed advice to Labour and the LibDems on their respective blogs.

If not, why not?

There has to be a broad range of policies on health, education, economy, crime and on taking a lead on environmental issues.

Yes Traditional Tory I particpate in discussions with Labour and Lib Dems too.

Key policy areas to focus on are Crime, Health, Economy and Education,


''There has to be a broad range of policies on health, education, economy, crime and on taking a lead on environmental issues''

As long as Cameron bangs on about the environment as much as he does no one will know our policies on the issues which matter. The public will only listen to us to a certain extent before they switch of. Our message must not be obscured by environmentalism.

The idea the environment will sway people to vote tory is just fantasy. If we wanted to appear 'changed' lets talk about education and health much more and green issues much less.

Yes Traditional Tory I particpate in discussions with Labour and Lib Dems too.

If you direct me to those discussions it may abate my long-held suspicions that you are a troll.

Why do you think Cleo is a troll? She hasn't said anything that I would class as disruptive to this site. As far as I can make out her views are rather typical of the huge numer of AB voters who were voting labour, but we need to attract in order to win power.

Londoner @ 15:29. I can't actually recall what his full response was - but let me look for it in the archives.

Cleo, I honestly don't know why you support the Conservatives because I think your views are not remotely conservative. You're basically asking our party to fundamentally change to fit your views and it's simply not going to happen.

Most people want a Conservative party to act like conservatives and that's the way it should be.

Re post 19:02 14/09/2009
Near Macclesfield on the Middlewood Way the path is lit up all through the light for much of it and yet few people walk along it.
Should have said "...all through the night..." not "...all through the light..."

Why do you think Cleo is a troll? She hasn't said anything that I would class as disruptive to this site

A 'troll' doesn't need to be crudely disruptive. They may seek to influence the direction of debate by pretending to be something that they are not.

For example, a committed Cameroon might pose as a floating voter in order to bolster the theory that so-called 'centre ground' votes can only be won by dancing to Cameron's tune.

In Cleo's case my suspicions are further raised by endless repetition of Cameroon mantras ('The voters are interested in the NHS not the EU' etc) frequently presented as vacuous one-liners.

I have plently of friends who might well be termed floating voters. However, they do not express their views in such neatly cliched terms, nor would they spend five minutes, let alone endless hours on a Tory blog.

I'll be delighted to admit I am wrong, so look forward to reading Cleo's contributions to Labour and LibDem debate, once she has directed me to the appropriate sites.

But hold on. Voters, are more interested in the NHS and not the EU, and have shown this to be the case by voting a party into government that has raised taxation as a share of GDP to its highest in history. By voting for a party that is spending vast amounts of public money on the NHS. If the 'public' were more interested in the EU (or exiting it) UKIP would be in government just now, not Labour.

What many in our party fail to recognise (or don't want to accept), is that we need, must, broaden the appeal of the party outwith the core vote. The core vote is not and never will be enough to win a general election. To do this we need to develop a raft of policies that core conservatives can support, and blend this with a number of policies with broader appeal to those who switch to labour in their absence. The sucessful history of the conservative party is founded on building broad coalitions between 'conservatives', 'free-marketeers' (who are not not necessarily conservatives, or can be a strange mixture of both (powell and thatcher) but find the party the only acceptable umbrela to shelter under, and finally the working class (nowadays this is really the middle class in Britain). We need to build that coalition to govern, Disraelli did it, and it worked brilliantly, Balfour tried it, but the free-marketeers that invaded the party at the time caused a bit of chaos. We cannot be all things to all people, but we need to strike the right balance. Since 1997 the free-marketeers have had (in my pinion) too much sway as this has excluded a vast swathe of the ordinary AB voters. Cameroonisim change is not about aping labour, its about broadening the appeal of the conservative party once more and governing again. I have no idea who Cleo is, but her views strike me as very close to that vast region of voters we need to target.

Absolutely right Oberon Houston. People are far more concerned about the NHS and a great many other things than the EU. I do not see how this makes me a troll.

"The fax was developed because Kanji was hard to transmit on a teleprinter - HTML was developed because it was hard to send text and images from CERN to labs in the USA - the hovercraft was invented - like the jet-engine because someone pursued an interest."

All of those are dealing with internalised problems - hard to transmit your data, hard to communicate with your labs, travelling insufficiently fast, etc..

Greenhouse gases and climate change by contrast are externalities. Unless you establish a price for them there's no direct benefit to dealing with the problem.

This is basic economics.

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