My apologies for my long absence from these pages but a family tragedy has kept me away from my desk for the last few weeks. I have kept a vague eye on the news but confess that the current mass madness makes me wonder whether I am living in a real world or one thought up by LooneyTunes.
Let’s take the hysteria that seems to be spreading about climate change. In the nineteen seventires, alarmists in this country were yammering on about the coming of a new Ice Age. Then came two years of very hot summers and widespread drought. A labour minister called Denis Howell was put in charge of tackling the water shortage and in desperation is said to have imported a Red Indian medicine man to do a rain dance.
By the late 1980s we were being assured that it was just a matter of time before there would be African plains game sweeping majestically across the veldt outside places like Bourton on the Water or Milton Keynes. Global warming became the new orthodoxy but when temperatures defied predictions and actually fell for a few years, global warming somehow became ‘man-made climate change’ and founded a new religion.
Which is how we ended up with the current nonsense with a so-called Conservative Government which, when it comes to climate change and energy policy, seems to take its instructions from Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and a handful of those nutcases so often glued to the major roads in London.
And of course there is ‘the science’, cynical big business and the smug, self-serving environmental establishment, all of whom have a financial interest in pushing the green agenda down all our throats.
I am not in any way denying the fact that human activity has an influence on climate and the overall environment. Most people want to live in a cleaner world, which is why we go along with everything from weekly refuse collections and bizarre seven-bin recycling schemes to supporting campaigns against plastic waste. Unfortunately there are too many people in the world and the problems are going to get worse. We would do better by encouraging the spread of the Coronabug I am afraid.
But I just cannot understand why we are all being put under ever increasing pressure by an inept and apparently leaderless government to change all our ways and thus face an ever more uncertain future.
Why should Britain have to lead the word in decarbonisation, when this country is responsible for a mere one per cent of the world’s emissions. While we suffer in silence, countries like China are opening hundreds of coal-fired power stations with abandon? Will there be a single world leader at the forthcoming climate jamboree in Glasgow who has the nerve to confront the Chinese? I very much doubt it.
And it is not only China dammit! The rest of the world is either moving more slowly than this country or doing absolutely nothing other than paying lip service to ‘net zero.’ Somehow I do not think that will change after next week.
Why is a Tory Government determined to make us all feel colder and poorer? Why should we be punished to pay for a political vanity project based on dubious technology?
In 1983, the Labour MP Gerald Kaufman described his party’s election manifesto as the ‘longest suicide note in history.’ I am afraid that Bunter Johnson’s green manifesto is the longest economic suicide note in history.
And what on earth has happened to Bunter over recent months? His rapid metamorphosis from being a Tory sceptic with his feet firmly on the ground to a climate-change fanatic has been one of the most amazing political phenomena of modern times.
Not long ago, he was expressing sensibly cautious views about climate change in general. In a newspaper column from way back when, he wondered whether solar activity might not be a contributory factor to global warming. He confessed that he had an ‘open mind’ on the matter. In 2015, one of his columns was headlined: ‘I can’t stand this December heat, but it has nothing to do with global warming.’
Over the years he has publicly doubted the efficiency of wind power and advocated more nuclear power stations. He has also championed fracking for gas, which his benighted government has now comprehensively, and very stupidly scrapped.
We are not talking here about juvenile scribblings that can be easily disowned. The mature and grown-up Bunter J of the not too far distant past did not believe that climate change presented such an immediate danger that the economy had to be turned upside down and taxpayers required to fork out unlimited dollops of their hard earned cash.
The usual reason given for Mr Johnson’s sudden conversion to being the revolutionary hero of climate change and evangelist of higher taxes is the influence of his wife, Carrie, who is a definite eco-zealot herself. No doubt this is part of the explanation but I fear there is more to it than that. Bunter has an unquenchable love of drama and the big gesture to show how wonderful he is or imagines himself to be. He is not prepared to sit down with Chancellor Sunak, and go through the books, painstakingly, weighing up the pros and cons of reaching net zero in record time.
Nor is he deflected by the argument that the UK, which produces a mere one per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, should cripple its economic future while other countries prosper and China is building hundreds of new coal-fired power stations. Something in his somewhat juvenile mindset makes him predisposed to grand gestures and earth shaking solutions – no matter who suffers.
For the time being, he gets away with it because the hikes in taxation which will have to pay for his revolution are some way off. Even the painful increases already announced have not yet happened. He is still seen as a pleasant and harmless buffoon who cracks good jokes and adds to the gaiety of the nation.
Conceivably he will continue to get away with it for a while. He does not have a viable opposition to worry about nor is there any alternative Conservative Party to which voters can defect.
Yet Tory voters with Tory values haven’t gone away. When runaway tax increases hit home, and people find they can’t get mortgages on uninsulated houses and are forced to impoverish themselves with expensive and inefficient heat pumps – then hopefully there will be a political backlash.
Sooner or later there surely has to be a conservative uprising. Tory voters will demand authentic Tory policies. Someone promising to supply them will emerge although Bunter being the vacillating clown that he is may then decide that he has become a Tory again.
That might well take place when the old gleam reappears in his lecherous eye and he decides that the current Mrs J is doing his public image too much harm and no longer keeping his galloping libido in check.
I do not often encourage immorality, but roll on that day.