Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, two contenders to become PM without troubling the electorate first, were both on Sunday Morning this Sunday morning. As part of a quick-fire round of questions, Sophie Raworth asked both if they were in favour of Net Zero by 2050.

Both were, monosyllabically. Unconditionally. Unequivocally.

But there seemed to be a haunted look in their eyes as they affirmed their faith. To me, dunking a croissant into my filter coffee, it said “If I repudiate Net Zero, I’m finished.”

Maybe, I thought. But if you are finished by repudiating Net Zero, the rest of us are damned by you endorsing it. At least, we are if you are the one who elbows all your fellow contenders out of the way and collapses gasping next to the No. 10 foot-scraper, yelling triumphantly as the first one to touch the hallowed black paint on the front door of the First Lord of the Treasury.

And yet both The Saj and The Jeremy were instantly willing to also sign on to the inhumane idea of exporting our migrants to an African country that (I judge) fewer than 10% of the UK’s folk could point to on an unlabelled map. Especially if there were no lines delineating the countries.

It occurred to me that as the list of candidates for PM lengthened, I had simply assumed that all were similarly monosyllabic in their support for apparent over real virtue, i.e. that all would be happy to condemn the UK to sliding out of the first world into the decaying swamps of the post-civilised world to deflect the risk that somebody, anybody, some guy, a nobody, out there in the darkest depths of the internet would jab a finger at them Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style, and yell out “Denier! He’s a climate denier!”

To test my theory I decided to do a brief trawl through the news to see what the contenders have said about the existential threat of the climate crisis, or whether they perhaps snorted that wind turbines “couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.” (No, that was not the sun rising you saw on the horizon when Boris tap-danced into 10 Downing Street.)

The following list of candidates comes from the BBC. The text beside each name comes from a cursory internet search (sources below the table).

ContenderHow Not Zero Are They?
Kemi Badenoch“Another worry is that Kemi Badenoch, who is also running for leader on an “anti-woke” platform, also this weekend came out against net zero by 2050”
Suella Braverman“The attorney general, Suella Braverman, this weekend vowed to suspend net zero measures, saying: “In order to deal with the energy crisis we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth.””
“However, she has never tweeted about climate change or nature…”
Jeremy Hunt“Mr Hunt said: “Now more than ever, in light of the global gas crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s vital we decarbonise the UK’s economy by 2050.”
Sajid Javid“Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: As a health community, we cannot simply sit on the sidelines – we must respond to climate change through urgent action, with global collaboration at its core. I am delighted that all 4 UK health services are pledging to become net zero and it is brilliant news that dozens of countries have joined the UK in committing to reduce carbon emissions from their health systems – significantly cutting greenhouse gas output around the world.”
Penny Mordaunt“However, climate change is a global issue which requires global action. We must act now, so worldwide we are better prepared to deal with future extreme weather events. If we don’t the consequences could be devastating.”
Priti Patel“The recent anti-fracking protests in Balcombe have shown how parts of the green lobby and its eco-extremist followers have lost all interest in reason. Their dogmatic obsession with opposing efforts to take advantage of new fuel sources, threatening behaviour and acts of civil disobedience not only costs taxpayers money in policing costs and property damages, but it also exposes their naivety and the green lobby’s inability to make credible arguments.
“If the green lobby genuinely believed in tackling climate change they would be more open minded to the benefits of extracting shale gas in the UK.”
Grant Shapps“Shapps – like so many of his predecessors – repeats the fairytale promise that we will all be enjoying walking and cycling for almost half of all trips in our cities and towns by 2030. But there was not a single penny in his plan to support this. The current budget of £0.4bn per annum is a tiny fraction of the £8bn the UN says we should be spending annually on walking and cycling by 2025: 20 per cent of the total transport budget.”
Rishi Sunak“Worryingly for people concerned about the environment, Mr Sunak has made it clear he won’t borrow to tackle the climate crisis because he needs to mend the government’s finances.”
Liz Truss“As environment secretary from 2014 to 2016, Truss criticised solar power on agricultural land as harming food security, a claim that wasn’t backed up with evidence. In her current role as foreign secretary, she was recently reported to have ordered foreign office officials to focus international aid on girls and women rather than climate change.”
Tom Tugendhat““Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face and I fully appreciate the urgency in our need to combat it,” wrote the former journalist and British army officer in January 2020.”
Nadhim Zahawi“Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘We are delivering a better, safer, greener world for future generations and education is one of our key weapons in the fight against climate change. The entrepreneurial, can-do spirit of this country makes me confident that we will win this fight. ‘”


It’s hard to be sure but it seems to me that not many have their heart in the green stuff. It’s more a box that has to be ticked. For some it was hard to find a definitive statement about/by them: for Priti Patel, for instance, all I could find were stories about her “tough” approach to XR protests.

