Coffee House

David Cameron: We are still a green government

14 January 2014

6:47 PM

14 January 2014

6:47 PM

One of the most intriguing things about last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions was David Cameron’s decision to say he suspected the recent severe weather in the United Kingdom was linked to climate change. It seemed to be an interesting restatement of where the Prime Minister personally stands on green issues – a position that his own Environment Secretary Owen Paterson refused to back the very next day. So today when David Cameron appeared before the Liaison Committee to talk about, among other things, green issues, its members were understandably keen to probe him on whether, after the Green Crap Removals Team had rolled up their sleeves and got to work on levies and taxes on energy bills this winter, this government is still green and committed to tackling climate change.

There were two sections to his response. One was rather wavering and packed with curious mixed metaphors – rolling back sleeves to roll back green levies (although the PM does talk about rolling back his sleeves so often that it’s hard not to wonder whether he would rather buy a load of short-sleeved shirts to save time), shaking trees (to distribute incentives for shale gas, apparently), and the very worst, his desire to ‘cement’ green achievements. How very green.


In this section, the Prime Minister insisted that this government is still the ‘greenest ever’, telling the hearing that ‘without reading out a huge list of achievements… we can make that claim realistically’, and that ‘we should try to cement the big green achievements there have been under this government in this parliament’. There are many at the top of the party who think that even after the green crap was rolled away in the autumn statement, the Conservatives are still too balanced in favour of greenery. Clearly the Prime Minister is not one of them.

The second section came in the last two minutes of the hearing when, with everyone starting to fidget and think about their next meeting, the PM suddenly revved into a political attack: the first and only of the session. He said:

‘I can’t resist the point that… your party leader on the other hand has said that he’s going to freeze energy prices for a period but with absolutely no explanation of what happens if the world energy price suddenly shot up. What on earth would Sir Mark Walport, I mean he’ll speak for himself, but he’ll probably come out in a rash or any sane person, when hearing that piece of news, because my policy to roll back the cost of energy charges, I said I could do it, I’ve done it and the bills will be reduced. His policy of saying I’m going to freeze energy prices irrespective of the global price of energy is bonkers.’

The Prime Minister’s theory – again, not shared by that many of his colleagues – is that now those green levies have been rolled back, it is easier to make the case for green governing because voters don’t feel quite so burdened by policies tackling climate change. This might be a side-effect, but the fact remains that they were rolled back because of this ‘bonkers’ price freeze pledge. He will be hoping that there are no more unworkable yet somehow catchy pledges from Labour in the next few months that require him to roll up those sleeves yet again.

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Show comments
  • Daniel Maris

    By the way, I wonder how many of you know that we pay from our taxes teh Nuclear Decommissioning Authority £5 billion per annum. That compares with £200 million being spent on the Green Deal!

    Where’s all the whingeing about how the poor taxpayer has to subsidise the nuclear power industry.

    • outraged

      They get the ransom not the subsidy.

      • Daniel Maris

        You’ll have to explain the difference.

  • swatnan

    Dave you can say that till you’re Blue in the face, but you’re not and nobody is going to believe you until you ditch people like Patterson the Climate Change denyers and continue with selling off the forests and insist on fracking up north and not the leafy suburbs of the the south.

    • itdoesntaddup

      Perhaps you didn’t see the news when that well was being drilled in Balcombe, that well-known Northern village? Just North of Brighton, home of the Greens.

      • swatnan

        I know; big mistake to take on the Greens in their backyard.
        Fracking should have been tried in Tunbridge Wells.

  • Frank

    The problem with Dave is that he reveals just how inadequate he is every time he opens his mouth. Does he really think that there are votes in pushing the green crap? Does he really think that he can “re-negotiate” our relationship with the EU? Does he ever actually engage his brain?

  • Kitty MLB

    Typical Cameron, green energy is a fallacy, a way to deceive, manipulate
    ( poor little polar bears on melting icecaps) and a way for energy companies to become rich.
    Cameron and his wretched Cameroons also, as we know love our green and pleasant
    land so much they want to build all over it ( Err- we are a small Island, what happens#
    when we run out of space) and I will not even mention wind farms-
    that unfortunately produce the same amount of hot air and are useless.
    Could someone also kindly tell Cameron and his little green friends , the fact that earth is
    billions of years old, and the climate has been changing on a regular basis well
    before we appeared, perhaps he should have a chat with some dinosaur friends.

