Net Zero and Progressive Politics

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

A friend reckons that green policies are about to be rumbled and the time is coming when the public, or perhaps a particularly well-connected, noisy part of it, will "rise up" and be counted.  He's not some Marxist shrill, just someone who's skeptical about green panaceas.  And he's not alone as I read more and more articles throwing cold water on exaggerated claims, promises and greenwashing.

My friend reckons that the deadline on the sale of petrol and diesel cars will have to be put back or maybe just abandoned.  This is, in part, because the roll out of charging points has been so pathetic – there is now one for every 30 EVs on the road compared with one for every 16 at the start of 2020.

But it's also because the public seems to have fallen out of love with the practical idea of EVs.  Too pricey; even the smallest electric car starts at £30,000.  Too limited in range; unless you buy an über expensive SUV.  Too inconvenient; if you've not got a private drive.  Too difficult in Winter; when charging and running only gives you some 75% of what you get in Summer (and where do you find that in a handbook). Etc, etc.

And as for the larger picture – net zero by 2050; well, forget it, my friend thinks.

The trouble with being a progressive government (one that overtly presses a social justice agenda) is that you necessarily find yourself ahead of the electorate; that is, rather than meeting their needs, you're usually in the business of telling of them what those needs are.  This often means telling them that they're wrong about things they thought that they knew to be right.

It can be a tricky spot, and so there's an art to being both progressive and effective.  Those who pioneered homosexual law reform some 60 years mastered it.  Those lesser minds promoting the "daft ideology" that was Scotland's gender recognition act did not.  Here, the government was so far ahead of the people that they were actually out of sight; a condition that might be characterised as hubris.  When nemesis arrived in the impossible form of a female rapist draped in fetching pink, the newly-hapless First Minister was suddenly gone, new clothes and all.

So, is net zero by 2050 hubristic as well?  More later on ...

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • Conservative politics is very much a futures-oriented, world-building project too. Just ask our US conservatives who have been working to roll back civil rights for decades and now have a whole bunch of institutional capacity that they're capitalizing on against the majority of the population here. Successful political movements create the world they want. There's nothing specific to ideology here.