Sunday, February 07, 2010

As CACC collapses, the Tories continue to fuck up

Professor Philip Stott has an excellent piece questioning the wisdom in George Osborne's announcement that Nicholas Stern would be helping them to draft their environmental policy. Amongst other things, Professor Stott resurrects a particularly cutting quote about the Stern Review which I thought would be good to place here once again.
"If a student of mine were to hand in this report [the ‘Stern Review’] as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail. There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make. [...] Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts.”

[The environmental economist, Dr. Richard S. J. Tol, Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin, Professor at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and Associate at Hamburg University.

James Delingpole headlined the news that the Tories were consulting Lord Stern in the following manner:
Cameron and his suicidal eco-rats clamber aboard sinking ship

Hardly a ringing endorsement, is it? Similarly disbelieving ejaculations came from EUReferendum, and Professor Stott opines...
Has Lord Snooty’s Sidekick Gone Stark Raving Bonkers, Readers?

So, what has happened to the Tories? Have they taken leave of their senses? Why on earth was Osborne even approaching Lord Stern in the first place?

Well, quite possibly they have.
But Osborne’s lack of political judgment and timing go even deeper. One cannot believe that the Shadow Chancellor has been so stupid as to make this now seemingly-unfounded pronouncement at the very moment when the Global Warming Narrative is collapsing on every front, political, economic, and scientific; when, in the US, even President Obama is retreating from from the cap-trade bill; when most of his own Tory party are highly critical of the whole ‘global warming’ scenario; when polls show that the public everywhere is increasing in its scepticism; and, when The Sun is once again flaring forth ...

On February 1, that Old Tory trooper, Lord Tebbit of Chingford, writing in the Conservative house rag, The Daily Telegraph, warned that “'Camp Cameron' should worry about the steady erosion of the Tory lead in the polls” - the latest YouGov product has the Conservatives on 38 per cent, down two points on last month. I am sure Tebbit is correct, and I can further warn Boy George that this latest nonsense over Lord Stern will not have helped one iota.

Indeed, Britain is now screaming out for a leading political party that will begin to talk real economic sense on climate change. That way, there might actually be some votes in the topic.

This is an argument echoed today by Burning Our Money; but as Wat Tyler also points out, there really isn't a credible alternative.
It's very difficult all this, isn't it. The horrible fact is, there isn't actually anyone we can vote for who will stop this happening. Sure, there are people we can vote for who will promise to stop it, but that's a different thing - under our grotesquely unfair first-past-the-post Westminster system of government, such people will never get the chance to actually implement their promises. Tyler's constitutional reform package includes separation of the powers and a directly elected President, but absent that, our real world choices are indeed very limited.

Which is why we will be out campaigning for the Tories again this time. They sure ain't perfect, and we share many of the Major's concerns, but in terms of forming a government to replace Brown's disaster, they're all we've got.

This is, of course, a damning indictment of our electoral system—but also of the people in this country. The simple fact is, in a weird fucking conundrum, that the only thing that keeps the major parties in power is the fact that people think that the major parties are the only ones capable of gaining power.

So, whilst Jackart may maintain that the Tories are simply the "shit that stinks least", do not be under any illusions that the Tories will, nevertheless, be utterly shit.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Very much so. A tory supporter I was talking to on Friday was in a rage at learning that, on a subject he contacted his local PPC about, the Tories were planning on backing the status quo rather than a vote-winning change.

They are quite unbelievably shite and yet still wondering why they can't hold a decent poll lead against the worst government in living history.

On climate change, the EU & personal freedoms, the majority of their supporters (and the country) want one thing, the Tories stick their fingers in their ears and refuse to listen.

bnzss said...

They've been out of power for 13 years. I'm pretty certain they don't give a damn what policy decisions they have to make, just as long as they get in power. In the end it always just boils down to pure tribalism.

Anonymous said...

True conservatives should be sceptical rational creatures by nature.
Is current conservative party policy thus.
Would this be a true statement or not ?

Get, into them !
And then all the fringe parties will surely follow.
Look at the tea party !
We have all had enough of this nonsense.
Gamble !

JohnRS said...

Since the whole scam started to come seriously unravelled I've been emailing CallMeDave and my own MP to press the case for them to drop the whole Green God agenda (but stick with anti-pollution, economically sensible recycling and announcing a rational energy policy so as not to scare the greenies too much). The first party to do this will reap major dividends.

All I get back is standard cut'n'pasted policy document extracts.

They reall y do seem determined to throw it all away.

The Stigler said...

Sometimes, you've just got to take the risk.

This is the best election in decades to go with your #1 choice rather than a compromise candidate. This isn't Foot vs Thatcher or even Blair vs Howard. We have two parties who are so close on policies that I'm just not prepared to place a compromise vote for the Conservatives.

Even if my risk doesn't pay off and Cameron loses, well, we get 5 years more of Labour, but on the plus side, the Conservatives ditch all the Cameronbollocks and we get back to a more rational Conservative party, while Labour truly finish themselves off for 20 years.

Jiks said...

Tories are being utterly useless on pretty much all fronts ATM.

For a while I thought their plan was say nothing and let Labour self-destruct ... however I'm now coming to the view the plan was say nothing as they had nothing worth hearing. I'll probably vote tory anyway but very grudgingly and not because I've heard anything that makes me want to vote for them, simply because under the current system they are the only viable chance to avoid more Brown. I doubt we will another election or a country left if that lot get back in again.

So basically Dave, not good enough, no clue what if anything you stand for, you appear to have no strategy and even your tactical decisions are direly inept, as witnessed by this Stern business for example. Tories, for gods sake pull your fingers out!

Mark Wadsworth said...

What OC says.

Plato said...