And by the way, the Indy’s comment piece on Shapps (not my favourite person, as you may know) has to be read to be believed.


Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman – The Guardian

Jeremy Hunt – The Independent

Sajid Javid – Health Dept

Suella Braverman (2nd excerpt), Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat – New Scientist

Penny Mordaunt – Some Random Gov’t Dept

Priti Patel – Desmog

Grant Shapps – The Independent

Rishi Sunak – BBC

Nadhim Zahawi – EYE

Bonus Quote:

It bears noting that Defra Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith has publicly stated that he believes most of the likely contenders for Party leader are “people who, on the whole, couldn’t give a sh** about climate and nature”.

Lord Goldsmith added: “I have numerous texts from very well-known environmentalists who are shrieking publicly about Boris but who accept privately that his departure is likely very bad news for nature and climate”. These statements came after an earlier tweet from Goldsmith, posted ahead of Johnson’s resignation, in which he stated that the resignation would “most likely” mean the end of the UK’s “leadership on climate and nature”.



  1. Well stated:
    “But if you are finished by repudiating Net Zero, the rest of us are damned by you endorsing it.”
    Energy is life.


  2. Whereas I appreciate the effort you have made I doubt that the evidence you have provided is definitive enough to judge the contestant’s true feelings about net zero. In many cases those views are seen through the prism of the ministry administered so it is difficult to judge what their overall position about net zero is.

    In any case I doubt very much whether their position re net zero will have much bearing upon who will be anointed.

    Anyway thank you for the warning that Hunt and especially Javid are Venusian Treens, deadly enemies of Dan Dare.
    Bald, check,
    green, check,
    evil, perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alan: Agreed on the first paragraph. But it’s not just their “true feelings about net zero” that matters, it’s whether they have the courage and skill to confront and outmanoeuvre the vast vested interests by now supping at the climate trough, the nouveau crony capitalists of the pseudoscience movement.

    In any case I doubt very much whether their position re net zero will have much bearing upon who will be anointed.

    That I disagree with. Tory MPs are turning out to be more climate sceptical than I had realised. This issue will it seems have a lot of bearing on which two candidates get put forward to be voted on by party members. Both a positive and negative bearing, no doubt – but the Tory green lobby is proving to have rather less oomph than the BBC and Guardian had led me to believe. I think it’s all those excerpts I’ve been reading from Mark Hodgson 🙂

    It’s almost as if in brave social media efforts like Cliscep we haven’t been banging our heads against a brick wall quite as much as we thought. The message has been getting through.


  4. Richard, I missed those comments at the time because I was listening to Sibelius (having been reminded of it by Brian Cox on Newscast the other day) while delving in the murky waters of the Guardian and Indy, just so others didn’t have to.

    Alan, the internet has a lot of information, but it is sometimes difficult to find the bits you are looking for. And there is choice even in the official soundbites from government communiques. Comments made out of government have no excuse.


  5. By Sibelius and “it” I meant Symphony No. 5 in E-Flat Major. After that I went to No. 2, which everyone is familiar with whether they realise it or not.


  6. JIT. I now realise that my statement about views being viewed through a ministerial prism was ambiguous. What I meant to imply was that most of a minister’s statements upon net zero, or indeed any subject, would be heavily influenced by their ministry. In fact I would argue that you had the greatest difficulty finding relevant quotations about net zero from ministers with departments having low to no involvement in the subject.

    Richard. My thoughts are that a contestant’s opinions upon future tax policy will overwhelm everything else. Conservative Party Members know this, as do MPs.


