Is the ‘Green Red’ dead?

Labour's former Climate Change Secretary has been quiet on green issues since his election. Effective opposition means holding the Government to account.

Our guest writer is Peter Ainsworth, a Conservative MP from 1992 to 2010.

As Shadow Environment Secretary I argued that the way that centre right politicians of a previous generation had allowed the Left to take over the environment, as a political issue, was a huge setback to all of us who care about the only place we have to live. I had a hunch that the Left didn’t really care much about the green space in politics, but occupied it simply because it had been abandoned by everyone else. The behaviour of the Labour Opposition since the last Election suggests, depressingly, that I was onto something.

Labour have been eloquently silent on the environment, doing damage to the progress of the green agenda, to their effectiveness as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and, in consequence, to their own credibility.

The centre right is reclaiming the green territory. When David Cameron said that the Coalition would be “the greenest Government ever”, I believed him. So far my confidence has been rewarded. Despite the huge pressures caused by the need to deal with Brown’s budget deficit, and despite the sceptics and the ever-vigilant Treasury, the green promises have so far emerged largely intact from the CSR.

We will have a Green Investment Bank, a Renewable Heat Incentive, a workable system of Feed in Tariffs for renewable energy, and – somehow – a comprehensive programme for home energy efficiency which will also address fuel poverty. I know that none of these is likely to be perfect, and that compromises have been made; but we owe the fact of their existence to initiatives launched by the Coalition Parties when in Opposition; a handful of Ministers who genuinely “get” the commercial importance of the green agenda; and to assiduous work by NGO’s and green trade associations. It also helps that the Prime Minister gets the point.

Where was the Labour Party when these crucial decisions were being taken?

The recent Party Conference season offers a clue. The Conservatives devoted a whole day to “Green growth”. Labour’s official conference programme planned no plenary session on climate change or greenery of any kind. The closest they got was a session on “Creating Sustainable Communities” at which Hilary Benn was one of five Ministers speaking. But did the agenda or the description of the days proceedings mention climate change or environmental protection once? Sadly not.

And what is the Shadow Chancellor up to? When Alan Johnson set out his own ideas about the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on 18th October the only thought that touched on the environment at all was that a loan to Sheffield Forgemasters should be re-instated in order to assist the building of new nuclear power stations. Great. By the time that he came to respond to the CSR statement two days later even that idea had disappeared from the script. It was left to George Osborne to make the point that, even in hard times, the environment matters.

And where, or rather who, are the Shadow Cabinet Members responsible for DEFRA and DECC? I don’t want to be unkind, but a Google news search reveals just two mentions apiece since their appointment – one of which reported the setting up of a fake Twitter page!

Having spent most of my 18 years in Parliament on the Opposition benches, I know that Opposition can be frustrating; but it is not hopeless. Indeed, it should not be. Effective oppositions don’t just prepare for the next election, but can and should shape policy. As the opposition-born campaign which led to the Climate Change Act illustrates, it is quite possible for Opposition Parties to make a difference by forging alliances with outside groups and across the political divide in Westminster. But they do need to make the effort. And Labour, it seems, isn’t.

The truth is that all Governments are coalitions, cobbled together from people with widely differing opinions even if they belong to the same Party. Ministers who want to promote green measures need support from across the political spectrum, and need to engage support from outside Parliament too. In this context, the Opposition can have real influence. Indeed, it is one of its essential functions.

But Labour seem to need to discover this; which is quite surprising, given that Ed Miliband made his political name on green issues and climate change. He was an effective Secretary of State, astute at building cross-Party consensus, and the progressive measures which he placed on the Statute Book (such as the Climate Change Act) had all initially been opposed by his own Government. He, of all people, should understand the difference which Opposition Parties can make.

Making a difference is not just an opportunity for Labour, it is a duty. Oppositions should help move forward the political agendas they value. It is Labour’s job to ensure that the Coalition actually implements the policies that will make this Government the greenest ever. It’s called “holding the Government to account” – an old fashioned concept, perhaps, but a vital one.

As one of the greenest members of the last Government, Ed will have used the pressure applied by Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to persuade his own Party to adopt progressive green policies. Maybe, having become Leader, he finds that there are too many distractions; maybe, under the influence of Trade Unionists (who in my experience have never gone out of their way to help the environment) he sees the green agenda as a low priority; maybe he doesn’t in fact care that much. We shall see.

There is an early opportunity to prove me wrong. On Friday 12th November the Commons will debate two Private Members’ Bill introduced by Labour MPs. One is to do with sustainable livestock (which I originally introduced at the end of the last Parliament); and one on sustainable food procurement.

