Monday, March 12, 2007

Who's Winning The Green War?


Well, they've gone head to head. Cameron and Brown have both unveiled 'green' policies today which means, in theory, that the green lobby is in a win-win position at any rate.

David Cameron revealed a well trailed policy to use taxes on domestic airline flights as a way of reducing our national 'carbon footprint', and encouraging us all to think about our travel habits. Gordon Brown, meanwhile, proposed a less high profile set of measures, including the need to make homes better insulated and the phasing out of 'standby' buttons on electronic goods. Fascinatingly, it is Cameron who has risked voter wrath by going for an unpopular tax option, while Brown has opted for a more voter friendly option. This may have something to do with recent polling evidence, for instance by yougov, showing that Brown is still perceived as being on the left wing on his party and so cannot afford to generate the wrong image re. taxation, while the Tory Party is still seen as being very right-wing, with a more moderate Cameron doing all he can to challenge the perception of an 'uncaring' party. So there are good polling reasons for the respective standpoints, but hopefully some principles as well.

In Cameron's case, the initial reaction to his proposals has been far from warm. He has achieved the unheard of feat of uniting Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in opposition to his proposals, while Murdoch's continuing love-in with New Labour was seen in the 'Sun's' negative reaction. In his own party, too, Cameron faces the anger of the not inconsiderable number of low-taxers, so perhaps, after all, he is following principle more than expediency in his now relatively long-lived green agenda.

BBC Report on the Brown policies, and comparison with Tory ones, is here.
Peter Kellner in First Post writes about Cameron's gamble here.
The website Conservative Home shows some of the diehard Tory reaction here, particularly with regard to the tax agenda.

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