"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Monday, 26 April 2010

Live Debate: Environment

Andrew Neil and Justin Rowlatt hosted this afternoon's debate on the environment.  Taking part were Darren Johnson, Green Party; Simon Hughes, LibDem Energy & Climate Change spokesman; Greg Clark, Shadow Energy & Climate Change Secretary;  Ed Miliband,  Energy & Climate Change Secretary.

The Greens policies include a science-based target of 90% cut in CO2 by 2030; 50% of UK energy from renewables by 2020; scrap nuclear power stations; £45bn funding for Green New Deal; energy efficiency measures for homes, schools & hospitals; investment in public transport, not roads.

The LibDems: 40% reduction in emissions by 2020; raise fuel duty in line with economic growth; insulation for all homes with a decade; extend the new carbon trading scheme; tax domestic flights to encourage rail use; oppose new nuclear power plants.

The Conservatives: 80% reduction in emissions by 2050; legal cap on emissions from power stations; new homes to be energy efficient from 2016; offer every household home insulation; pay families to recycle and scrap bin taxes; government emissions cut by 10% in a year.

Labour:  40% of electricity from low carbon sources by 2020; balanced energy mix with nuclear, renewables and carbon capture; high-speed rail; 400,000 green jobs by 2015; pay-as-you-save home insulation schemes; ban recyclable material from landfills.

Miliband also said the UK is "a leader in green manufacturing, making off-shore wind turbines and electric cars."  That's news to me, I thought the wind turbines were manufactured in Europe.

Yes/No Interlude:

1.  Should people take fewer flights?
Johnson: Yes
Hughes: Yes.
Clark:  If they've got an alternative
Brillo stepped in to remind Clark that he wanted a yes or no answer so Clark tried again:  Yes with high speed rail.  Brillo made a cutting comment and moved on.
Miliband: Yes, we should encourage alternatives...

2.  In the last few years have you taken a foreign holiday with a flight?
Miliband: Not in the last couple of years, no.
Clark: I can't remember but I'll have to say yes, just in case.
Hughes: Yes.
Johnson:  The last two years my holidays have been by rail or ferry.

3.  Do you all accept that renewables are an expensive way to generate power and it means the price people have to pay for electricity has to go up, doesn't it?  Yes or No?
Miliband:  Yes, it does.
Clark:  Yes, but it could be... [interrupted by Brillo - " what bit don't you understand of yes or no?]
Hughes:  Yes, Andrew.
Johnson:  Yes but the cost of fossil fuels would rise anyway [not interrupted but treated to a withering glance instead].

4.  Should Councils have the right to spy on your rubbish?
Johnson:  Yes.
Hughes:  No.
Clark: No.
Miliband:  No.

5.  Do you support Councils reducing the number of rubbish collections?
Miliband:  It's up to them.
Clark:  It's up to them - I'm a localist.
Hughes: It is up to them.
Johnson:  It's up to them.

6.  Still one-word answers - should petrol prices be higher, lower or about the same?
Miliband:  I don't have a pre-judged view on that.
Clark:  I think you need to moderate ...  [interrupted]
Hughes: Ideally come down.
Johnson: Higher.

A question from Brillo to Miliband alone:  "Remind me, because I think I missed it, where was the debate, the consultation and the democratic mandate to ban traditional lightbulbs?"
Miliband:  "It was a discussion that took place in the European Union..."
Brillo:  "That's what I mean, where was the democratic mandate?"
Miliband couldn't answer effectively.

One thing I feel confident in saying after watching this  tangled and occasionally bad-tempered debate is that if the Conservatives do form the next government, Greg Clark won't be the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

This is the only video I can find so far: Where they stand on Heathrow expansion

Tomorrow Andrew Neil and Robert Peston will be hosting the live Business Debate which will include Mandelson and Ken Clarke.


  1. GV why is a small rabid clique of commie bitchboys so vastly over represented in these debates?

    I refer of course to The Mandelbrot Set. Infinite evil in a finite space.

  2. Hi Incoming, I guess it's because they're all we're offered - left, more left and most left. Wouldn't it be great to see that pendulum swinging through the House of Commons?

  3. Yes GV with a very, very sharp edge to it!!!!

  4. Good film! Brown spreadeagled on the despatch box and Vincent Price with his hand on the lever :-)


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