Everyone knows just how vulnerable Private Members’ Bills are, but that is no excuse for not giving them a fair wind and allowing them to be debated in detail in Committee. As things stand, the Labour Opposition has been silent on both these measures, failing to lend support. Who are they afraid of? Do they actually care much? Even the “greenest Government ever” will need the help of the Opposition to achieve its objectives; they would never admit that of course, but it is true.

If, as I suspect, the Government does not support these Bills (Governments generally don’t like Private Members’ Bills) Labour at least has the chance to cause some embarrassment. That’s another thing that Opposition Parties are meant to do.

In addition to being a former shadow DEFRA Secretary, Peter Ainsworth chaired the Environmental Audit Committee. He is currently Chair of both the Conservative Environment Network and Plantlife, as well as being a Founder Member of the Robertsbridge Group.

41 Responses to “Is the ‘Green Red’ dead?”

  1. Shamik Das

    Is the 'Green Red' dead? Former Tory MP, Peter Ainsworth, writes for @leftfootfwd //bit.ly/c8DDRf

  2. Philip Painter

    It takes a tory to wake Labour up to green issues. //bit.ly/a00DAh

  3. Greg Lovell

    Wow! Yet more revisionism from the Tories. Green Bank – a Labour plan, which was intended to have considerably more funding in order to actually make a difference. Feed-in Tariffs – Labour’s initiative again.

    Coalition plans include scrapping the Wave Hub renewable project, selling off forests and big road building projects combined with huge increases in rail and bus fares.

    The two PMBs you cite are “Labour” bills and yet somehow this means Labour doesn’t care. I suggest Mr Ainsworth takes a look at the pre-election survey in which Tory candidates put the environment bottom of their list of concerns.

    Across the board, Tories are trying to rewrite history and it is very important that they are not allowed to get away with it.

  4. Jon

    “When David Cameron said that the Coalition would be “the greenest Government ever”, I believed him. So far my confidence has been rewarded.”

    By selling off half of Britain’s national forests to loggers under the pretext of the deficit? Brilliant. //www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/countryside/8082756/Ministers-plan-huge-sell-off-of-Britains-forests.html

  5. It doesn't add up...

    It is truly remarkable that the Tories can support a load of losing investments and extensive regulations designed to make us the least competitive economy in Europe a.k.a. green policy. Labour should seize the opportunity to oppose policy that will have such deleterious consequences for ordinary working people who can’t afford the nice gestures that the rich can make while eating another slice of holier than thou pie. Meanwhile the Chinese are looking forward to gouging us for the neodymium required for the generator magnets in all those windmills, and taking over the last vestiges of manufacturing.

  6. yorkierosie

    Is the 'Green Red' dead? Former Tory MP, Peter Ainsworth, writes for @leftfootfwd //bit.ly/c8DDRf >> Grrr! More twisting of the truth.

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Ion – The coalition got rid of your precious Third Runway at Heathrow and in one go did more for the environment than Labour did in 13 years.

    The only downside is that even with his reason for existing being fulfilled, we still have to suffer regular drivel from Joss Garman on this fine blog.

    Just goes to show you can’t have everything…

  8. Paul Foote

    It is undeniable that many of the measures mentioned in Ainsworth’s post stemmed from the last Labour Government. The Climate Change Act being an obvious and welcome success for anyone of any political persuasion that cares about the environment. Even things like the feed-in tariff (which incidentally was introduced as a Conservative amendment) would not have happened without Labour’s support.

    But the point I think he is making is that this seems to have trailed off. For example, ahead of the CSR, it was the Treasury apparently that was causing trouble over feed-in tariffs, the renewable heat incentive, the green investment bank (the list continues) and it was a group of Tories in Government, backed by the PM, who helped ensure they were saved. There was a tremendous effort from a number of outside organisations, NGOs and concerned businesses to put pressure on the Government and create the political space necessary for HMT to save a raft of green measures. But the Labour party wasn’t one of these voices. It would have been tremendously helpful to all of those campaigning to make the CSR greener if the Labour party had joined in. This is precisely the kind of pressure that governments need to keep them focused on the green agenda.

    I am sure that Peter Ainsworth understands the green achievements that Labour did make. But the point here is to ensure Labour makes the effort in opposition. This requires a vigilance and committment to speaking out on green issues that seems to have faded away since Labour lost power.

  9. Mr. Sensible

    I think this is more than a bit extraordinary.

    True, they’ve scrapped Runway 3 at Heathrow, but in terms of their green credencials that is probably about it.

