Friday, December 19, 2008
The reason the Conservatives have fallen so far in the polls is because they have spent a couple of years rebranding themselves as nice, green, multi-ethnic, modern & cuddly rather than interested in the economy - and suddenly people are very interested in the economy which, incompetent though Brown may be, he certainly is too.
Having put their colours so firmly on the global warming horse how can they get off without looking both cynical & stupid?
My answer is one I have suggested before. A debate.
The party as an organisation or a number of its senior statesmen & think tanks should sponsor a series of public formal debates (I suggest 3) on whether catastrophic global warming is a major problem, together with a TV team to record them. A formal 1 hour debate, with 3 speakers is a well established format & should be even cheaper to produce than the relatively popular Any Questions format & with no more editing. With places in the audience reserved for the shadow cabinet & senior members of other parties. Preferably hold them just before the spring conference.
They would be able to attract the very top people on both sides. Gore, who has after all accepted an invitation to lecture to Cameron's cabinet, should certainly be invited to speak. Since he has always refused to debate in public before my guess is he would refuse but it is important to make such offers so there could be no accusation of fixing the list. I would not wish to see the debate fixed in any way & do not fear free discussion.
The BBC, ITN, C4, C5 & SKY should be invited to broadcast it - it being clear that this is not a party political broadcast but involves people from all over the spectrum. Though they have all refused to do such a debate themselves I do not think they could all refuse with the sort of political tonnage involved here. If they did they would merely show an anti-Conservative & closed minded attitude.
If following all 3 debates (I suggest 1 for politicians, one for writers/journalists & one for scientists either in that order or the reverse) it became clear that the sceptics had successfully made their case it would be possible for the party to endorse an unambiguously progressive pro-growth policy while looking like moderate open minded people open to reason rather than slippery politicians changing policy for purely electoral reasons.
My Fantasy Football teams would be:
Lord Lawson-----V----Al Gore
Vaclav Klaus---------David Miliband
Christopher Monckton-------Zac Goldsmith
Jeremy Clarkson--V---George Monbiot
Martin Durkin--------David Attenborough
Peter Hitchens-------Polly Tonybee
Fred Singer------V---James Hansen
Bjorn Lomberg--------IPCC nominee
Jerry Pournelle------Michael Mann
I think that would be a fight worth seeing.
I also think that such debates would make our "democracy" much healthier.