DAN WOOTTON: If Boris thinks Brits are going to pay through the nose for green boilers and electric cars while the Chinese are burning coal like there’s no tomorrow he’s signing his own death warrant
Just imagine if Boris Johnson‘s pitch to voters at the last election had included the stark reality of his Net Zero by 2050 agenda.
GREEN PLEDGE 1: ‘Er, well, you’re going to have to get rid of your gas boiler – but don’t worry the replacement heat pump or hydrogen boiler (which probably won’t work very well) will only set you back something like £12,000.’
GREEN PLEDGE 2: ‘Oh, and if you want a new car, you’re going to have to upgrade to an expensive electric model, even though we don’t have anywhere near enough places to actually charge the damn thing at the moment.’
GREEN PLEDGE 3: ‘And we’re doing all of this even though China is going to keep destroying the environment with unrestrained zeal, but let’s just not talk about that.’
Just imagine if Boris Johnson’s pitch to voters at the last election had included the stark reality of his Net Zero by 2050 agenda
We’re doing all of this even though China is going to keep destroying the environment with unrestrained zeal, but let’s just not talk about that. Pictured: Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Hejin, China
Brits are an environmentally friendly bunch – the vast majority believe that climate change poses a threat that the government should be dealing with over time.
We’re happy to be leading the way internationally on a number of sensible initiatives to reduce our emissions.
But it’s a matter of degree.
I’ve been an environmentalist my entire life and have learned that doomsday predictions like the forecast destruction of the ozone layer can be reversed with human ingenuity and moderate policy changes.
But I fear that Boris’ zealotry on the issue is so out of step with his Tory base that it could end up his undoing.
Ordinary Brits are worried about keeping a roof over their head, feeding their family, being treated by the NHS and getting their children properly educated after a devastating 18 months that has caused brutal economic devastation to many.
And that includes the government books, which haven’t been in this bad shape in the modern era.
So where is all this money coming from?
Who will be paying for Net Zero? Is it you and me?And how is it fair that we’re having to shoulder this overwhelming toll when other major emitters like Germany, Canada, Australia, the US and – yes – China continue to drag their feet to say the least?
Boris prides himself on having a common touch but his messaging is so out of touch it’s like he’s the ventriloquist dummy for his campaigning wife Carrie.
In all seriousness, I don’t think our predicament is helped by the fact the PM is surrounded every day by privileged eco campaigners who think of little else.
Carrie is employed as a senior adviser to the ocean conservation charity Oceana.
And even Boris’ affable dad Stanley has been known to support the lunatic extremist fringe group Extinction Rebellion, which is currently intending to pursue a miserable strategy of never-ending civil disobedience to make life even more difficult for ordinary Brits.
We’re happy to be leading the way internationally on a number of sensible initiatives to reduce our emissions. Pictured: Heat pumps outside a house
Boris prides himself on having a common touch but his messaging is so out of touch it’s like he’s the ventriloquist dummy for his campaigning wife Carrie
I’m also sick to death of being lectured by privileged leaders who aren’t prepared to make the changes they’re attempting to enforce on the rest of us.
Cop26 boss Alok Sharma and his gaffe prone spokeswoman Allegra Stratton have both been forced to admit they drive diesel cars, even though they’re enforcing all of us to go electric.
And Sharma has been on a whistle-stop tour of the globe, burning up more carbon emissions than other celebrity eco hypocrites like Prince Harry and Leonardo DiCaprio, even though the government has insisted none of us should be flying anywhere for the past 18 months.
It’s in this context that Conservative MPs are rightly staging a fightback.
They’re well aware that it’s completely delusional to think this sort of eco extremism will be electorally popular.
This week Red Wall Tories have been privately seething about polling that shows their voters are much more likely to be petrol drivers rather than own hybrid or electric cars.
A leaked transcript of a WhatsApp conversation hammering minister Anne Marie Trevelyn was leaked to The Sun and shows just how worried the MPs are that the green policies could cost the party the next election.
Former minister Jackie Doyle-Price raged: ‘The reason we have won Red Wall seats is because Labour lost working class voters over decades as the party has become increasingly metropolitan. We won’t keep those voters if they see us behaving in the same way. We do need to get our approach to net zero right.’
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney added: ‘All the builders, mechanics, petrol-heads and even EV lovers across the country will be rolling their eyes at this ‘idealism’. Maybe the SpAds/advisers in No10 and certain departments should leave their protective bubble over recess and head ‘north’.’
Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith wrote: ‘It’s a hard sell asking people to make sacrifices when the rest of the world, China/Russia etc, are carrying on as usual. It can’t happen overnight – and others need to pull their weight, rather than us doing all the legwork.’
Perhaps this sort of pressure is starting to get to Boris.
The Times reported today that he is considering reversing a ban on the installation of new gas boilers from 2035, instead making the measure advisory.
There also needs to be a reversal of the over ambitious plan to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.
The problem is that every time Boris tries to implement a common sense change like this I have no doubt Carrie will insist on sleeping in the spare bedroom for a week.
But the PM’s domestic bliss should have nothing to do with him enforcing completely unrealistic and financially devastating policies on his people.
This quagmire is also one of the worries of having a failed opposition.
The Leader of No Opposition, as I’ve christened Keir Starmer, this week ridiculously branded Boris a ‘climate delayer’.
Yup, despite moving faster than virtually any other developed country, the bloke with the quiff wants us to do even more.
I’m not sure what he means exactly, but presumably enforcing veganism and banning all international flights for anyone other than MPs on ‘important business’ would be a good start for Keir.
And at the same time both Boris and Keir fail to utter the C-word – and when it comes to climate change it’s the only word that actually matters: CHINA!
Cop26 boss Alok Sharma and his gaffe prone spokeswoman Allegra Stratton have both been forced to admit they drive diesel cars, even though they’re enforcing all of us to go electric
You know the country responsible for 27 per cent (and growing) of all global emissions, when the UK emits less than one per cent.
It’s about time this government banishes the authoritarian streak it has developed over the Covid crisis and starts letting citizens make common sense decisions.
Educate us, sure. Give us the choice, absolutely.
But do not put us through such financially devastating measures until you ensure China will stop opening new coal plants by the month.
As Boris loves to point out, the UK has already halved our emissions in the last three decades.
Given our incredible progress, a big bang approach is unnecessary and, if he’s not careful, it could end up costing Boris his job.