    How exactly is putting rail fairs up by RPI +3%, allowing for more oil exploration of Shetland, and even at one stage threatening the very existance of the DECC, to name a few, green?

    And as someone else has said, what about what Tory candidates thought of the issue before the election?

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Greg Lovell – Who cares who thinks up ideas if they are good ones?

    If the last useless government had actually walked the walk instead of talking up a good job they may still be in power.

    Remember less social houses were built under a Labour Government – a LABOUR Government – than any other since World War 2.

    And then Labour complain when the government wants to stop rewarding greedy landlords with other peoples money in housing benefits.

    I say get a grip Greg and start supporting the Lib Dem’s before it’s too late…

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – As it currently stands the country needs to have it’s energy requirements met for future demand and silly wind turbines that only work when the wind blows are simply not the answer.

    If we want the incubators in the hospitals to remain switched on then everyone needs to grow up and get real.

    If we are going to need oil (and we are) and we have it available in our own territory are you seriously suggesting we don’t utilise that asset and instead import oil from overseas?

    Send money to foreign companies for something we already have?

    With that crazy attitude it’s no wonder Labour lost the last election…

  12. Chris

    @mousey

    LOL, your delusions get ever more grand and out of touch with reality mousey. When are you going to wake up to the huge turd you’ve soiled yourself with, the libs are and always have been opportunists but when it comes down to it will always choose the tories over working people. Your relentless and baseless attacks on Garman show your out to smear and discredit real greens and replace them with your simple minded yellow tory rubbish – “nuclear power is a tried, tested and failed energy source”.

    Labour refurbished more social housing than any government ever has through its decent houses program, they built hundreds of thousands of social homes and we’ll see how far the coalition gets with its nimby charter of a planning system.

  13. Martyn Williams

    @Paul – I think I might deny the undeniable and say that the Climate Change Act did not stem from the Labour Party, but from Friends of the Earth. It received much welcome support from both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and last (but certainly not least, as they were in power) the Labour Party. I’ve heard all parties claiming credit for it, and many NGOs too, but this is something I see as welcome rather than a bad thing. Who was it that said success has many fathers?

    The same thing can be said for Feed in Tariffs (a comment aimed at Greg this time). I remember seeing letters from Malcolm Wicks, then Labour Energy Minister, saying “a feed-in tariff is not appropriate for our liberalised energy market structure.” There was support for the idea across parties on the backbenches, but it is undeniable that in terms of formal party positions, the Conservatives backed the idea before Labour – just read Hansard.

    However, while I’m correcting people for getting it wrong, the honest truth is I don’t care who had the idea first. One of my favourite pieces of policy theft was Ken Livingstone in the first Mayoral election, who announced imediately after Jeffrey Archer dropped out in disgrace an “express bus” policy that was remarkably similar to Archer’s. When challenged in an interview he responded “well it was a good idea and Jeffrey won’t be needing it any more”. Quite.

    But if I don’t care who had the idea first, I do care that Opposition party’s realise they can make a difference. To any fair minded observers of climate change debates in the latter years of the Labour Government, the Conservative Opposition did this. The challenge now is for Labour to do even better.

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – My god man calm down – have you been on the cider again?

    Considering we buy electricity from France, generated by their own nuclear power stations, how can you say it’s “a failed energy source” – rubbish and you know it. Please explain how to make a wind turbine spin without wind?

    You may say we don’t know how to dispose of the by products of Nuclear Power but to describe it as “failed” shows how addled your mind must be.

    Labour sold off as many houses as they refurbished and please let me know where you get your comment that Labour built “hundreds of thousands of social homes” because you are just making things up again.

    Under Labour around 20K houses were available as social housing and the waiting list went up to 800K by the end of their time in office because around 500K houses were sold off. No one sold council houses like Labour – they loved it…

    The coalition is going to build more houses a year than Labour in all 13 years – nip over to see Roger’s blog here: //rogerharmer.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/10/22/a-real-boost-for-social-housing/

    And then head over here before it’s too late: //www.libdems.org.uk/join_us.aspx

    Join the winners Chris…

  15. Shamik Das

    Ah, the winners. You might like to check out this result in Cleggy’s backyard: //www.sheffield.gov.uk/your-city-council/elections/election-results/10by-elections/manor-castle-by-election – 11%. In Sheffield. Shocking.

  16. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – The turnout was only 22.38% – remember for the last 13 years Labour was telling us that local elections weren’t important while they were losing them.

    I accept the turnout isn’t an excuse though and I find myself in the unusual position of being corrected twice by you in one day. Which is a first.

