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The Rifkind-Straw affair is pathetic, embarrassing and they’ll probably get away with it.  They look ridiculous, but it’s unlikely they have done anything that will attract any more than a slapped wrist.  Greed is not an offence, even for MPs, and since Jack Straw has managed to escape punishment for his part in an illegal war, I’d expect he’ll wriggle out of this one easily enough [as an aside, who pays £5k… Read More

Remember ‘Vote Blue, Go Green’?  David Cameron promised to bring a progressive environmental agenda with him into Downing Street.  After four years in government Cameron has been reported to want to ‘cut the green crap’ and has allowed the Treasury to act accordingly. Quite a turnaround. The latest evidence of the complete abandonment of the green agenda by the Tories is the announcement that they would place a moratorium on onshore wind… Read More

What has happened to progressive ideas on energy policy?  Politicians seem to be locked in a rhetorical battle to go further and further backwards. There’s talk of a windfall tax which we tried in the noughties; some want a pool which we ditched in the nineties; and some want direct price manipulation which was the fashion of the seventies.  Nationalisation is a word that keeps getting cheers on Question Time.  The debate… Read More

David Cameron is a cowardly prime minister.    Watching his performance at PMQs on Wednesday was embarrassing.  When he announced he would be ‘rolling back the green levies’ it was like watching a school play in which a child is suddenly overwhelmed and promptly wets himself on stage. We have seen this sort of policy incontinence before.  Who can forget that a slightly smaller puddle was found on the House of Commons… Read More

There is a whisper circulating around Westminster that Nick Clegg wants an opportunity to replace Danny Alexander with Ed Davey in the ‘quad’ that settles key coalition policy.   If it happens it would freshen up the central coalition team, dispel any Lib Dem fears of a double agent (Alexander) in the heart of government, and provide a direct challenge to George Osborne’s anti-green agenda.   In short, it’s a good idea. The timing… Read More

You don’t need to buy The Daily Mail to get hold of the priceless banter on its opinion pages;  it shouts abuse at you across the newsagent; it bellows out bile from petrol station forecourts; it downloads its distress onto your smartphone.  It’s an addictive dose of comedy, parody and parallel reality.   One editorial column caught my eye recently, included the following line: ‘in the depths of this rapidly worsening economic crisis……this…….. Read More

The resounding view from around my family’s Easter Sunday lunch table was that Boris Johnson remains the most popular politician in the UK. After a week that saw the London Mayor under the microscope, first in Eddie Mair’s interview mauling, and then Michael Cockerill’s Bullingdon-and-the-Beast documentary, Johnson has emerged with credit for being ‘human’, ‘interesting’ and ‘not towing the party line’. The debate about whether the cuddly bear of British politics could… Read More

Decarbonisation is an ugly, overweight word.  On twitter it is cut to ‘decarb’; like a statutory pasta rationing regime.  But for green groups, it’s the rationing of targets not tagliatelle that is causing stomachs to rumble. Not satisfied with emissions targets for 2050 and 2020, binding carbon budgets, EU renewables targets and global emissions pledges, some environmentalists are demanding another helping of targets.  Or perhaps this is the icing on a layered… Read More

High profile Conservatives (including the Chancellor and the Energy minister John Hayes) spent most of 2012 trying to undermine and diminish the UK’s already doubtful commitment to building a  green economy.   Whether is was vetoing decarbonisation targets in the Energy Bill or publicly criticising proven renewable technologies, the dog whistle politics of backing industry or countryside lobbies over environmental concerns was too tempting to resist.  By the end of the year Tory… Read More

It was a gentle and carefree ride for David Cameron through his supposed ‘grilling’ by the Ad Hoc Select Committee on Tuesday. Facing questions on energy policy, the committee had an arsenal of ammunition at their disposal.  Bickering ministers, contradictory policies and extraordinary vetoes could have put the Prime Minister in the cross hairs.  Sadly the committee members were mostly firing blanks.  Cameron was comfortable, so comfortable in fact that his greatest… Read More