« Live chatroom for BBC1's Question Time from 10.30pm | Main | David Cameron may not want to campaign on Europe but it'll be a "huge" issue for a Tory government »


Is Ollie Letwin still proud of his 'we're moving from an econo centric to socio centric world' tosh?

Very apt title. Whether influenced by humans or not, i think the average person realises we as a small country have effectively no control over the climate. We also know that governments and politicians will be long gone by the time their policies on climate change are judged. I for one would like politicians to revert back to issues that i can judge them on in my lifetime, or even in their period in office. Climate change is not one of those things.

Alan S,

Has Oliver Letwin ever been right about anything?

Well we didn't get much response from the Conservatives to the electorates concerns about immigration, will that change now taxation is the top concern, or will it be more of sticking to Labours spending plans, and making no argument for a smaller state?

He backed David Cameron before anyone else so let's have less anti-Letwin "tosh" please.

Felicity - so what? The above comments perfectly reflect the view that he should have an academic, not a politician! But we aren't all sycophants.

Environmental concerns and the "pound in your pocket" are not necessarily mutually-exclusive. Installing insulation and efficient light-bulbs for example are a matter of thrift. The government could assist consumers by reducing or eliminating VAT on these items.

Similarly, instead of a swathe of green taxes, is it not time for us to consider green incentives? Charging for the amount of rubbish collected or miles travelled by road are not objectionable in themselves. However, equity demands that these options should ONLY be implemented if there is a corresponding reduction in council, road and petrol taxes. As currently posited, charges for these services are additional to basic taxes and are thus viewed, rightly, as a cynical exercise in revenue-raising.

PLEASE EDITOR - Tell PoliticalHome that their chart at the end of the page has "Energy Provision" TWICE instead of "The economy" which presumably is the second column.

Another seamless transition of policy.

It appears the Right was not deluded but, well, right.

Where does this leave Letwin and Hilton? Too much to hope that they might that they might selflessly volunteer to worsen the government's unemployment statistics?

Yet again, with Labour in complete disarray, the government can wriggle loose by pointing out that the opposition, exhibiting that firmness of principle and political foresight for which they are so justly famous, abstained rather than voted against the 10p abolition (because they were too scared of being seen to promote low taxes).

Looks like we might just get a tax-cutting Conservative government after all - once they have tried every alternative policy first.

I agree with Felicity. Oliver also wrote campaigning articles (Sunday Telegraph) before he was an MP in the early/mid 1990s against the Maastr. Treaty and further European integration. He was also early in identifying the civil liberties threat resulting from reactions from 9/11 when he was Shadow Home Sec under IDS and, by his tone at that time and his generally very reasonable and courteous manner, was one of the first Tories to start being listened to again by people beyond the party faithful.

So there is a lot he has got right.

Nor does this opinion poll show that he is not right on climate change. Whether it is something that we should be addressing as a high priority depends on the science and ones analysis of the issue, not on opinion polls. This poll just shows, not surprisingly, that when the economy has problems it will always be the most salient issue. If he was wrong on climate change, does that make him right on immigration (which he does not tend to major on), which is also down because concerns about the economy are up?

I support the need for robust economic policies but you only earn the audience prepared to listen to you on that if you have shown that the party is not a one-dimensional tax cuts and anti-immigration pressure group. Contrary to Tim's consistent uncaring attitude on the environmental legacy we are leaving our children, I believe that the party cannot forget about climate change and will need a coherant policy on it before the next election. "Small change not climate change" may be a clever slogan, but it is also ultimately a small minded one.

As someone who gets paid for publishing forecasts based on excel spreadsheets, I can tell you with 100.00% confidence that all long-range temperature predictions are intrinsically absurd, and that making significant policy decisions on the back of them is simply scandalous. The theory of man-made global warming is an interesting academic idea, but it should remain where it belongs - in the ivory tower. Along with the global cooling theories fashionable in the 1970s.

Sorry but being sceptical about the current obsession about climate change is not mutually exclusive with concern about the environment and wise use of our resources. It's just that some of us take a pragmatc view of things and like to consider the various sides to the arguments.

Yes we should look after our environment but not to the extent that our people are seriously disadvantaged. What we need to do is to seek VIABLE alternatives to previous solutions (Horse & carts, Trains, Cars.... what's next?) In some cases we can encourage new technologies to adapt existing situations. In other cases, the market, if properly encouraged to take the risk and put in the investment will come up with completely different alternatives.

However I cannot support the situation we currently have that changes the goalposts on people who have nowhere else to go.

"Let them buy a new car".... Do me a favour!!! Just how are people on low incomes to afford that?

No surprises here, it might wind up the Greens but I will say it again - barely anybody gives a flying monkey's about global warming. Ask the average voter whether they want to keep their job or reduce sea levels in Yattatonga and their family will, understandably, come first.

Absolutely right, Stewart. Nothing unconservative about policies that conserve finite resources.