  • David Kay

    watermelon politics from a watermelon PM, green on the outside red on the inside. Cameron is nothing but a pesky socialist masquerading as a Tory

    • Wessex Man

      be happy!

  • Colonel Mustard

    So difficult balancing on the tightrope of agendas and vested interests. A sop here, a platitude there. Here a promise, there an assurance. The balancing act of this child somewhat militated against by his unfortunate tendency to indulge in ill-considered and emotive statements about his beliefs and (heaven defend us) “personal values”, not entirely consistently.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Dave certainly is green if he thinks that the electorate are going to fall for his green BS which is solely about pandering to vested interests (like his father-in-law).

    The ways energy prices are going we will soon have to start throwing politicians on the fire (well they are ten a penny) to keep warm. That is of course after we’ve ripped up the green and red benches and turned them into kindling

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Anyway the wind blows doesn’t really matter, to meeee.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I see a little silhouetto of a man
      Scaramouche, scaramouche, will you do the Fandango

  • dalai guevara

    The Conserative Party Panto:

    “we are still green!”
    oh no you’re not, you never were!

    “we aren’t green”
    oh yes you are!

    Repeat until the kids fall asleep.

  • London Calling

    Lets hope Dave rolls up his trousers too and becomes the Green Man also……………..:O

  • Daniel Maris

    Phrases like “green carp” tend to stick to one if one is PM and one uses them in contradistinction to one’s firmly declared principles.

  • AnotherDave

    I think the Conservatives deserve to be booted out of office for their energy policy alone.

    The problem with that is, Labour and the LDs support the worst aspects of that energy policy too.

    UKIP are the only party who advocate a policy of ‘cheap energy’, and they’re looking to get their first MP in 2015, rather than 326.

    We need a miracle!

    • telemachus

      The miracle you will deliver is the shunting of 43 Tory marginals to Labour
      Cameron is correct to associate the recent flooding with the warming of the climate and consequent shift in weather patterns
      At least Miliband had the foresight to do something about it

      • global city

        and make a dint in the pensions bill at the same time? Very clever.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “At least Miliband had the foresight to do something about it”

        What, making sure that everybody’s energy bills went up and then promising to freeze the increased prices? Like a stupid boy smashing all the windows in your house and then promising not to smash any more.

    • dalai guevara

      What genuinely juvenile thinking on display here tonight.

      Ukip support ‘cheap energy’? Well how are they going to deliver on that? Ukip do NOT support *the poeple* owning the resource shale gas. Ukip support the status quo of big corporations magically delivering ‘cheap energy’. How? Deals made over a pint in the pub?

      The only way energy is going to be cheap would be if communally-run concerns facilitated maximum levels of competition whilst keep hold of the resource and owning the process.

      There is NOT A SINGLE political party advocating that today.

      • Daniel Maris

        …or if the government decides installing a green energy infrastructure is a good national goal that should be funded from capital expenditure in preference to other options like HS2, giving the Chinese control of our nuclear power industry, replacing Trident, or providing a 3rd Runway at Heathrow.

  • cambridgeelephant

    Dave’s idea of ‘green’s to concrete over the south of England forever with as many rubbish developments as he and little Nicky Boles can force through. That may be many things but ‘Green’ it ain’t.

    Maybe Dave should have booked a ticket on that ship stuck in the Ant Arctic ice ?

  • asalord

    Ah,that’s why Cameron refuses to go to Scotland to debate with the First Minister – Cameron wants to reduce his own carbon footprint.

    • Wessex Man

      Give it a rest you sad person, the reason Call me Dave is not going to Scotland to engage in Badger baiting by the Fat Controller is that he, Cameron is PM of the UK where as Alex Salmond is the leader of a subordinate adminstration!

  • sfin

    ‘Tackling climate change’ – er…’reducing the orbital radius of the Earth to the Sun’ – er…’making the Earth flatter’ – er…’recreating the garden of eden’ – er…

    Politicians really should learn to say “I don’t know” when confronted by issues entirely outside of their (or our) control.

  • brossen99