    Tell you what though, in five years when the coalition cuts are long forgotten and the country is back on an even keel I’ll bet the Lib Dems storm in but we’ll have to wait for that…

  17. Damian Carrington

    Reading @leftfootforward Tory MP and greeny Peter Ainsworth tearing in Labour's new eco-team //bit.ly/9MehNp #eg

  18. william

    Seems to me the present government has a clear majority and deserves support on policies in the national interest, including building nuclear power stations.

  19. Liz McShane

    Anon:

    I am nearly lost for words re your comment that “….in five years when the coalition cuts are long forgotten and the country is back on an even keel..”

    As a famous, curly-haired, fantastic tennis player used to say: “You cannot be serious”….

    You really don’t believe this do you?

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Being a ginger myself (it’s the Irish side) I’m still laughing at Harriet Harman’s rodent comment which was classic : – }

    Danny Alexander leads to lighten up – it was a great comment!

    Anyway onto your comment Liz – two things spring to mind:

    You’ve never been lost for words since we’ve been communicating on this blog (I’d say it was because you’re a woman but then you may accuse me of not being a metrosexual male again so I won’t) and yes I do believe that the coalition will be thanked for sorting the country out. Which they will.

    It didn’t matter who was elected, the cuts had to come and now the myth of the double dip nonsense is over we can get on with tackling the deficit fairly.

    The problem Labour has coming is trying to justify giving child benefit to multimillionaires and the like and the “Universal Benefits” waffle is not going to wash with normal workers.

    That said I do think Ed Miliband is doing very well…

  21. John Ruddy

    Former Tory MP tries to re-write history on the environment //bit.ly/bBvmJs

  22. Chris

    @mousey

    “Considering we buy electricity from France, generated by their own nuclear power stations, how can you say it’s “a failed energy source” – rubbish and you know it. Please explain how to make a wind turbine spin without wind?”

    LOL, you don’t know much about libdem policy pre-coalition do you! The quote “nuclear power is a tried, tested and failed energy source” is in fact the policy on which your “winners” (it cheered me up no end on election night, you libs really won big…) went into the last election on. Isn’t it strange how you know nothing about what the libdems actually said before and during the election, almost as if the briefing note from Cashcroft doesn’t go back that far…

    “You may say we don’t know how to dispose of the by products of Nuclear Power but to describe it as “failed” shows how addled your mind must be.”

    Oh, Oh, Oh we have reached the limits of your knowledge, you really are a simple minded stooge, mousey – //bit.ly/dkBxAn

    I even found the video – //bit.ly/bwj6MU

    What was in the bong that Huhne was smoking when he said that, mousey? Maybe you could ask Huhne about wind turbines and how he thought they would work and how to dispose of nuclear waste…

    “Labour sold off as many houses as they refurbished and please let me know where you get your comment that Labour built “hundreds of thousands of social homes” because you are just making things up again.”

    Labour built 200,000 social homes according to full fact.

    “Under Labour around 20K houses were available as social housing and the waiting list went up to 800K by the end of their time in office because around 500K houses were sold off. No one sold council houses like Labour – they loved it…”

    Labour didn’t do enough to build social housing, they let the market decide and it didn’t deliver. However, the libcons are abolishing social housing altogether ffs; how can housing be low cost if its 80% of market rents?

    And to think you went around badgering your parents, co-workers and strange men you met in bars to vote for the “winners” when you didn’t know fuck all about their actual policies, its truly amazing how uninformed you are…its almost as if you’ve spent rather a long time in an institution, separated from the outside world…

    Game, Set and Match to me, now go play in the traffic!

  23. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – “Pre Coalition” means nothing. Like I said you’re living in the past. Move on. Labour used to care about the poor once…

    Your first link was from 2007. 2007 hahahaaha THREE years ago we’re in coalition now – means nothing. Like I said you’re living in the past. Move on. Labour used to care about the poor once…

    Same answer for your third paragraph…

    Your answer for the social housing where you blame the markets is exactly what I say about you excusing the faults of the last useless government – you’ve just done it again Chris – blame someone else – anyone else but not Labour…

    You see regardless of your rudeness and bluster the fact is I am only stating things that are true, factual and evidence based. You are either lying or excusing the record of that last incompetent bunch. The shame is the leadership is being honest so I ask did you see Ed Miliband’s conference speech because if we accept what you say then he is wrong about renewal.

    It’s over Chris – you lost the last election, you’ll lose the next in any event and if your attitude is typical of Labour supporters (and in fairness your opinions do seem to be unique on this blog) you’ll lose the one 10 years from now.

