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For some years I served as Treasurer to the Bristol Branch of UKIP, my first ever membership of a political party. I joined for several reasons, partly because EU regulatory red tape has started to create idiotic problems for my business without bringing any benefits, but mainly because I didn’t want to see my country subsumed within a developing Synarchist Totalitarianism, or to have to open its already overcrowded shores to uncontrolled immigration. I attended the triumphalist conference after the 2004 European parliament elections but left after the 2005 Westminster general election campaign. I had three reasons for doing so.
Firstly I don’t think the UKIP MEPs should take the enemy EU shilling. They should not draw any form of salary or expenses, for to do so means compromising and corrupting themselves. Yet their policy of stunts and buffoonery in the EU ‘parliament’ seems perfectly appropriate for a virtually powerless sham parliament that exists merely as a fig leaf for the democratic deficit of the EU. They should seek funding from the UKIP membership or simply keep their day jobs. MEPs have almost nothing of any significance that they can actually do anyway. If UKIP had had such a policy it would not have ended up with crooks and spivs standing for MEP election.
Secondly I deplored the strategic error of contesting far too many Westminster seats in the 2005 general election. This simply destroyed the funds I had spent a lot of time gathering and adding to personally, without applying any significant electoral pressure to the Conservative party whatsoever. The British people seem happy to vent their anger at the EU by sending a two fingered message in the form of a dozen UKIP MEPs, but they remain unwilling to have such buffoonery in Westminster.
Thirdly, and most importantly for me, I found the attempts by UKIP to develop a manifesto policy on the environment lazy, scientifically illiterate, and terrifyingly myopic. Well maybe one doesn’t expect much intellectually from a party that has had to adopt a right-wing-populist agenda to gets its euro-skepticism across, but its Friday, 13th manifestoes of April 2012 stoop to new depths of contemptible short sighted populism on the subject of ‘Planning for our green and pleasant land’
It includes such gems as: -
“Ban new wind farms and subject existing ones to democratic local planning procedures,
Build new power plants to secure our energy supply,
Close the Climate Change Department saving up to £18billion a year,
End wasteful UK subsidies to ugly, cost ineffective ‘renewable energy’ scams,
Stop all payments to the Intergovernmental Climate Change Panel and other UN climate-related agencies.”
Humanity now faces the tragedy of having Too Much Fossil Fuel with the discovery of the deep gas and the oil shale reserves. This doesn’t actually seem all that surprising, this planet doesn’t naturally have an oxygen atmosphere, free oxygen exists solely because millions of years of photosynthetic activity have liberated it and buried the carbon whist doing so. This planet holds enough fossil fuel to consume all the atmospheric oxygen and if we don’t stop burning it soon the planet will trap ever more energy and the climate will go really crazy, we can look forwards to rising sea levels and severe rain flooding alternating with scorching droughts, welcome to a new dinosaur age.
Both my daughters study ecology at degree and doctoral levels, the evidence for anthropic climate change and mass-species extinction remains increasingly impossible to deny, both they and I remain severely concerned for their futures.
UKIP does not take its nimbyism far enough, okay so most people would rather not have wind turbines and solar panels all over the place, but do they really want an unstable climate, ruined agriculture, resource wars raging all over the world, and climate refugees in their backyard instead?
Weaning ourselves off fossil fuels will have its costs, particularly if Britain’s competitors do not follow suit till later, but Britain should have the courage to make some sacrifices for the future and to set an example. In the longer term, renewable energy technology developed with the customary British genius for science, engineering and innovation will provide an invaluable export commodity.
The current UKIP stance on the environment sounds like cowardly appeasement, oh this carbon dioxide thingy is nothing to worry about, it might be nice to have the place a bit warmer, let the carbon giants get on with it, they pay the bills and keep the trains running, it will all blow over eventually…….
Well no it won’t. It will get bloody serious and threaten our way of life in these green and pleasant lands if we don’t stand up and show a bit of Churchillian foresight and backbone.