  7. John, sorry, but Climate Only Connect has been overtaken by Claudia Winkleman’s One Question to which any answer involving climate change is automatically wrong.


  8. Alan,

    COC is my baby and I shall never stop boring you with it.



  9. Alan:

    My thoughts are that a contestant’s opinions upon future tax policy will overwhelm everything else. Conservative Party Members know this, as do MPs.

    Strangely enough I’ve just seen that Mr Cummings answered someone about this very thing on the weekend. Note the disclaimer at the end. When he was running Vote Leave he was polling on everything.

    don’t think theyll decide just/mainly on tax – obv depends on final 2 but if a Remain v Leave, v hard for Remain.

    also i think media assumes members know which side everyone was on and i dont think they do. e.g i think many members think LT [Liz Truss] was Brexit and when they discover truth will change minds.

    But im not polling it and you only know if youre polling!

    I kinda disagreed too but wasn’t confident enough to offer further opinion. It’s a very complex process to predict.


  10. More broadly, I think the four areas elucidated by Julia H-B are important to a fair few Tory MPs

    Net Zero she puts second. She’s agreeing with Cummings on the first.

    That’s not to say tax is unimportant either. Complex business.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Richard. I don’t believe Cummings is a consistent sage: worth considering but not always correct. Interesting that there seems to be no forgiveness for once holding remainder views.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Alan: Cummings himself says “you only know if you’re polling”. So he knows he could well not be correct.

    The forgiveness issue is an interesting one. What counts is how inclined Tory MPs then Tory members (which like Cummings I’ve never been) are going to be to forgive in this area.

    I admire a lot of people who voted Remain. Danny Finkelstein would be one of those. His interview of the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland about his book on Rudi Vrba was deeply influential on me last month. Others not so much. I think most Tories feel the same way. It depends how good people were in accepting the will of the majority, which Danny did.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I thought it might be a good idea, when trying to assess where leadership candidates stand on net zero, to see how they voted on the Climate Change Act. However, despite the fact that it’s just 14 years old, of Jit’s list of candidates, only Hunt and Shapps were MPs at the time. So the rest don’t have to ditch their voting record to ditch net zero if they want to.

    Of course, while ditching net zero might well play well in red wall seats, at the next general election, which must take place in less than two and a half year’s time, I think we can guarantee that opposition forces would join hands to get rid of an anti-net zero PM with a view to reintroducing it asap. They’ve never got over Brexit. There’s no chance that they’d get over ditching net zero!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. These politicos sound like deer caught in the headlights. Or more precisely, like an ancient Semite caught by the Gilead tribe, who demanded they pronounce “Shibboleth” correctly to be identified as friend, not enemy. Obviously they are in need of coaching, and we skeptics are just what they need.

    For starters, you sidestep the narrow loyalty oath, and open up the larger context. Like this:

    “You’re raising one aspect of energy policy. So let’s be clear: Energy policy is about achieving core objectives – security of supply and decarbonisation – and achieving them at the lowest cost. Neither will be met by purely private markets, since the former is a public good and carbon is an externality not properly integrated in competitive markets.

    Furthermore, energy is a primary good for citizens: not to have energy deprives people and businesses from access to the wider economy and to society. It is a core USO: a Universal Service Obligation. That is why energy cannot be treated like any other commodity, as some believe.”

    We can’t be one-dimensional to get this right. Security of supply sits in this decarbonisation context, and because many of the options on the generation side are intermittent, security of supply takes on a much more demanding dimension – not just the old question of access to fuels and power, but the ability to handle large-scale intermittency.”

    That should be enough to gag the journalist, but if you need more, go to Dieter Helm’s Energy Policy paper:

    My synopsis:

    Seeking Climate and Energy Security

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Just one line from The Times this morning:

    A poll found that Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch were the favourite candidates of Conservative members, with Sunak third.

    News like that about Badenoch will increase the plotting from crony capitalist Tories that she doesn’t make it into the top two. Mordaunt, based on the quote Jit dug out, isn’t going to rock the boat so much.


  16. From the BBC live page on the leadership election at 12:27pm

    Watch: We can’t run away from the truth, says Badenoch

    Kemi Badenoch says she wants to be honest about the scale of the economic challenge ahead.

