I’ve previously noted that although the UK govts *action* on climate change is fairly feeble, the rhetoric has been good. For example, Blur said: This is the most important report on the future published by the Government in our time in office… What is more, unless we act now, not some time distant but now, these consequences, disastrous as they are, will be irreversible. So there is nothing more serious, more urgent or more demanding of leadership, here of course but most importantly, in the global community. at the launch of the Stern report.

But now he’s abandoned that, over cheap flights: “I personally think these things are a bit impractical actually to expect people to do that,” Mr Blair says in an interview. The prime minister, who recently had a family holiday in Miami, adds that it would be wrong to impose “unrealistic targets” on travellers. “You know, I’m still waiting for the first politician who’s actually running for office who’s going to come out and say it – and they’re not”. “unrealistic” in this context appears to mean “any”; and the leadership stuff seems to have gone out of the window.

Whats especially weird about this is that here has been no obvious pressue on him to leap into the fray. This appears to confirm the obvious: that politicians are not going to do anything that risks frightening the voters (even to solve problems with “disastrous” and “irreversible” consequences), and in middle england the idea of losing their cheap flights to their second homes overseas is frightening…

[Letter in the paper this morning: so getting us into a deeply unpopular war on the basis of lies was OK; being unpopular over climate change isn’t?]


  1. #1 Adam

    The notable part to me was:

    “politician who’s actually running for office”

    As Blair is not running for office and probably never will do so again (unless he gets US citizenship ;) ), he’s not handicapped in the way that he’s suggesting.

    What’s more, he’s personalised politics to the extent that he won’t taint Brown or his party with what he does, so wouldn’t this have been a good time to experiment with public opinion? It might even get him the legacy he’s hankered after so much.

    But then, as Stern has shown (accidentally) that there’s no economic reason to mitigate against global warming, maybe Blair has a point? ;)

  2. #2 Adam

    Just thought I’d mention that I posted the above before I’d read the letters page of the Guardian where someone else had made the same point. ;)

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