If antismokers seem to have lost out with the departure of Andrew Lansley and Anne Milton, the Greens also seem to have lost out with the appointment of Owen Paterson as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. From Bishop Hill:
Paterson is no treehugger. In May, he reportedly told the Cabinet that it should end all energy subsidies, such as those for wind and solar power, and fast-track shale gas exploitation…As MP for North Shropshire, Paterson has spoken against wind farms and the new pylons needed to carry their power to the national grid.
From the same Bishop Hill page:
Paterson is widely seen as being on the right of the Conservative Party and green groups were quick to highlight his previous hostility to environmental campaigns.
In a surprise move, Energy Minister Charles Hendry has been axed in the government’s reshuffle to be replaced by Tory MP John Hayes…
Hayes appointment will cause concern amongst renewable energy firms given his opposition to wind farms in his constituency, having previously describing wind turbines as a “terrible intrusion on our flat fenland landscape”.
It’s not just the UK. It seems that Barack Obama has cooled on global warming, to the distress of many Democrats.
Democratic Donors Withhold Contributions Over Absence of Climate Change from Obama Campaign Message.
Al Gore included.
Al Gore is boycotting the Democratic National Convention because he doesn’t get along with President Obama and is disappointed that Obama hasn’t pushed harder for a cap-and-trade law that would force Americans to use less fossil fuels, sources tell Flash…
“He’s been missing in action. It’s not just the convention. Gore hasn’t made any speeches for for Obama, or campaign appearances, or fundraising solicitations … nothing,” said our source.
Perhaps it’s quite simply that Climate Change has lost its buzz. Five years ago, Global Warming was all the political rage, and you were nobody if you didn’t pay fulsome lip service to it. But now, after Climategate and other scandals, it’s all looking a bit threadbare, and, well, … a bit yesterday. And politicians like to back winners, and Climate Change is looking more like a loser than a winner these days. And so politicians like Obama and Cameron are trimming their sails accordingly, even if it means breaking campaign pledges – like Cameron’s “greenest government ever” -.
And perhaps the departure of Lansley and Milton signals a realisation on the part of Cameron that an awful lot of people are sick to their back teeth of nannying healthism, and an awful lot of them just happen to be voters too.
It probably all comes down to focus groups and private opinion polls. While they show that people are worried about global warming and passive smoking, the policy will remain green and antismoking. The moment it flips the other way is the moment when the green and healthist programme gets quietly shelved. It’s a cold, simple calculation: which policy wins more votes? It has nothing to do with “principles”.
They just want to be re-elected.