There was a time when the Conservatives had to make an effort. During the heyday of Tony Blair and the procession of successive Tory leaders floundering about under the shadow of New Labour, it was generally accepted that the Conservative Party needed to change. Not only did they achieve this through electing a trendy new leader, but they rebranded with an environmentally conscientious new logo that was supposed to indorse their party as “green, strong and durable”
This change met some opposition, most keenly felt from Lord Tebit who couldn’t see that changing the logo would mean anything to the electorate and thought the whole thing a waste of money. The leadership knew better and the marketing experts in the party were all too aware that public perception had to change. If they could convince the public that they had a new, environmentally responsible outlook and the party was modernising then they might just turn things around.
That was in 2007 and things are different now. The Labour party is in opposition and is arguably finding its self in the same place the Tories were in during the mid-nineties. The Conservatives have all but ditched their green attitude now they are comfortably back ruling the country, especially since they have lost the moderating hand of the coalition.
In what environmentalists are saying is the worst period of environmental policy for 30 years the Conservative government has systematically dismantled green policies that both it and the previous administration legislated for.
In a grotesque attempt to justify these attacks the climate change secretary Amber Rudd has been slashing subsides for wind farms and the solar industry declaring that the sectors need to “stand on their own two feet”. This venture capitalism of course is not afforded to the nuclear, gas and oil industries who continue to benefit from the corporate socialism this government so admires.
More evidence of ‘business acumen’ interfering with environmental policy is the selling off of the Green Investment Bank by business secretary Sajid Javid. Often used as proof of their environmental credentials by George Osbourne and David Cameron the investment scheme has been diluted by 70% with even the conservative think tank Bright Blue declaring “its the last thing we need”.
Amongst other schemes that the government has seen fit to do away with are the tax incentives for greener cars, the scrapping of zero carbon homes, the U-turn on allowing fracking on sights of special scientific interest and the scrapping of the green tax target dropped by George Osbourne’s ‘emergency budget’.
Nearly every week we hear about another green initiative being scrapped in favour of propping up competitiveness or in an attempt to save money. The Conservatives have appeared to have forgotten all they promised when they re-branded their party, ignoring that environmental problems cannot be used as a marketing exercise and that a few short years of attention will not make our environmental problems disappear. The Conservatives are adopting their old attitude to problems like these and the sincerity of their branding should be called in to question. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.