The Conservative argument for dealing with climate change

It never ceases to amaze me to see Conservatives struggling with the notion of climate change, the necessary interventions governments are required to make to mitigate it, and attempts to stop it.

Owen Paterson, thankfully ‘only’ the Environment Secretary as opposed to the Climate Change Secretary, has caused a furore within environmental circles by saying that climate change will bring positives to the UK. Namely this will be due to warmer climates meaning fewer old people dying in the winter months, and being able to grow crops further up North.

The present trend from people who refuse to back measures to combat climate change is not to deny climate change exists, but rather to suggest it’s part of a natural process and that we should enjoy the benefits.

It’s just another step in the continual backwards shuffling the climate change sceptic brigade are forced into as the science gets stronger and stronger. It used to be all about sun spots and ‘dodgy’ hockey stick charts, now it’s about not denying it but subtly questioning the role mankind is playing in it, and stressing the perceived benefits to the UK. It’s the same people throwing muck to see what sticks and stop the necessary government action.

What amazes me is how difficult so many Conservatives seem to find acknowledging the reality of climate change. Of course, advocating strong government intervention goes against their instincts (though when it’s something that affects their own ideals they often become firm statists or advocates or government spending/action), fair enough.

But surely if they accept the climate is changing they should consider the potential consequences through a Conservative lens?

Consider this, if the UK gets warmer and we can grow more produce, what does Owen Paterson think will happen in countries that are already very warm? If they get warmer, and their crops start to fail, what will that mean for their countries?

Now, as technology advances no doubt anti-drought crops will increase in number, but it is generally considered that the effects of climate change will lead to an increase in crop failure. In some areas it will lead to flooding as well, affecting energy supply, crop supply and political stability.

Any politician should consider the potential fall-out from this, from an increased likelihood in civil wars as groups fight over scarce resources, to mass migration.

And we all know how Conservatives feel about immigration.

As a Conservative then, surely you should be in favour of climate change mitigation measures (if not measures to stop it outright) to reduce the likelihood of climate change-induced mass migration?

If there is such mass migration, where does Owen Paterson or similarly-minded Conservatives believe people will migrate to?

Paterson himself is advocating a vision of the UK as a sort-of Mediterranean paradise in the future, so isn’t it likely that many of the climate change ‘refugees’ (as you might term them) would try to come to the UK? Would the UK, as part of the EU and other international bodies, not be obliged to take at least some in to help cope with the mass migration?

Could our immigration system cope with a climate change induced mass migration? Could anyone’s?

When viewed this way, you can actually see Paterson’s views for what they really are – a denial of the reality of climate change, and a call to do nothing about it.

A true Conservative view of climate change would, I believe, argue in favour of climate change measures on an immigration platform alone, leaving to one side avoiding civil war, flooding in some areas, drought in others and crop failure all-round.

The fact that no Conservative actually seems to do this reveals their true opinions on climate change and the weakness of the green agenda within the Conservative movement.

Support the Bradford National Media Museum against government cuts @iloveNMM #iloveNMM

You’ve probably seen how the National Media Museum is under threat from fatal government cuts to the Science Museum Group’s funding.

Well, there’s plenty going on in Bradford from lots of people and groups who desperately want to save this jewel in the district’s crown.

If you want to get involved or help in any way you can, here’s how:

Sign the 38 degrees petition. This seems to be the biggest one so far, and is currently on 18,500 signatures from across the country. Sign it and show your support.

Sign the Telegraph & Argus petition. As the districts newspaper, they are throwing their considerable muscle behind the campaign to save the museum so sign that one too.

Like the ‘I Love Bradford’s National Media Museum’ Facebook page and share it to spread the word.

Follow ‘iloveNMM’ on Twitter, the twitter feed for the ‘I Love Bradford’s National Media Museum’ campaign.

Download the ‘iloveNMM’ twibbon for your twitter and Facebook avatars.

And one of the best things you can do is use the museum! Visit it, go see a film, look at the exhibitions, donate some money and have a great time showing your support for an excellent resource.

I’ll be going tomorrow to watch a pre-record of the play ‘This House‘, see you there!