I sent Mr Cameron a WFT-are-you-thnking-of note when Climategate broke.

Hendry sent me a crap reply about why AGW was the end of the world, and last week Cameron's office replied at last - it was big on conventional greenery but still stuck to AGW.

Do these people not even possess O level biology or geography?

The number of *-gates is getting to long to recall, the two biggies for me are:

Africa-50%-less-water-gate in 10 yrs

Himalayan glaciers all gone in 25yrs-gate

Anyone with two braincells to rub together can tell both of these assertions are very highly unlikely

Old Codger said...

"do not be under any illusions that the Tories will, nevertheless, be utterly shit."

How right you are. Their policies appear little different to Noo Labor and their competence appears about the same. If they get in I fear they will destroy the Tory party. Their past economic competence will be completely destroyed.

The country is fucked whichever of the two main parties get in so we might as well vote for the party that promises more of the things we care about. Whilst it may not have any power the message might get across.

Anonymous said...

About 40% of the economic damage predicted by the Stern Report was apparently down to a single typo, which has now been quietly corrected in the online version of the document, but only in one place, so that the maths elsewhere in the document no longer makes sense.

Anonymous said...

The reference I meant to give in the comment above is here

woman on a raft said...

It was in exasperation this morning (Sunday) that I listened to Hague prattling like a 14 year old about 'the precautionary principle' as if that is going to impress anyone.

For a bloke I know to be rational, intelligent and educated, he sounded as if he were trying to promote a world government and was having a wet dream about being a beloved Bilderberger, saving the world and becoming a pin-up. He sounded as barmy as Mandy does at times.

DocBud said...

Have you got a link, woman on a raft?

DocBud said...

Found it:

JMT said...

The Tories are in a blind funk over "Climate Change".

It all seemed so easy a few months ago - just raise "green" taxes and maybe invent a few new ones.

The game has changed. raising "green" taxes now looks like a guaranteed way to put people of voting.

Now that UK taxation is based on the revenue from a product that we are not supposed to use(!!), where will the extra cash come from?

Team Cameron do not wish to win outright any more - just to finish well. A Lib/Lab pact can jack up taxes, get hurt in another GE within the year, Cameron will win, and we continue to pay high taxes.

The end of MMCC/AGW will not lower taxes - we are stuck with those for good.

Lola said...

"Indeed, Britain is now screaming out for a leading political party that will begin to talk real economic sense on climate change."

Or any fucking economic sense at all.

procrustes said...

The Tories' and climate change

neil craig said...

"Sir Nicholas Stern made a revealing comment in his OXONIA lecture of January 2006: "in August or July of last year, [he] had an idea what the greenhouse effect was but wasn't really sure".

Regretably "government expert" doesn't mean the person with the most expertise on the subject but like career civil servant Stern, the person most expert at saying whatever the government wants.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that a lot of the reason for the climate change legislation comes from the EU. Does anyone seriously expect Call Me Dave to confront the EU over anything?

The other thing is that there's a lot of apparatus put in place around AGW. Getting rid of all that is too hard for Cameron. So it doesn't matter what the country wants or what his party wants.

I certainly don't wish to see Brown in power for another five years, but the Conservatives don't offer anything much different.

woman on a raft said...

Many thanks, Doc Bud. (Sorry for non-reply, have only just come back).

Here's the quote from the Andrew Marr show from your link:


During our review of the Sunday newspapers, we were talking quite a lot about climate change, which seems to have become a very politically charged thing - it wasn't before, but it is now - and half a dozen or so leading Conservatives are said to be, in the shadow cabinet, pretty sceptical as to whether the science is right and whether we're being told the truth about climate change. Are you one of them? What's your view?


No, I'm not. I don't know who those people are, by the way. As far as I'm aware, everybody in the shadow cabinet accepts that there's a compelling case on climate change and a strong scientific case. My view is that we shouldn't demonise people who have a different point of view - you know there is a legitimate debate about climate change - but my own view is that even if you're agnostic, even if you thought it was 50% likely that the science is right, that there is manmade climate change, then that would be a sufficiently massive risk for the whole future of the planet and the human race; that you would need to take pretty drastic action and that we would need the sort of international agreement that was being looked for at Copenhagen. So simply on the precautionary principle, we really do have to take serious action to try to avert climate change. But much of that action in any case is good environmental practice, good environmental measures.

This appears to be the old argument that if you want to implement some reasonably good ideas, you should accept a whopping great fantasy over the top of it and then treat that fantasy as if it were real, even if it means adopting a lot of poppycock along with the few good ideas.

Thus: If you think the devil is only 50% likely to be real, then the that would be a sufficiently massive risk for the whole future of the planet and the human race that you would need to take pretty drastic action and that we would need the sort of international agreement that was being looked for at the Vatican. So simply on the precautionary principle, we really do have to take serious action to try to avert Beelzebub. But much of that action in any case is good ethical practice, good moral measures. So you should act as if God exists and not bother your head with rational ethics.

neil craig said...

Most people however decline to burn down their houses on the precautionary principle that God might exist & might like us to make that sacrifice. Cutting 80% of our fire making capacity & thus economy is, for most people, a considerably greater sacrifice than just burning down their house.

Earlier on in the Marr show during the papers review Marr said "4 shadow cabinet members" & one of the guests corected him as it being 6.

Jiks said...

Unlike certain other tory front bench types Hague is a bright lad so its particularly disappointing to see him coming out with this drivel.

No doubt this is the official party line so another meh for them again...

If only politicians would understand that admitting you might have been wrong about something scores more points than mindlessly repeating the same delusional bollocks in the hope no one notices the previously held view is untenable.

This is one of those rare situations where political expediency and doing the right thing actually call for the same action ... shame that the opposition seem incapable of doing either.

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