    This is supposed to be an “Evidence based blog” Chris and whilst I accept that with contributors such as Joss Garman (the Ed Miliband fanboy), Rupert Read, David Taylor and other delusional individuals, at least I think they actually believe the garbage they post but I believe you are acting dishonestly – you must be since I gave you links above that show EVIDENCE yet you still question it?

    Don’t go anywhere Chris – you had me at hello…

    hahahahaha!!!!

  24. Daniel Yeo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is the 'Green Red' dead? //bit.ly/bBvmJs <-Tory calling for Labour to make more effort to reach out on env.

  25. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – Just noticed you mentioned “actual policies” in your last paragraph but I’ve just been told elsewhere in this blog you are on record stating that you don’t believe party manifestos are important… WHAT?

    Have you stated this elsewhere Chris ‘cos I can’t find it… please elaborate – your postings are better than a Carry On film hahahaha

  26. Chris

    @moron mousey

    LOL, you’re slipping ever further into self-parody.

    ““Pre Coalition” means nothing. Like I said you’re living in the past. Move on.”

    How is the AV ref going to be won when you libs are running out excusing all manner of u-turns, misleading statements and downright lies with this bollocks. Your main theme during the GE was restoring trust in politics, it is a sickening betrayal to turn round and tell the electorate all previous commitments and policies are off the table because of the coalition. And not a good advert for coalition politics.

    “Your first link was from 2007. 2007 hahahaaha THREE years ago we’re in coalition now – means nothing. Like I said you’re living in the past. Move on.”

    The video was from 2009, the commitment was in your manifesto and has been restated many times. You clearly know very little about actual libdem policy, in common with a majority of people who voted for them; next you’ll be telling me the libdems are and always have been in favour of control orders.

    “Labour used to care about the poor once…”

    Is that the best you can come up with, I pick apart your demented ramblings and you come back at me with a bitchy comment based on nothing more than your own mental health issues. That may be what the voices in your head are telling you, mouse, but they don’t always speak the truth.

    “Your answer for the social housing where you blame the markets is exactly what I say about you excusing the faults of the last useless government – you’ve just done it again Chris – blame someone else – anyone else but not Labour…”

    Yawn…

    “You see regardless of your rudeness and bluster the fact is I am only stating things that are true, factual and evidence based.”

    For the thousandth fucking time, just because the demented voices in your head tell you something doesn’t make it true. As is always the case with mental health problems, the first step to recovery is to realise you have a problem; I thought you’d made progress mousey but it seems you’ve slipped back into believing your the sane one and everyone else in the world is mental. Perhaps you’d consider electric shock therapy as your next course of treatment.

    “You are either lying or excusing the record of that last incompetent bunch. The shame is the leadership is being honest so I ask did you see Ed Miliband’s conference speech because if we accept what you say then he is wrong about renewal.”

    Yawn, as I said consider the electric shock therapy.

    “It’s over Chris – you lost the last election, you’ll lose the next in any event and if your attitude is typical of Labour supporters (and in fairness your opinions do seem to be unique on this blog) you’ll lose the one 10 years from now.”

    LOL, I realise your extensive focus group work makes the voices in your head believe they understand the electorate but in truth focus groups made up of your parents, other window lickers and strange men you met in bars/public toilets doesn’t give an accurate representation of the electorate as a whole.

    “This is supposed to be an “Evidence based blog” Chris and whilst I accept that with contributors such as Joss Garman (the Ed Miliband fanboy), Rupert Read, David Taylor and other delusional individuals, at least I think they actually believe the garbage they post but I believe you are acting dishonestly – you must be since I gave you links above that show EVIDENCE yet you still question it?”

    Your one link was to a libdem cllr’s “blog” with a story I’ve seen on half a dozen other libdem cllr blogs, strange that, not exactly a non-partisan assessment of the coalitions housing policy. I don’t see how you can crow about policies that totally destroy the concept of affordable housing but in your mad little mind…

    “hahahahaha!!!!”

    WTF? I totally destroy your argument and provide links showing you know nothing of the actual policies the libdems campaigned on at the last election and the best you’ve got is hahahaha. You must be severely mentally retarded, as well as a paranoid schizophrenic, taking that into account maybe the electric shock therapy isn’t the best course of treatment. We’ll have to get a court order for your lobotomy.

    “Chris – Just noticed you mentioned “actual policies” in your last paragraph but I’ve just been told elsewhere in this blog you are on record stating that you don’t believe party manifestos are important… WHAT?”

    You’ve been told elsewhere? Where would that be? Was it the voices in your head telling you that?