But what worries me is that "conservatives" both sides of the Atlantic have signed up to a "climate change" agenda that has Big Government built into its DNA and is a faith-based ideology impossible to argue against. We are at risk of being "captured" by an agenda, and being unable to escape from it a decade later.

If it's impossible to disprove, how will a goverment that has signed up ever get out? Remind you of the EU, anyone?

Nice to see them catching up!


Paul Oakley,

"Reduce VAT on energy saving items", wrong, VAT is an EU competance as is food supply and many other thing you care to mention. The EU is the problem, not the answer, end of story!

...is a faith-based ideology impossible to argue against.

I disagree that environmentalism is a faith-based ideology but, if that’s how it’s seen, its inclusion in politics gives the religious a wonderful taste of their own medicine.

Derek - your observation is strictly correct but is posited on the erroneous assumption that I am in favour of our continuing membership of the EU ;-)


"inclusion in politics" is a bit of an understatement, isn't it? All political parties and all mainstream media have fully signed up to the ideology without questioning it.

By contrast, please tell us the last time the same could be said for a religious agenda.

Derek - your observation is strictly correct but is posited on the erroneous assumption that I am in favour of our continuing membership of the EU ;-)

Oops! didn't mean to post twice.

Global warming is rated very low priority by most voters, particularly as the last decade has seen no warming. In fact since 2000 we have seen slight cooling. Even the alarmists are now saying there is likely to be no significant warming for the next decade. How can this be possibly seen as more important than the economy? For more on the subject, and to vote in the on-line poll visit CLIMATE SCIENCE

It has almost become heresy for voters to suggest that the environment is not one of their greatest concerns. Despite media comment and opinion polls to the contrary, I believe most people are indifferent or even bored of the subject.

Tougher economic times will inevitably result in people no longer being afraid to say what really matters. Prepare to see the environment fall right down the list of priorities.

Most importantly, from a party political stance, those that genuinely care about the environment will probably not vote Tory or Labour. For everyone else it is unlikely that environmental policy will persuade voters one way or another (unless they involve taxes which will turn voters away).

For what it is worth, my rather simplistic solution to the environment is (i) birth control - accept the Earth is already over-populated and resources are finite,(ii) nuclear power and lots of it and (iii) set aside a decent fund from fuel taxes to develop a viable alternative to the combustion engine.

Posted by: Derek | May 16, 2008 at 14:56

What an excellent link. We are not alone, as they say.

If people are so stupid and short-sighted as to not realise that the health of the physical environment affects them and their families, then they deserve an environmental catastrophe as far as I'm concerned.

Fascinating. As I started to read this article I immediately thought of Maslow. Maslow should be essential study for any politician, indeed anybody in positions of influence or responsibility who wish to understand the world.

"For what it is worth, my rather simplistic solution to the environment is (i) birth control - accept the Earth is already over-populated and resources are finite"

And in our case the population growth comes from immigration , which would give the Conservatives the opportunity to tie their 'vote blue go green' environmental agenda with a key voter concern , immigration, by talking about population sustainability for the UK. Or is that too simple a strategy for the big brains who run the Conservative party to comprehend?

By contrast, please tell us the last time the same could be said for a religious agenda...


26 'Lords Spiritual' sit in the House of Lords.

Prayer cards.

Iain May the 16th is quite right in saying the earth is over populated. Indeed it is a truism that the current levels of population cannot solve the environmental problem. As Libertarian i am opposed to birth control but to those who advocate regulation and 'red' as the new 'green' i suggest they asses their contribution to population growth and how their children will all have houses, cars, heating, holidays, material needs and power. Whilst it is all very well piously saying that we must 'lead by example', it is not possible or realistic to presume Britain can change the global problem. Britain as it has been noted umpteen times contributes to only 2% OF GLOBAL EMISSIONS. Will this stop China opening a new coal powered station every week? I doubt it, it is hypocritical of those in the west to have previously encouraged the development of capitalism and democracy in developing countries but then to frown upon it when the environment is concerned.

" Whilst it is all very well piously saying that we must 'lead by example', it is not possible or realistic to presume Britain can change the global problem. "

But its not a matter of leading by example, just to lead by example, but doing what’s best for our country. It seems to me the British establishment have taken leave of their senses if they plan to add another 10 million people to our countries population, as is projected by the ONS Yet while they add people by the millions to this already over populated country, for this population growth is coming through immigration, they have the bare faced nerve to lecture us about our carbon foot print!

The fact is we are being offered one choice by the British establishment, to have them unsustainably grow our population, and they take it upon themselves to ration the resources we get, whether it be road space, public services, water, and soon food, but there is another choice, to not have the British state grow our population, and so for the majority of the population to have a better existence.

Now if other peoples of other countries see the choice we have made to have a smaller population and like what we are doing, then it doesn’t matter if we just represent just 1% of the worlds population, for ideas are lot more powerful than just numbers.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker