Tory bloggers need crash course in basic science

Teaching standards must be slipping, because the collective hivemind of conservative bloggers seem unable to grasp basic scientific stuff. According to Next Left the top 10 Tory bloggers remain unconvinced that greenhouse gas emissions lead to climate change, even though David Cameron, saviour of the centre-right, claims to have bought the argument.

This is no surprise. The ecological arrogance of those who think the planet only exists to supply them won't be diminished by something as wishy-washy as scientific consensus. After all, the free-market nutkins (most of whom are unable to work out that when Adam Smith talks of a market, he might not be referring to 21st century international globalisation, Ponzi schemes and sub-prime derivatives) never cared how many people they exploited, so why should they suddenly start caring about polar bears?

It's the same in the US, where Republicans are as united in their ignorance as our next Government's supporters are. The only thing funnier than watching Douglas Carswell MP declared environmentalism (the belief that shitting in the bath while you are sitting in it is a bad idea) to be equivalent to eating babies is watching American survivalists arm themselves for when Obama comes for their SUV.

In a desperate attempt to make a name for myself on the blogosphere, I present Richard's Law of Ideological Myopia:

  1. people with a vested interest in the status quo will be resistant to change, and
  2. the internet will provide enough information for anyone with half a carrot for a brain to justify any statement, no matter how plucked-from-their-arse it might be.

P.s. the answer to the question posed by today's image can be found here.

Revealed: the truth behind Tory support for South-East airport expansion


Last week Tory Transport supremo Theresa Villiers admitted in the third runway debate that a Conservative government would not rule out airport expansion in the South-East. This rightly confused many people: if there is no case for expanding Heathrow or Stansted, then where do the Tories want to expand? And why, if they are persuaded that climate change = bad, do they want to expand any at all?

I've been puzzling over this for several days now. If airport expansion leads to more CO2, and CO2 causes climate change, and climate change is bad news bears, then why support expansion? Then I had one of those lightbulb moments. I looked out the window and the answer lay in front of me: several feet of it, in fact. The Conservatives are supporting airport expansion because it's snowing.

Clearly all this snow could only mean that global warming was a myth; I mean, how can the world be getting warmer when for one or two days in winter we have a couple of inches of snowfall? Those crafty Tories must have checked the weather forecasts and worked it out in advance of the vote! Suddenly opposing Heathrow (where the votes are) and supporting airport expansion (because climate change is a conspiracy or whatever) makes perfect sense.

Tories rule out third runway


We’re through the looking glass people. I woke up yesterday morning to discover that the Conservatives have opposed the third runway, and are actively warning contractors that if they sign a deal with Labour it won’t be honoured under the Tories. What the bloody hell is going on?

A little background: as a child of the early eighties I grew up under a blue Government, and came of age under a red one. I still associate Conservatism with milk theft (not so bad: I was allergic to it) and very spotty six formers. At age 11, that’s about as evil as life gets. Only axing Cities of Gold could have increased my hatred.

But Cameron and Villiers have been tiptoeing around the third runway for some time now: last year’s Quality of Life Commission report opposed expansion, and there have been constant noises from Tory HQ on ‘economic arguments’ not yet being proven. But the industry is hopping mad and pushing harder than it's ever pushed before, so until the plans are six feet under, forgive me for not raising a glass just yet.

Tories are for turning

Laughing stock

Breaking news from the boys in blue: the Tory leadership have edged closer to a sensible policy on airport expansion, declaring yesterday that the economic and environmental case had not been made for the third runway at Heathrow.

Shadow aviation secretary Theresa Villiers told the Evening Standard that "The Government is set on building a third runway regardless of whether key economic and environmental questions are answered. However, they have failed to make the case."

Predict and it will be provided, part two

Keep us flying!

In an earlier article, I talked about 'predict and provide', a pro-growth transport policy model which has lead to self-fulfilling and exponential growth in surface transport. In this article I'll be looking at the Government's argument that Heathrow must be expanded to meet the growing demand for air travel, and consider if this is a predict and provide approach.

Let's quickly recap on predict and provide. Officials make a prediction based on current growth rates, and extrapolate future data. It is presumed that this demand cannot be checked (because demand is caused by forces over which the Government has no control) and therefore the space for the demand to grow into is provided.

Tory MP: scrap Manchester-London flights

Thomas the Tank Engine

It seems that Plane Stupid's call for domestic flights to be scrapped has not gone unheeded. Tory MP and former environment minister John Gummer called for Manchester-London flights to be scrapped, and said that passengers should take the train instead.

Sounds familiar. This was exactly Plane Stupid's message when it blockaded the domestic departure lounge of Manchester Airport back in October.

Predict and it shall be provided, part one

Criswell predicts!

You can call the Heathrow consultation many things, but there's one phrase the Government doesn't want you to use: 'predict and provide'. But what does predict and provide mean - and is it a fair description of the industry's unprecendented expansion plans? In the first of two articles, I'll focus on how a phrase that was once transport policy gospel fell into ill repute.

For years, transport policy was based around a growth model, whereby the Department for Transport would "provide road capacity where and when it will be required". This primarily applied to traffic growth - road building - and it was widely (and erroneously) held by civil servants that the "main drivers of traffic growth [were] outside policy control"; they felt that income was the primary driver of growth - and who in the 80s was going to suggesting reducing that?

Tories abandon green proposals

Cameron and a hoody

Timed to perfection: on the day that a Mori poll showed widespread support for the Tories green agenda, Cameron is rumoured to have rejected key proposals from his Quality of Life commission.

In a move sure to win him the votes of precisely three people in Orpington, Dave is reported to have ditched Zac Goldsmith's much anticipated moratorium on runway expansion (49% support), VAT on flights (37% for, 34% against) and instead focused on a 'per plane' tax, as called for by eco-anarchists easyJet.

Looks like the climate has gone out the window. Not to worry - I'm sure that having less 'death tax' to pay will more than make up for there not being a planet left to inherit...

Public support for Quality of Life commission

A report by pollsters Ipsos-Mori confirms what environmentalists have been saying all along: high levels of popular support for the green agenda.

The report, Public finds much to support in Conservative's new Green Agenda, explored a number of potential Tory policies, and found widespread support for green taxation: 62% of people support the 'polluter pays' principle, while only 10% oppose it.

Dave: It’s the Vulcan – or everything else

It is quite clear that the messages from Plane Stupid and the growing climate movement are starting to permeate the Westminster village.

Just two years ago, who ever talked about aviation and global warming? Now - it’s not only at the frontline of the environmental debate; it’s even at the forefront of parliamentary politics.