Philip Davies MP forced to apologise after calling constituent a pathetic liar

The Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies has gotten himself into a spot of bother after a constituent contacted him via Twitter to complain that he had received no response from Davies on an email regarding the badger cull.

‘@Stoatsjackson’ said:

My email to my MP, Philip Davies, about today’s #badgerdebatereceived no reply. But then I didn’t expect a Tory to converse with a pleb

To which Philip Davies graciously replied:

@StoatsJackson Please don’t lie – I reply to every email on this and every other issue people contact me about. Pathetic.

Except he hadn’t.

After his outburst and a further exchange with the constituent, who insisted that not only had he emailed Davies via his website but had also received a confirmation email, Davies finally decided to do what he should have done in the first place, which was to check his emails.

Turns out he had been emailed by his constituent, and then was forced to reply with an apology for the delay, but not for calling him a pathetic liar, possibly because he didn’t realise it was the same person.

The constituent then, quite rightly, took to Twitter to take Davies to task and posted the email as proof.

This time Davies did reply, albeit in quite a mealy mouthed way given that he had called his constituent a pathetic liar:

@StoatsJackson I apologise and for the delay in doing so, but as I have demonstrated I always reply personally to all of my constituents.

By now the issue wasn’t whether Davies replied to emails or not, but calling his constituents pathetic liars. Understandably the constituent wasn’t particularly mollified:

@PhilipDaviesMP Yes you have. You’ve also demonstrated what little respect you have for your constituents. Sincerely. A Pathetic Liar.

Far be it for me to take too much pleasure in seeing Davies caught out like this, but in the Shipley Labour Party we’ve known for some time that when people disagree with him he can snap quite suddenly and become quite rude with people.

We’ve received correspondence in the past from someone who was insulted by him in an email. He branded them ‘completely intolerant’ and said that their statement to him was ‘idiotic’ before signing off his email, seemingly without a trace of irony, with ‘best wishes’. There was plenty of explanation in between of why he thought that, and funnily enough it was in a similar situation where the original email was actually quite formal and not worthy of such a hostile and aggressive reply.

In fairness, MPs often take a lot of abuse, much of it uncalled for and it’s only human to snap from time to time (That said, Davies did bring a lot of opprobrium upon himself when he declared that disabled people should consider asking to work for less than the Minimum Wage because they can’t be as productive as an able-bodied person).

What makes this issue so ridiculous though is that the constituent was being pretty reasonable, albeit with an aside about being a ‘pleb’ in reference to the Andrew Mitchell ‘plebgate’ scandal.

It’s Davies’ reaction that is so over the top. The arrogant belief that someone couldn’t possible have sent an email and not received a reply led him to immediately brand that person a pathetic liar before he even went away to check his emails to see if what they were saying was true. What sort of mindset does that reveal about somebody?

It’s no wonder the constituent wasn’t satisfied with his apology, which Davies gave squeezed in a larger tweet repeating his earlier points.

The simple fact is that if the constituent hadn’t raised his concern, a move for which his MP branded him ‘pathetic’ and a ‘liar’, then he may not have ever received a reply,

It would have been far better if Davies had just issued a full and gracious apology for insulting his constituent so gratuitously, but he obviously couldn’t bring himself to do it and in the end issued a rather understated apology.

It’s very difficult being in the public eye like an MP is, so I have perhaps more sympathy with them than most do. If someone called me a ‘c#nt’, as thousands of people did to Davies when he made his comments about disabled people and the Minimum Wage, then I’d probably snap at some point too.

What is so daft about this incident is that it was so completely self-inflicted due to his  arrogance and aggressiveness.

In many online debates he will often dismiss critics as fanatics, or ‘socialists’, or ‘the left’, even if they’re not making a party political point.

It was therefore, I admit, quite amusing seeing him get some sort of comeuppance after dishing out an insult one too many times.

Well played Mr @stoatsjackson, well played.

You can see the full Twitter exchange here.


The Telegraph and Argus has covered the story, which details the exchange here.

Philip Davies has also stepped in on Twitter, using the spat as an opportunity…to attack Labour for allegedly having no policies. No, I don’t understand it either. He then accused me of ‘flogging it for all it is worth‘, as if he was the injured party and not the constituent he called a pathetic liar!