Click to get your own widget

Sunday, July 27, 2008


A series of disastrous election defeats have plunged Britain's Labour government into disarray. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown fights for survival, a political drama with momentous consequences is unfolding before our eyes. One of the last centre-left governments in Europe looks set to fall.

Many analysts of Labour's disintegration attribute the collapse of support to the current economic downturn, a perfect storm of global credit crunch combined with falling house and rising oil prices. In reality, the defeats Labour has suffered in recent elections mirror the deepening crisis now affecting almost every social democratic party in Europe. New Labour's pledge to evade the burden of high taxation has been broken. In recent years, almost all of Europe's social democratic parties have lost in national elections. The collapse of support for Brown and his policies reveals a general decline of Europe's social democracy as a whole.

There are many good reasons for the deterioration of the centre-left's political influence and power. But perhaps one of the most crucial is the abandonment of their traditional core value of progressive optimism. After all, the left used to derive large amounts of its popular appeal from a firm belief in social and technological advancement, a political philosophy of societal optimism and hope. During the last couple of decades, however, it has eagerly adopted a green ideology that has replaced its confidence in future progress with the ever more intimidating prediction of climate catastrophe and environmental disaster, culminating in calls for economic sacrifices and collective belt-tightening.

In short, Britain's Labour Party has discarded its "progressive" principles for environmental fear-mongering and salvationist rhetoric in the expectation that voters would accept that only government control, central planning and higher taxes could prevent global disaster. At the core of Labour's environmental philosophy and polity-making stands the notion that people in Britain and other industrialized countries consume too much energy derived from the burning of fossil fuels. For many years, Labour has chanted the green mantra that in order to prevent disastrous climate change caused by excessive energy consumption, Britons must make personal sacrifices in their lifestyle and behaviour. No other government in the world has employed the spectre of climate catastrophe as forcefully as Britain; no other administration has saddled taxpayers with a heavier burden of green taxation.
Eighteen months ago, Labour's David Miliband proposed the introduction of carbon "credit cards" that would be issued as part of a nationwide carbon-rationing scheme. He suggested the allocation of an annual allowance for basic needs such as travel, energy or food. Two days after Labour's disastrous defeat in the local elections, the whole scheme was hastily abandoned. Motorists in the UK are paying the highest fuel taxes in Europe, an average of almost £900 [$1800] annually. In the name of climate change mitigation, the government has progressively increased fuel, road and car taxes. It has burdened companies with a so-called Climate Change Levy and introduced an emissions trading scheme -- costly policies that have had damaging effects on British competitiveness, energy prices and living standards. As a direct result, a record number of people, particularly Britain's poorest, oldest and most vulnerable, are increasingly falling on hard times. As many as five million households, more than 20% of the UK's population, are today living in "fuel poverty."

It is estimated that the economic burden of green taxes in Britain accounts for more than £20-billion annually this obviouslyincludes nothing for the growth foregone over previoud decaded -N. British companies have lost one million manufacturing jobs since the levy was introduced in 2001. And a recent government report has warned that any attempt to meet Britain's renewable energy targets would cost taxpayers some £75-billion, a price tag that would mean extra costs of more than £3,000 for every family in the UK.

Fundamental to the multi-billion government subsidies for solar and wind energy companies is a direct transfer of wealth and money from the poor to the well-off. By subsidizing green companies and their uncompetitive products, ordinary taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for green gadgets that have little if any effect on the climate but are making green businessmen richer at the expense of ordinary families.

Labour's foolhardy policies are shaped by the conviction that, in the words of Miliband, tackling climate change is "the mass mobilizing movement of our age." The principles of fairness and equality used to stand at the heart of centre-left governments. Protecting the interests of poor and disadvantaged members of society was essential to the popular appeal of left and labour parties. Those parties have substituted these ideals with an environmental program in which saving the planet for the generations of the future has taken priority over the principle of liberating the underprivileged and disadvantaged from poverty and restitution
today. In effect, the Labour Party is gradually pricing the working and lower-middle classes out of their comfort zone. With these core voters counting the rising cost of green taxes, tariffs and restrictions, the Labour Party's chances of re-election are dwindling.

Labour's fundamental miscalculation has been to bank on the strength of the environmental movement and climate change anxiety in an attempt to "modernize" its agenda Cameron's Tories & the LibDems too - N. Labour's climate policy, however, is now backfiring, turning into one of its biggest political liabilities. A recent survey suggests that more than 70% of British voters are no longer willing to pay higher taxes to fund climate change initiatives. In fact, twothirds of those surveyed believe that the green agenda has been exploited in order to increase taxes. Britain's Labour government may believe that its climate policies are saving the planet. But in the process they are destroying the foundations of the party.
This is an article by Benny Peiser of CCNet published in the Financial Post, but no longer available there. Everything that he said about Labour could apply to an even greater desgree about the LibDems who have given up any connection to traditional liberalism in exchange for Ludditism & the nanny state.


This global cooling crapola is peddled by ALL the large parties. Difficult to say who's worst.
I'd say the LibDems are the most "environmentalist", that Labour come 2nd & that while the Tories under Cameron have embraced greenery there is a large, perhaps majority, of them who are pretty sceptical.My opinion of Cameron is that his greenery is not driven by idealogical principle but by what he & his media chums believed to be electoral advantage. If so it is likely to melt like snow off a dyke as it gets cooler.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

British Blogs.