    “Have you stated this elsewhere Chris ‘cos I can’t find it… please elaborate – your postings are better than a Carry On film hahahaha”

    I don’t remember saying so and you must remember there are other “Chris” commentators on this blog, including the one that was actually you pretending to be me.

  27. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – It is unlikely anyone on this blog or anywhere else would pretend to be you so don’t worry.

    Let’s try again and please be polite and drop the swearing in public forums. You’re not in the school yard now and there are young ladies reading this. (Liz I’m not being ageist – no metrosexual male ever would be..)

    We are not discussing the AV referendum Chris. We are discussing the way Labour talked about building social housing and didn’t.

    As a voter of Labour under Blair, I was “pretty sickened” when Labour brought in tuition fees and didn’t give the public a vote on the Lisbon Treaty and Blair didn’t serve a “Full Third Term” and on and on so don’t give me that sanctimonious waffle and please address the point YOU linked to regarding the Lib Dems PRE GOVERNMENT.

    2007. 2009 – you’re just making excuses for the last useless government’s shoddy record.

    Which part of that Lib Dem councillor’s post was incorrect?

    You’re still living in the past Chris and haven’t realised Labour has lost the election. Last go Chris.

    Did Labour increase the number of Social Houses available during their time in office?

    A simple YES or NO will suffice… (hahahahahahaha)

  28. Chris

    @contorted and illogical mousey

    “Let’s try again and please be polite and drop the swearing in public forums. You’re not in the school yard now and there are young ladies reading this. (Liz I’m not being ageist – no metrosexual male ever would be..)”

    Fuck off you rodent.

    “We are not discussing the AV referendum Chris. We are discussing the way Labour talked about building social housing and didn’t.”

    Actually we’re supposed to be discussing Labour’s environmental policies or the lack of them according to some tory party hack.

    “As a voter of Labour under Blair, I was “pretty sickened” when Labour brought in tuition fees and didn’t give the public a vote on the Lisbon Treaty and Blair didn’t serve a “Full Third Term” and on and on so don’t give me that sanctimonious waffle and please address the point YOU linked to regarding the Lib Dems PRE GOVERNMENT.”

    Yawn, you really are pathetic. As I said previously, the libdems aren’t winning anybody round to their views on coalition politics by breaking all manner of election pledges, manifesto commitments, etc.

    “2007. 2009 – you’re just making excuses for the last useless government’s shoddy record.”

    WTF does that mean? Somehow Labour forced the libdems to make commitments that they have now broken? Have they up your tranquillizer dosage?

    “Which part of that Lib Dem councillor’s post was incorrect?”

    None of it has been implemented yet so we don’t know what is incorrect but its the same old briefing note sent to all Focus editors to stick on their cllr’s blog or in the Focus. Only time will tell if they will actually build as many homes as they say they are but even if they do those home will be financed by the poor paying much higher rents. The policy of 80% rents for new tenants is disgusting and basically abolishes the concept of affordable housing in many areas.

    “You’re still living in the past Chris and haven’t realised Labour has lost the election. Last go Chris.”

    Yawn, is that all you can come up with? A line you’ve been repeating since May or “hahahaha”, you make a drooling coma patient sound imaginative.

    “Did Labour increase the number of Social Houses available during their time in office?”

    By the coalitions own propaganda Labour increased the number of social/affordable homes.

  29. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – I’ll ignore your rudeness – do you have Tourette’s by any chance?

    Last go (once again). Here’s the statistic:

    House building has been forecast to fall even further in 2009-10 to the lowest levels since 1923. Home ownership is also falling and Labour’s Housing Minister John Healey recently said that: “it’s time to give up the dream of home ownership”.

    Now do you agree with the facts Chris or do you need a hug?

    If you need to say “Just hold me” I will understand Chris.

    In any event you are simply wrong about Labour’s disgraceful housebuilding record and the fact they now want to give Housing Benefits to the greedy landlords – partially created by starving the market of new affordable homes is once again Labour supporting the rich.

    (hahahahahahahahaha)

  30. Chris

    @weird mousey

    “I’ll ignore your rudeness – do you have Tourette’s by any chance?”

    Grow a thicker skin you little pus filled troll.

    “House building has been forecast to fall even further in 2009-10 to the lowest levels since 1923. Home ownership is also falling and Labour’s Housing Minister John Healey recently said that: “it’s time to give up the dream of home ownership”.”

