Tuesday, July 05, 2005


'Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire, Gimme That Which I Desire!'*

The ever-helpful British government have come up with a new way to make my life a misery. The latest idea from the Brains Trust down in Westminster is a personal 'carbon allowance.'

Here's the idea: everyone has the same annual carbon quota. Any fuel you use above and beyond your quota, the government charge you through the nose for. It was obvious from the get-go that this would be tacked onto the Identity Card. I find it pretty amazing that the government haven't even managed to get the Identity Card bill passed, yet already they're dreaming up new uses for it.

According to the particular group of unelected busybodies this latest scam has emerged from, the Sustainable Development Commission, it would provide a "virtually guaranteed" way of reducing fossil fuel emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

According to Elliot Morley, the minister responsible, we should not be afraid to "think the unthinkable." Since Elliot appears to be great at thinking, I've come up with a little question for him. Why do you think the idea was 'unthinkable' in the first place?

There's some excellent analysis here. Here, I think, is the money quote:

'For some time now there has been a hubbub of grumbling among the chattering classes about the vulgarity of "cheap air travel" with its attendant and intended benefit (or, in their eyes, problem) of modest earners being able to jet off to all manner of exotic destinations at the drop of a hat. "But it's destroying the planet!" they all exclaim. This is not, I should add, a charge which is ever levelled at the organisers of global rock-concerts for Africa despite the fact that just distributing the various members of the Rockocracy to their appointed warbling-posts consumes enough energy to light up a medium-sized land mass.'

'But saving the planet is not the point or the object. The real cause of this latest drive for forced austerity is the abundance of something that, only a few short years ago, was an expensive luxury enjoyed by the privileged few. But when tattooed builders, single mothers and lowly clerks can spend several weeks a year wallowing on sun-kissed South-East Asian beaches or sampling the epicurean delights of Tuscany then they are obviously living far better lives than they deserve and something must be done to curtail them.'

There is an astonishing, snobbish elitism prevalent in the continual moaning about cheap flights. Frequently, those who moan loudest are amongst the worst offenders, as, per the link, erstwhile Green Party candidate Julia Stephenson jets around the world several time a year, because she is one of 'nature's nomads.'

Presumably, the 'carbon allowance' would be made to stretch to fashionable left-wing newspaper columnists. My question, however, is will it be transferred to our own Mr Blair? I merely ask, because I saw him this evening on the news sitting in a room with a lot of other pompous blowhards waiting for the result of the London 2012 Olympic bid, which is being decided in Singapore, half the world away. Given the number of delegates from Europe who have flown to this event, the results of which having not even been announced yet (and nor will they before Blair leaves), I can comfortably say that Tony and chums have used at least two years of my carbon allowance already, without the dratted proposal having even come into effect.

*Metallica, 'Fuel.'

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