    She says that beyond the issue of inflation, the UK has had a “poor decade for living standards”.

    The former equalities minister also says she would be a prime minister that tells the truth, as the “truth will set us free”.

    But Net Zero was front and central in what she said – and the two places where she got rousing applause. Which, strangely, the BBC didn’t even mention.

    Zac Goldsmith obviously noticed though.

    “Unilateral economic disarmament” is a great phrase.

    Worth watching here.

    She may be out by 6pm but we can hope.


  17. Well, there are strong forces pulling both ways in the Tory party, regarding net zero. Will they split as badly over this as they did over Brexit?

    On the one hand, this sort of thing:

    “Continue Net Zero business as usual and preside over the worst energy crisis in British history, Tory candidates are warned”

    On the other hand, there’s this sort of thing (from the BBC rolling online coverage of the leadership race);

    “Over the last 24 hours or so dozens of Tory MPs have publicly backed the candidate they feel is fit to succeed Boris Johnson as leader.

    But there are a few who hadn’t decided who to back as the afternoon drew on.

    Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore is one of them and he’s been telling BBC News he feels the lack of dialogue on the environment as a leadership issue is a missed opportunity.

    “I am a rarity, one of the few who have not come out,” he said.

    “My vote is conditional on a leader or a leadership candidate coming forward saying they will continue to back net zero – unless they do that I won’t be backing them….”…”.


  18. On the other hand, one lives in hope:

    “The Tory green consensus is breaking – this leadership contest could spell the end of net zero
    Helena Horton
    The party’s climate-sceptic right wing is succeeding in its campaign to push candidates away from climate pledges”

    “…None of the leadership candidates so far have made the positive case for green jobs and cheap renewable energy. Instead, the only ones speaking out about climate change are culture warriors Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch, who wish to scrap net zero targets.

    As a reporter who covers the space where environment and politics overlap, I’ve watched this happen with a sinking feeling, knowing my worst predictions could be coming to pass. Our net zero commitments could be abandoned without the consent of the electorate as the leadership candidate decides to ditch it….”.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mark – “Our net zero commitments could be abandoned without the consent of the electorate as the leadership candidate decides to ditch it”

    says Helena Horton an environment reporter for the Guardian.

    is she new & young I wonder ?

    the consent of the electorate was never asked/given when this net zero commitment was imposed.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. The two candidates who’ve been clearest about the damage being caused to ordinary people by Net Zero, and the need to adjust policy accordingly, got 72 votes in total in the first round. Braverman being the lowest of the six that made it through. If she’s lowest tomorrow she’ll be out. With all respect to Steve Baker and the others backing her, wouldn’t it be better for her to drop out now and we could hope that most of those votes go to Badenoch – plus some that went to the two forced out today? Whatever happens, Net Zero-scepticism has shown its strength amonst Tory MPs and this should allow the leader from September to begin to be pragmatic* in the energy area.

    * pragmatic = not continuing to commit economic suicide


  21. From the i comes an assessment of the remaining candidates’ environmental credentials:

    Rishi Sunak: “He is yet to announce detailed environmental plans but as chancellor, he repeatedly vetoed plans that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions but would be costly to the public purse.”

    Penny Mordaunt: “She has signalled her support for a net zero transition.”

    Tom Tugendhat: “He supports the target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

    Liz Truss: “She was in favour of the plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050 but has not yet publicly backed the commitment.”

    Kemi Badenoch: “She branded the net zero climate 2050 target as “unilateral economic disarmament” and vowed to axe it if she enters No 10 as it was set up with no thought to the effect on industries in the poorer parts of this country”.”

    Suella Braverman: “The attorney general has vowed to suspend net zero measures.”

    i also has the views of Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt, who were both eliminated. Zahawi had proposed removing green levies, and Hunt was Yes to national autodestruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Interesting that Jeremy Hunt has been knocked out so early, and that Sajid Javid did not make the starting line. Perhaps it was that unqualified affirmative to autodestruction that they both gave on Sunday Morning?

    Richard, since only one is eliminated, then presumably (from a survivalist’s perspective) the rational self-interested Tories would move their support to whoever of the two comes 5th tomorrow for the vote the following day.

