Shortly after I posted about eco-fascism yesterday, the UK government issued its widely anticipated 2025 ‘carbon’ budget (you’ll note the usual omission of the word ‘dioxide’ between ‘carbon’ and ‘budget’, all the better to conjure up images of pollution, soot and all that nasty coal that we’ve been told to hate rather than the essential, invisible, benign gas that carbon dioxide is).
Chris Huhne, our beloved Energy & Climate Change Secretary has decreed that by 2025, the UK will reduce its carbon (dioxide) emissions by 50% compared to 1990 levels. That he can find the time – between seducing lesbians – to save the world by debating with such diverse groups as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the World Wildlife Fund before doing exactly as they tell him is testament to the man’s vitality and sense of purpose. It almost certainly explains why his ex-wife, rather than he, had to speed through Essex on that night in 2003 at the same time she was at a meeting in London…
But this is not an excuse to take a couple of cheap shots at a man from a party that we didn’t vote for, living the high life while running a ministry determined to drive Britain back to feudal third world status; oh no. Nor is it to repeat the fact that a 50% reduction in UK CO2 emissions (the largest reduction planned by any country) will have no discernible impact on the global climate because (i) there is no proven, observed, causative link between CO2 and global climate and (ii) 50% of next to nothing is really quite close to nothing at all (trust me, I’m a mathematician).
I’m not even going to make the obvious point that adding taxes and unneccessary infrastructure costs to the already high price of energy will drive industry and jobs to countries where turkeys are less inclined to vote for Christmas or Thanksgiving. (With regard to this – not that those of us who think need much persuasion on this point – consider the impact of high energy costs in light of this little snippet from the latest edition of ‘Private Eye’: incredibly, the Royal Air Force flies its transport aircraft to France for re-painting because France has a less rigorous view on enforcing the EU’s COSH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations. If disregarding a set of regulations can make sufficient savings to justify flying aircraft to another country for a re-paint, imagine the exodus when the cost of almost everything we do is 50%+ more expensive than in other countries due to our feed-in tariffs, renewables obligations certificates, carbon (dioxide) pricing, taxpayer funded subsidies, green police (I hope I made that one up – but it won’t be long – etc, etc).
No, the point of this post is to address an interesting question raised about the UK’s climate policy by Dave_G over at Autonomous Mind‘s blog. He said,
The UK is run by the mandarins – the politicians are the front-piece and take the flak – but the mandarins have, in years past, maneouvred British policy on a timescale and with such agenda that most people fail to see; any benefits (or failures for that matter) won’t come to light for many years. Surely, surely the politicians can’t be THAT blind, can’t be THAT stupid, can’t be THAT mis-informed. Surely there has to be some (cunning) ‘plan’ that requires these seemingly-suicidal actions?….can anyone offer any inkling of what could, just could, justify this madness?
I responded by making the point that I didn’t think anything could justify what was happening but I offered a couple of possible explanations.
There’s greed of course: as I suggested in yesterday’s blog, we live in an age when the redistribution of wealth has produced Victorian levels of income disparity as we squeeze the middle class and make the poor poorer by grabbing their assets all in order to subsidise the rich. One obvious manifestation of this is the fact that in the UK, salaries for Chief Executives of the FTSE companies are now 145 times higher than the average wage and 324 times higher than the minimum wage. Whether anybody (other than you or I, of course) is worth £72,000 a week is for your conscience to decide: as those who do benefit include many of the people responsible for the current financial crisis, I think it’s fair to say that salaries are not always meritorious. What seems indisputable, though, is that the Climate Change Act’s cost of £760 pa per household is small change to somebody earning more than £72,000 per week but to somebody on minimum wage of £222 per week, it is a considerable burden. Unlike politicians who pay lip service to voter accountability, the mandarins have absolutely no responsibility to the voter: his actions almost invisible, the mandarin’s interest is driven by supporting business propositions, not on their merits but on the basis that a suitably remunerated boardroom position will become available to supplement his gold-plated pension through an agreeable early retirement. Having successfully created the moral panic that has enabled so much money to be poured into useless renewables, it seems obvious that manadarins should be keen to talk up and perpetuate an industry that is guaranteed billions with which to reward a few well-connected consultants. And all this for describing a gas essential to life as a pollutant! You almost have to admire such chutzpah…
So there’s greed and the very tempting proposition (to politicians) of taxing the air we breathe – the greenies are already pushing for individual carbon (dioxide) budgets.
But I believe there is another, more pressing concern occupying the collective minds of the establishment. I’ve previously suggested that we have moved into a post-capitalist era: much of our wealth production is now done by machines and while the headline employment figures might suggest a relatively minimal problem, the truth is that more than 50% of UK jobs are now in the non-productive public sector. There is a limit to the extent to which the wealth-producers can subsidise the rest and I suggest that we have passed that point. More than 60% of graduates, burdened by tens of thousands of pounds in student debt, have failed to find anything other than McJobs; we currently have approximately 5 million people seeking work and fewer than 500,000 jobs – mostly at minimum wage; for many years, we’ve had an exaggerated idea of our wealth as we’ve been fooled by the ponzi money in our now discredited housing market and only today, we discover that all the National Insurance payments we’ve been making to provide for healthcare and to see us through old age have vanished into the general taxation pot.
But don’t be fooled: it isn’t embarrassment at their mismanagement of the country and our money that concerns the departments of state – it is control. The capitalist model has proved to be a very effective means of controlling the population: 8 hours+ work a day wearies us and distracts us from revolutionary thoughts and actions. Now that machines have largely supplanted us in the workplace, we have the potential for ‘dangerous’ thinking time and subversion. By returning us to inadequate energy supplies and subsistence living, the people are, once again, too busy with survival to trouble the control of the ruling class.
The upshot of all this is the realisation that in a post-capitalist world, we represent a nett loss in our masters’ resources columns; we are surplus to requirements. The eco-fascists’ desire to reduce the world’s population to no more than 1 billion souls looks less and less like empty rhetoric.
But there is an upside.
Chris Huhne is getting his collar felt.