Monday, April 16, 2007

Playing to the crowd

The Lib Dems - a party of opportunists if ever there was one - have announced a "new" policy dubbed an "energy mortgage" whereby homeowners would receive loans to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

I'm not sure how this idea is new as I'm pretty sure there are grants already available for this sort of thing, but the Lib Dems leader seems to think this will result in a considerable saving on CO2 emissions.

The Lib Dems claim their proposals could save 31 million tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to the amount produced in 18 months by all the cars on Britain's roads.

I've mentioned this before on this blog, but I am still staggered by the sheer short sightedness of this kind of thinking. What does Mr Campbell think people are going to do with the money they save from making their home more energy efficient? Spend it on trees? Shove it under the mattress? Give it to charity?

Maybe some will, but for the vast majority it will be none of the above. They'll spend it on new electronic goods, more holidays to more exotic locations, another car, a bigger car, more days out, more trips to restaurants, a short city break in Barcelona - that kind of thing. In other words, they'll spend the money on things that will also cause emissions and negate any benefits that might be obtained by cutting their energy usage in their home.

What is really needed - and what people want - are the things that government should be doing. Better, more efficient and more affordable public transport should be top of the list of policies to reduce emissions - before anything else. If there are good public transport services available - reliable, clean, comfortable, safe - staffed by friendly and courteous people rather than surly jobsworths, then people will use those more and their car less.

The fact that the Lib Dems, or the Conservatives or Labour for that matter, believe that this sort of posturing - waving their "green" credentials above their heads without any real thought about the consequences of such policies - reveals the astounding lack of political thought that exists in this country. All that matters to politicians today is tomorrow's headline and that means that the majority of their policy making is geared towards pleasing the media rather than providing what the people want and need.


youdontknowme said...

The parties can never be accused of giving people what they want or need.

You are right. This is political opportunism by the Lib Dems. I have heard from local blogs that they are doing the same in my ward. In my ward the Eston Independents are in control and they hate Labour but the Lib Dems have spread rumours that the Eston Independents are willing to go into a coalition with Labour just so the Lib Dems can be elected.

Stan said...

My local paper recently published the key points from the main parties local election policies.

Conservatives: We're gonna save the planet! and maybe do something about crime.

Labour: We're gonna save the planet! and maybe do something about services.

Lib Dems: We're gonna save the planet! That's it - but we're really serious about it and have some really good ideas and we really really mean it. Honest.

The only thing more puerile than the Lib Dems are the people who vote for them. Personally, I can't figure out why anyone takes them seriously.