    Liked by 1 person


    “Tory leadership race: Where do candidates stand on net zero goal?”

    The BBC seems to be breathing a big sigh of relief. The article does not make easy reading for the rationalist who cares about the UK’s future.

    Should the UK be developing its own sources of polluting fossil fuels, through fracking, and new gas and oil fields in the North Sea? Do we need a new coalmine in Cumbria? Should it be made easier to build onshore wind turbines (currently the cheapest form of energy generation)? Should the government be doing more to help people save energy (and money) by insulating their homes?


  24. Another sentence from the same article is below. Which sly word do I object to the use of here?

    None of the five remaining contenders in the Conservative leadership contest openly questions the science on which the net zero policies are based: that humans are warming the planet at an accelerating rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jit, you beat me to it. Probably worth a read. It sounds as though Mordaunt would be a disaster for those of us who believe, like Badenoch, that net zero is a unilateral act of economic self-harm.


  26. Jit (7:36am): My blood started boiling at “the science on which the net zero policies are based”. Must be the heat. No, they’re not based on science, let alone ‘the science’. There isn’t such a thing. Badenoch has emphasized that all good policymaking has to involve assessing tradeoffs. And I already said that. This radical thought is completely absent from the Net Zero dogmatics we get every day from our state broadcaster. I’m not reading the BBC piece. More important things to do. For today, anyway.


  27. Richard, the absolutism of the Net Zero project ought to be a key weakness of it. It only takes a moment’s thought to realise that since incremental cuts in emissions get increasingly costly then there must be a sweet spot for cuts beyond which their benefits are outweighed by those costs.

    (To some of us, that point was reached 20 years ago. However.)

    The dogmatic pursuit of Net Zero is ultimately destructive. That means that only those who fear disapproval more than they fear real damage to those around them would support it. That means to me that they are not serious people.

    Meanwhile, China’s dogmatic Covid absolutism is not going well. I have always thought that the Communists there had an allergy to doing anything that might lead to their people questioning the political status quo. When will the U-turn come?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. The dogmatic pursuit of Net Zero is ultimately destructive. That means that only those who fear disapproval more than they fear real damage to those around them would support it. That means to me that they are not serious people.

    That’s a very restrained way of putting it. Staying with the positive I said in August last year:

    All we need is some courage, from both politicians and journalists. It’s hardly too much to ask.

    There are other words than “not serious” for those who choose the other path.

    And it’s not cowardice on my part that makes me decide not to use them this time. I soon will 😉


  29. “Tory hopefuls Sunak, Mordaunt, Truss and Tugendhat commit to net zero”

    “Four of the five remaining Tory leadership hopefuls – Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat – have committed to maintaining the government’s legally binding goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

    The contenders for the Tory leadership have signed up to a raft of pledges put forward by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), including continuing with the post-Brexit nature-friendly farming subsidies and switching to renewable energy.

    The other leadership candidate, Kemi Badenoch, had not yet signed up to the pledge, and has previously described the net zero target as “arbitrary”. She has been contacted for comment.”


  30. And yet some of those that we were led to believe have a shade or two of common sense are on the record as backing Liz Truss. What gives?

    It seems we are not close enough yet to the cliff edge for reason to reassert itself. Are the main four merely pretending that 2050 is doable, or do they actually believe it? I hope that Kemi Badenoch will at least place on the record a prediction that this will all crumble sooner or later, and that therefore it is better to start the U-turn now. Everyone who signs up to 2050 in government will be remembered, and not for the right reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Did anyone see the debate on Channel 4? Did Net Zero or energy bills come up?

    The way I see it the aim of the green blob has two prongs:

    1. Make Kemi Badenoch submit. Failing that…
    2. Make it impossible for the new prime minister (if not Badenoch herself) to make her a member of Cabinet

    That’s the way the smearers think. But they may not fully get their way.

    Or Badenoch may decide to be a backbencher for a while, as the others try to deal with the horrible shocks on the way.


  32. Richard, I didn’t see it, but I note that this morning the BBC website is reporting that Badenoch is the only candidate who has not committed to net zero by 2050.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Fake signatures. Nice look.