    Oh mousey, you made a big error and I’ve found you out you little astroturfing tory tosser! Put the above quote into google word for word and you get two results both of which quote the same *Conservative Party* press release!!! //bit.ly/cYJuCJ

    The top result is for the Lancaster & Fleetwood Conservative Association //bit.ly/bjUtlz

    It all fits into place now, mousey, your total lack of knowledge about even signature LibDem policies, your wild swings from working class socialist to high toryism. Your an astroturfing tory, stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

    “If you need to say “Just hold me” I will understand Chris.”

    WTF? Have the anti-psychotics confused your brain into thinking, while writing your comment, that you were back meeting strange men in public toilets?

    “In any event you are simply wrong about Labour’s disgraceful housebuilding record and the fact they now want to give Housing Benefits to the greedy landlords – partially created by starving the market of new affordable homes is once again Labour supporting the rich.”

    As I’ve now confirmed your an astroturfing tory it is easy to see the distinctive traits of a right winger, the total inability to see in colour everything in black & white displayed above for instance. Anybody with half a brain cell knows the majority of council housing was sold off under Thatcher at a massive discount, it made kulaks out of the council house dwelling peasants but once they sold up the communities disappeared and the BTL landlords moved in. As full fact point out here the effects of Right to Buy will take generations to make up – //bit.ly/cWxcVm

    Labour didn’t build enough housing, they did refurbish a lot, and carried on the tory policy of HB taking the strain. But this is all off topic mousey, like every thread you comment on you ignore the topic at hand and go into an anti-Labour rant making use, it seems, of Conservative Party press releases as your main reference.

    Like LibDems all over Labour heart lands in May and beyond, you’ve been thoroughly beaten and exposed as a tory astroturfer.

  31. Bryonny G-H

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is the 'Green Red' dead? //bit.ly/bBvmJs

  32. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – You’re doing it again – it’s called “Shooting the messenger”.

    Let me explain. Because you don’t like the message, irrespective of its truthfulness (in your case BECAUSE of its truthfulness) you smear and try to discredit the messenger but NEVER actually address the issue.

    Now can you PLEASE answer the point. It happens to be true (as we both know) and your bluster and rudeness can’t cover the fact that in this forum you are simply wrong. Again.

    I know you’re wrong Chris. You know you’re wrong Chris. Everybody reading this blog knows you’re wrong Chris.

    The trouble with the left is an apparent lack of intelligence and the rush to defend the indefensible. To try to say that Labour were simply continuing to let the “tory housing policy take the strain” makes it even worse.

    You are saying that despite you disagreeing with a policy in 13 years you did absolutely nothing to correct the situation – how weak is that?

    So finally Chris will you please answer the question. Did house building under Labour reach the lowest levels in this country since 1946?

    Go on you can do it Chris – everyone’s watching…

  33. Chris

    @mouse

    FFS mousey, your cover is blown, you’ve been found out, you are not the messenger your a pus filled tory troll.

    “I know you’re wrong Chris. You know you’re wrong Chris. Everybody reading this blog knows you’re wrong Chris.”

    LOL, I’ve proved your a tory press release quoting troll – aren’t you?

    “So finally Chris will you please answer the question. Did house building under Labour reach the lowest levels in this country since 1946?”

    Houses are mainly built by private companies, we entered a recession, private building companies stopped building so many houses.

    Your position makes no sense, you whinge and moan about Labour’s supposed big government spending yet you want the government to build houses?

    “Go on you can do it Chris – everyone’s watching…”

    Everyone now knows your a tory press release quoting troll, now go and play in the traffic.

  34. fr33cycler

    Any chance you two could set up your own blog to argue with each other? Then you could even do it under posts that are relevant.

  35. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – When did I say I wanted the government to build houses? I just want Labour Trolls like yourself to stop lying in public forums and swearing as well please.

    Just because Google using “house building under labour” comes up with that link as the top hit does not make me a Tory. It couldn’t.

    But lets try again Chris: Did house building under Labour reach the lowest levels in this country since 1946?

    I’m not interested in WHY it went down to the lowest level. Who was at fault blah blah Everyone reading this KNOWS you’re wrong – why not just admit it Chris?

    And by the way I hadn’t realised until PMQ’s today that the LABOUR position on Housing Benefit, written by Ed Miliband, was the same as the Tory one:

    ‘Housing Benefit will be reformed so we do not subsidise people to live in private sector accomodation on rents working families couldn’t afford’

    And that comes from a Lib Dem Chris: //peterblack.blogspot.com/2010/10/that-housing-benefit-controversy.html

    So I was wrong to say Labour wanted to reward the greedy landlords – they are simply hypocritical opportunists…

    I say you give up your pack of Labour lies and just join the Lib Dems before it’s too late…

    hahahahahahahahaha

  36. Chris

    @fr33cycler

    LOL

    @mousey

    Yawn, I’ve found you copying whole paragraphs from tory party press releases and yet still you persist, I’ll recommend heavier sedation for you at this afternoons shift change.

