The policy announcements from the British Conservatives on the environment turn out- as usual- to be as badly thought out as ever- VAT on domestic flights and a "frequent flyer tax". I am a frequent flyer myself, and if there was another way to conduct my business, which did not involve bleary eyed, early morning flights then believe me I would do it- but as yet there is no substitute but for the personal inspection of a business and with it face to face meetings with management. The idea that something so vital to the investment process can be dramatically curtailed by these taxes is simply laughable- all you do is increase costs. Meanwhile, given the state of the railways in the UK, VAT on flights simply reduces efficiency and increases costs still further. In any event, flying is still a very small part of total carbon pollution, albeit a fast growing part. Meanwhile Conservative councils are those most likely to reject renewable energy schemes- and electricity generation is the largest source of UK CO2 emissions.
Then when you read the small print you see that the eye catching initiative is simply part of a multiple choice questionnaire- with no commitment either way. So, we still do not have any credible Tory policy on the Environment- and the sham of leadership that this lightweight PR merchant gives is is exposed once more. It is a disgrace that a serious political party refuses to do more than dip its toe into anything that might demonstrate what the party might actually favour, might actually believe and still less what they might actually do in office.
The Tories may be ahead in the polls- given the travails of this dying Blair premiership, it would be surprising if they were not- but this is a fragile lead, and the enthusiasm of the electorate for them is demonstrably tepid.
The Liberal Democrats are continually renewing and refining our ideas- we have genuine policy debates. We have definite green ideas, which cover all of our policies. We have a point of view, which the electorate can agree or disagree with.
After this latest display of political cowardice from the Conservatives, it may not be long before their flimsy and insubstantial shadow cabinet is challenged to show some back bone - the genuine political courage that marks out what leadership is -or to get out.