    Skidmore doesn’t get it. I used this quote in Denierland:

    “Calls for action have come from all generations and all parts of society – from Greta Thunberg to David Attenborough, from schoolchildren to the Women’s Institute.”

    Chris Skidmore MP moving the statutory order to replace the 80% target with Net Zero, UK Parliament, 24 June 2019, basing government policy on the opinions of a foreign teenager, while omitting to mention his boss, the electorate.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. I see that Domonic Cummings has posted his views on all the candidates on his substack today.

    Recalling a recent Douglas Adams quote I’m beginning to think that Oor Dom really, really, REALLY doesn’t want to be Prime Minister.


  35. Conservative Home seems to be pushing for Badenoch to be PM:

    “Our Next Tory Leader survey. Badenoch opens up a double-digit lead. Truss, Mordaunt and Sunak are bunched together second, third and fourth.”

    “…This weekend, the Westminster consensus is that Tugendhat will go out tomorrow, having failed to gain enough from Nadhim Zahawi’s and especially Suella Braverman’s transfers to overtake Badenoch.

    Truss, meanwhile, is fighting to get ahead of Mordaunt and make it to the final ballot. Sunak isn’t guaranteed a place in it, but his presence is overwhelmingly likely. He came out fighting in the Channel 4 hustings and is moving into a faster gear.

    Truss polled poorly in the wake of them, coming bottom of an Opinium survey of “normal voters”. The Conservative leadership election will of course be decided not by them, but by Tory MPs and then Party members.

    Nonetheless, the scene is set for Badenoch’s campaign to attempt the collapse of Truss’s, on the ground that their candidate can beat all comers in a final with members, and go on to seize the public’s imagination.

    Tomorrow, we will publish our run-offs between the five candidates, and see if there is any substance for any such claims. Not to mention how the most likely finalists perform against each other.

    For as well as Badenoch v all comers, we will have Sunak v Mordaunt, Sunak v Truss, Mordaunt v Truss – and of course Tugendhat’s scores against everyone.

    Eight hundred and fifty-one people participated in the survey, which was carried out today – after both yesterday’s ConservativeHome hustings and the Channel 4 debate,”


  36. Mark: Is Conservative Home pushing KB or stating the facts?

    Alan will be delighted to read the following quote from Dominic Cummings this morning:

    I don’t have any useful insight into who is likely to win or which factions will defect to which, other than a couple of hunches below. Paul Goodman probably has the best combination of contacts and data (ConHome surveys have historically been pretty accurate).

    He doesn’t even know. Nor do I but it’s looking juicy.

    Cummings goes into a lot of detail later on how to split the Treasury – and how not to do so. One of Kemi’s key proposals.


  37. The case against Badenoch but as I see it it’s a weak one. UK voters mostly hadn’t heard of her until the last week. If that. A couple of years as PM would change that completely. Whether she could weather the coming economic storms is another question. But I think she’s got a better chance of doing so than the other four.

    Will she be given the chance to win by MPs this week? That’s hard to predict. I give one Evertonian the last word on both puzzles.


  38. Richard,

    Thanks for following up on that. I suggested that Conservative Home was “pushing” Kemi Badenoch, largely because the polls among MPs suggest she won’t make the last two – in which case under Tory Party rules, it doesn’t matter how much the party members want her. Fingers crossed this nudge will embolden some MPs to ensure that her name features on the ballot before members, to give them a real choice. If not, Parliamentary democracy will continue to be a choice between various shades of grey, with no real democracy in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Serfs like this. Financial analysist Louis Gave unpacks the West’s self made policy crisis.

    For years the West has under invested in energy, can’t afford to put sanctions on Russia –
    \we just married Russia to China. What is it about those unconstrained elites that ignore
    realities? As in pre -World War 11 when Germany was heavily rearming, elites in Britain
    were insisting on British disarmament.


  40. “Penny Mordaunt pledges to create ‘millions of green jobs’ if elected Tory leader”

    “Penny Mordaunt has told Conservative critics of net zero that “environmentalism and conservatism go hand in hand” as she vowed to create “millions of green jobs” if elected leader.

    The MP for Portsmouth North is the only Tory leadership candidate so far to properly set out views on climate change and the environment.

