As usual at these events, I bumped into a couple of political activists of various flavours and persuasions at the Fabian Society conference “Six Months to Copenhagen”, today, held in the faded-yet-still-grand setting of the Foreign Press Association, just off The Mall in London.
[ The Mall is the street that links Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. It’s not a shopping centre ].
One such person was a New Labour communications person. I saw my chance. I mentioned that I had been advising a Liberal Democrat on greening the yellows, offering specific policy ideas and even helping with information surrounding global Carbon management.
I mentioned that I had also been talking to a couple of Conversatives about Personal Carbon Allowances Trading, which could be promoted as giving people true freedom of choice about how to “spend” their emissions.
I mentioned that I had also been consulting with members of the Green Party about how to engage rationally in matters of science and technology.
Then I suggested that I thought that the unique reason why people vote Labour is because they believe in social provision – the provision of public amenities, social safety nets, the National Health Service, inclusive policies and the devolved management of social ills.
I explained that during the roll out of the Natural Gas network in the United Kingdom, citizens had accepted the annoyance and upheaval of the building works in order to share in the social provision of a clean, affordable Energy source. I said that citizens had welcomed the utility it brought them.
I said that the same kind of social provision is needed now. I said that New Labour could capitalise on their position in power and set up the national programmes and networks of installers for a mass deployment of biomass burners in each home, delivery of biomass fuels, solid wall insulation, cavity wall, loft and floor insulation, air pumps, solar thermal and other thermal technologies.
This would all be cheaper than Carbon Capture and Storage, even though you would need a massive workforce to do it. Plus, it would reduce the need for Carbon Capture and Storage, as Natural Gas could replace Coal in power generation if it were not in citizens’ homes for heating.
It could just tip the balance for the next General Election if people could see that the Labour Government is serious about cheap and lasting solutions, and providing them, for the ordinary working person.
The Labour activist said he would take the idea back to the office. Yet again, I’ve given away my very solid advice for free.