A Beaker Half Full

Mr Alexander and Mr Pickles observe the scene

I commend to you the piece by the estimable Geoffrey Lean in Tuesday’s Telegraph – a sort of valedictory on the’ Cameron dumps greens’ reshuffle story of the past few days, and for which he received dogs abuse from the Telegraph posterati after it went on line.

The abuse seemed a bit confused, though.  Were they annoyed that Lean would write a piece in the no-very green Telegraph suggesting that the green agenda actually mattered and that the government is apparently decreasingly convinced that it does?  Or were they annoyed that he should highlight yet more two-facedness from our Prime Minister when he headlined his piece ‘cabinet reshuffle suggests a massive u-turn on the government environment policies’?

Quite right, of course, and probably the majority of the abuse plumped for the idea that concern for green and low carbon policies was a neo-communist endeavour in the first place and Lean was, at best, a fellow-traveller.

But his detractors are not the only ones reacting in a rather confused way. Take our junior ‘Coalition’ partners, for example. We heard last month that, incensed by the apparent free rein granted by the PM to George Osborne’s attempts to trample over green policies espoused by departments at will, Danny Alexander no less, nominally his understrapper at Treasury (pictured above with Eric Pickles) will be heading up a coruscating motion at Lib Dem conference denouncing precisely this. Ooo-er. So it is clear that the Lib Dems know that the green agenda in Government is collapsing and want to be differentiated from it: or do they?

At PMQs on Wednesday last we had this remarkable question from Lorely Burt, newly promoted bag carrier to …er Danny Alexander.

‘Following the recent reshuffle, there has been some speculation in the press that some new appointments signified a shift away from our green agenda. Would my Rt hon friend like to take this opportunity to scotch these scurrilous allegations and reaffirm our commitment to being the greenest government ever?’

Probably not a freelance question.  So is this the new line: all is well, just relaunch?  The PM went as far as to congratulate Burt on her new Treasury post and opined that ‘in the Treasury she has every ability to make sure the Government delivers on its green commitments,’ almost at the same moment it was emerging that, in appointing John Hayes to succeed the similarly estimable Charles Hendry at DECC, the PM had apparently told him to ‘secure a win for our people on wind energy.’

Lean did say in his piece, that amidst the confusion, and the marauding of the Treasury over and around all things green in government (my words, not his) ‘only Mr Cameron can make the real situation clear, and that ‘with green business [being] scared away, it is urgent that he does.’

Perhaps it is thought with that the half-baked cynical response to Lorely Burt’s question does that. I do not for a moment think it will. Perhaps he needs something more….defining. How about a trip to the arctic on a sledge, or less, expensively, perhaps a ride to work on his bike? That would show them where the PM’s heart lies, and put George Osborne in his place.  I’m afraid I’m fearing the worst. The low energy light bulbs may be going out all over Britain.