    She made the intervention after a fierce debate over climate targets in her party, with two of the remaining contenders, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, critical of domestic carbon reduction pledges. Alok Sharma, the Cop26 president, told the Observer he could resign if the next leader was lukewarm on the environment.

    On Monday, Sharma will grill the five remaining candidates on green matters, giving each 15 minutes to speak about what they would do for the environment if elected leader.”

    That might be interesting.


  41. I’m just not getting this thread. If you are looking towards the outcome of a democratic process in order to predict how the decarbonisation of society might proceed, then you are looking in the wrong place.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I managed to watch the climate change and Net Zero segment of the ITV debate. Most powerful counterpoint: Sunak saying he cares about climate because of his children and grandchildren, Badenoch saying that if we bankrupt the country that will be disastrous for our children. She came under all the ‘consensus’ pressure and didn’t buckle. I was genuinely impressed by how cool she was in doing that.

    She did say that she ‘believed in climate change’ as her first statement. Which is fine, because she’s not prepared to parrot green policy prescriptions that normally go with that. Tradeoffs. She’s way ahead of any leading political figure in the UK in terms of telling it as it is. There’s talk of her ending up as Home Secretary under Sunak. We’ll have to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. From The Times this morning. (I went for the £3 for 3 months option just before Boris’s regime fell apart.)

    Kemi Badenoch has succeeded in wooing some Brexiteer MPs from the right of the Tory party as she fights for a place in the final two of the Tory leadership contest. MPs will vote today in the third ballot, with Badenoch in fourth place, 15 votes behind Liz Truss.

    Rishi Sunak has a solid lead and looks the favourite to make it to the run-off with party members after his supporters spent the weekend ringing round MPs. The former chancellor has 101 votes and needs 120 to be certain of his place. Penny Mordaunt leads the chasing group with 83 votes and Truss has 64 after securing the backing of Suella Braverman, the attorney-general who was eliminated on Friday.

    The foreign secretary hopes to gain the support of the majority of Braverman’s 27 backers after Mark Francois, the Brexiteer chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), urged members to switch their allegiance to Truss.

    However, a number of Braverman backers are expected to ignore Francois’s instruction. “Kemi is coming through strongly and will pick up more of Suella’s backers than expected,” one MP predicted. “There are a lot of us on the right who are still very much up for grabs.” Another said: “MPs make their own choices and do not vote as a bloc.”

    And the verdict of three columnists on the debate last night, with focus on Badenoch:

    Matthew Parris

    As with the last debate, Kemi Badenoch was impressive, and of all the candidates managed to sound the most natural. She handles the impromptu well, and it comes over as a sign of confidence.

    Winner: Kemi Badenoch.

    Daniel Finkelstein

    Kemi Badenoch seemed nervous and obviously out of her league on Friday, but didn’t at all this time. She managed to humanise her answers in a very appealing way. I still didn’t think she sounded ready to be prime minister in September, but that isn’t really the point.

    Winner: Rishi Sunak.

    Matt Chorley

    By the time of a 2024 general election the Tories will have been in power for 14 years. And there will be an overwhelming public mood of being sick of the sight of them. Which is the pitch of the “clean skins”: Nobody knows who I am. The public haven’t decided they don’t like Tom thingy and Kemi whatsit. Yet.

    Winner: Rishi Sunak.


  44. “Guardian Claims Kemi Badenoch U-Turned and Now Backs Net Zero, But That’s Not What She Says”

    “…Kemi as the straight-talking, anti-woke, Net-Zero sceptical candidate (who also, I understand, opposed vaccine passports from within Government, though behind closed doors) is a breath of fresh air and clearly what the party needs to move forward on issues where the ‘orthodox’ position is increasingly at odds with public opinion and the needs of the country.

    Among Tory members at least, Kemi is in tune with their priorities, with the Times reporting that Net Zero has dropped to the bottom of members’ priority list….”.


  45. Mark, if form is anything to go by, the sceptics’ candle is getting blown out today (with apologies for mangling metaphors).

