+Craig MacKinlay is the Tory MP who chairs the so-called ‘Net Zero Scrutiny Group.’ This group is one of those inappropriately named bands of Tory backbenchers who come together to promote their hard-right agendas, such as the innocent sounding European Research Group or the Covid Recovery Group. These groups are formed to push an ideologically driven market-based (i.e. private, corporate) agenda, usually combined with a public policy sceptic worldview. That’s the view espoused by Ronald Reagan, which is to say ’governments don’t solve problems, governments are the problem.’ Our friend Craig has penned an article (or maybe his taxpayer-funded researcher penned it for him) on PoliticsHome saying how UK ’net-zero’ efforts must be diluted since “Recent polling has revealed that affordability and national security both rank more highly than meeting net-zero in the public’s list of priorities, so it is important that Parliament reflects those priorities lest we forget who put us here and why.”
Craig explains the philosophy behind his group: “Conservatism is about expanding freedoms, not closing them down. It really is that simple, and I’m confident that most of my parliamentary colleagues share this basic position. We have set five criteria as we assess net-zero proposals: do they enhance energy security; are they affordable; are they practical; do they protect the vulnerable; and is there a better way?” Here we note there is no questioning whether ‘net zero’ is actually a sufficient goal to limit temperature increases, there is no questioning whether government investment speeds up market development (as it usually does), there is no questioning whether long term investment in renewable energy reduces energy costs and increases security of supply—with less reliance on foreign gas and oil. There is no hint of whether there are related benefits to ‘net zero’ policies, such as health benefits. Poor Craig, he pleads for himself and his colleagues “I had no doubt when I set up this group that it would be controversial: I intended it to spark a national discussion but it is a sad reflection of how polarised the debate has become, with anyone questioning the plan deemed a “climate change denier”. This is just lazy and couldn’t be further from the truth, but it is this intolerance which has led to a Westminster groupthink and not enough scrutiny of net-zero.”
Craig is one of those who claims not to be a ‘climate change denier.’ He’s actually something worse: he’s a climate change denier fifth columnist, pretending to agree that anthropocentric climate change is happening, but in reality doing what he can to stymie policies meant to deal with it and at the same time he is promoting the development of new fossil fuel sources such as fracking. He is the lazy one, bereft of imagination to boot. And he clearly isn’t keeping up to speed. I loved this story from the Daily Mail (7/5/22): “Britain is predicted to have an excess amount of electricity by 2030 due to huge investments in wind and solar power, according to new analysis. An enormous amount of energy produced by renewable sources could go to waste within a decade without significantly more energy storage technologies, such as batteries and electrolysers to make hydrogen - according to LCP, a consultancy.” I am quite sure that storage will not be a problem by 2030, but no doubt the idiots in the Conservative Friends of Fossil Fuels, aka the Net Zero Scrutiny Group will be earnestly praying otherwise.
+It becomes clearer by the day that Starmer needs to go. Despite the headline gains in London (which outshone Labour’s losses there) overall the local election results were less than middling—hardly what you might expect for a government in waiting. Now I’m beginning to wonder if Starmer’s personal performance, e.g. over ‘Beergate’ isn’t some carefully crafted ploy to keep Johnson in place, possibly the only Tory leader against whom Starmer looks half competent. Or perhaps we’ll see the back of both of them. Couldn’t be any worse . .