  37. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – So still no answer – typical New Labour troll.

    Case closed…

  38. Fay Tuncay

    I attended the Battle of Ideas event on Sunday at the Royal College of Art in London, “Can we trust the evidence? The IPCC – a case study“. The answer is unequivocally NO! [BTW Fora TV – The world is not thinking, was there so a video will follow] It was interesting to note that there were about a dozen empty seats – certainly not your usual ‘wall to wall greens’, indicating perhaps that the IPCC and global warming, has gone off the boil and is not such a hot ticket any more.

    In a sense, from the ‘greens’ perspective, this event was very much an opportunity for the them to publicly re-group, to wash their dirty linen, to acknowledge and confess the past sins of the IPCC and to say: “Okay the IPCC is guilty of overt cheating and made mistakes, but essentially the science is sound and we just want to put all of that ‘Climategate’ affair behind us and move on“.

    Essentially, this was the purpose of Fred Pearce (New Scientist), who argued this case, [and is obviously attempting to maintain his credibility and readership], and I must admit I do find him an able journalist, who sadly just hasn’t yet cottoned on to the fact that he has become a cheerleader for high-risk speculative capitalism i.e. carbon trading.

    He is still under the delusion that this debate is about the science, the climate and the environment, which of course we know it is not – it’s about carbon taxes, sucking the wealth out of Britain; it’s about creating a new carbon/climate change banking system [more taxpayers money going into the pockets of the bankers]; essentially this debate is about power, greed, and the conflict, within capitalism between, as I mentioned high-risk speculative capitalism (creating a fictious market for Co2) v investment capitalism (markets for industry and goods). The global warming/climate change/global climate disruption alarm movement will gradually wither on the vine as will the global temperatures, because – if any of you care to look at the data – the trend is just not there. We can expect 20-30 years of cooling.

    As a side note Professor David Harvey (the Marxist) recently gave a talk and touched on this topic – of the crisis of capitalism and the creation of fictious markets to soak up the massive increase in surplus value. And one cannot help but conclude that the creation of the global warming alarm movement has been the ideal vehicle for this. He also mentioned the in coming paradigm shift, the debunking of the ‘peek oil’ myth. So it might be worth “Left Foot Forward”, standing back from the wall of “climate change” propaganda and analysing the capitalist agenda and questioning whether the left has been co-opted by high-risk speculative capitalism, in the interest of preserving our few remaining democratic rights and freedoms, to say nothing of saving our poorest citizens from the imposition of pointless, but devastating regressive carbon taxes, which will have no impact on the climate whatsoever.

    I have a BSc Archaeology and Environment my politics are liberal.

  39. Roddy Campbell

    Given that the Climate Change Act was an Act of total imbecility, with no chance whatsoever of being achieved in any part, my confidence in Parliament to arrive at rational policies that make a difference at reasonable cost has stayed at rock bottom.

    The coalition has indeed done some sensible carbon-related things, in terms of reducing CO2 in a way that both maximises bang for subsidy-buck and takes note of our need for future electricity generation capacity, notably abandoning the Severn Barrage and clearing the way for nuclear.

    Finally, my old mate Ainsworth’s sadness that Labour have quietly dropped greenery is a little disingenuous – politicians always drop things that are no longer real vote-winners, and there is plenty of evidence, not only in the UK, that voters are a little tired of enjoying the expensive luxury of being ineffective do-gooding alarmists re CO2. Voters are not stupid, and no-one has provided a remotely effective policy agenda for cutting CO2 in an economically sensible way, especially since Copenhagen we have total confidence that no-one will follow our lead anyway.

  40. Mr. Sensible

    Mouse, I hear this all too frequently.

    Of course wind power is not the only source of renewable energy; solar power, tidal power, hydroelectric power, energy efficiency ETC.

    And I really don’t think it is wise to go deepwater drilling when I’m not sure we have learnt the lessons of the Gulf slick yet.

    And on the issue of housing, given that new social housing is to be financed by allowing councils to charge 80% of market rate, how can they be classed as “affordable?”

    And, call it ‘the past’ if you wish, but the fact is those pre-coalition views are what Lib Dem voters voted for them on.

  41. David Ritter

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is the 'Green Red' dead? //bit.ly/bBvmJs

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