    Personally I don’t believe Net Zero is possible. Not with a recognisable UK left at the end of it, at any rate. If I’m right, then the adherence to Net Zero of the other 3 is just virtue signalling. It would be interesting to know whether they believe it is doable at vast cost, or if instead they (as suggested in the OP) think it would be politically suicidal to reject it. I don’t see how a rational PM in possession of the facts would not at the very least soft pedal the national bike towards the Net Zero cliff edge (apologies again for the metaphor).

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Interesting point from one of the most intelligent left-leaning political columnists in the UK media:

    But I find I face both ways on this one. Truss looks to be the overwhelming favourite anong Tory members against Sunak but she would have lost, according to polls, against Kemi Badenoch. The body of MPs, including those heavily in bed with Net Zero cronyism, made sure Badenoch wasn’t in the final two, some of them I’m sure for that very reason.

    Meanwhile Badenoch has taken the opportunity of the freedom she currently has from joint cabinet responsibility and has written a searing account for the Sunday Times about her inquiries into the Tavistock and the dreadful things suffered by young girls encouraged to ‘transition’ into boys there, with hardly any checks and balances, with no sense of a duty of care. A climate sceptic physicist took up the story this morning on Twitter:

    And if any of us is interested in how the anti-Net Zero contigent within the Tories might help win the next election these words from a feminist – and a particularly impressive one, whom I have met – might be worth considering:

    I once again assert that this is not off topic here, because in Kemi Badenoch these two mighty causes have found a highly thoughtful, articulate and compassionate voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Richard,

    An increasing theme here, consciously or otherwise, seems to be that what passes for democracy, in the western world generally and in this country specifically, is looking increasingly fragile, given attacks on dissenting views by the very vocal, well-funded climate-concerned (with their friends in the media to give them ample publicity while denying it to those who dissent); a lack of meaningful choice at elections, given that the mainstream parties offer up only shades of grey with regard to the most important issues of the day (including net zero/climate change); and a push for declarations of emergencies, which might allow the use of emergency powers, thereby side-stepping many normal democratic processes and checks and balances.

    I think it’s at least arguable that Tory MPs, knowing full well that Kemi Badenoch offered a real and meaningful choice to Tory Party members, who apparently were rather keen on her, deliberately made sure that her name didn’t make the final two so that Tory Party members couldn’t express their opinion on this real and refreshing alternative. Instead they offer up more of the same old, same old….

    They’re not known as the Stupid Party for nothing, of course. In denying the members the chance to vote for Badenoch, they denied themselves their best chance of winning the next general election.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Mark, point taken but here are two positives, one from each side of the pond:

    Victor Davis Hanson: The Left are now desperate to drop Joe Biden – an hour-long interview of the veteran classical scholar-come-farmer with a young guy from the Telegraph in London who asks very good questions. The Left of the loony net zero type is in desperate trouble in the US if Hanson is right – and I think he is.

    What this leadership race tells us about Britain – Our post-racial politics is leaving the Left behind by Matt Goodwin. Similar conclusion within a quite different context.

    It’s the desperation of the Left that leads to talk of emergency powers and the rest. We can still make it through. I think!


  49. Victor Davis Hanson makes a key point that is much more true in the US than the UK: the ‘Trump agenda’ as he calls it has become the standard for every single Republican hopeful for the presidential election in 2024. He illustrates this with two policy areas: being for better controls on the southern border and being against ‘green’ policies. This takes you right to that bit:

    This is far from the case of course for the two remaining Tory hopefuls for PM vis-a-vis Net Zero. Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman moved the needle to some degree, because any public advocacy of an erstwhile taboo position has real power. But we are way behind the States as we stand. The coming winter may of course change that – and it could also lead to anarchy and extremism, as Ben Pile has been pointing out. Whatever, we’re in a much better place because of the stand Badenoch in particular took, and the votes she attracted after taking it.


  50. Interesting Mark, thanks. Every such poll will strengthen the hand of the new PM if (and only if) they have the courage, skill and desire to take on the Green Blob.


  51. Alok Sharma has been reading some different polls to Mark.

    He says they’ve convinced him that Net Zero is a vote-winner.

    Ben Pile says that depends on leaving out any mention of the downsides.

    And I say that that’s going to be much harder to do after this winter.

    How come Tories are still this stupid? Cronyism can only explain so much.


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