Dedicated to the Restoration of Progressive Democracy
Friday, November 21, 2014
Top British Tories Slam Tony Abbott. Carol Goar Gnaws on Harper.
Who better to give Australian prime minister Tony Abbott a real hiding but a number of prominent Tories. Real Tories, not what passes for conservative under the Harper regime. Real Tories, as in the Brits.
The attitude of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the global challenges of climate change is "eccentric", "baffling" and "flat earther", according to a group of senior British Conservatives.
The group, including Prime Minister David Cameron's Minister for Energy and a former Thatcher Minister and chairman of the Conservative Party, says Mr Abbot's position on climate change represents a betrayal of the fundamental ideals of Conservatism and those of his political heroine, Margaret Thatcher.
In a series of wide-ranging, separate interviews on UK climate change policy with The Age, they warn that Australia is taking enormous risks investing in coal and will come under increasing market and political pressure to play its part in the global battle against climate change.
They could as easily be speaking of our own "flat earther" prime minister and all the other flat earthers who populate both sides of the aisle in the House of Commons.
A former chairman of the British Conservative Party, Lord Deben said Mr Abbott has betrayed the fundamental tenets of conservatism itself.
"I have no doubt that people like David Cameron will be saying to Tony Abbott 'look conservatives are supposed to conserve, they are supposed to hand on to the next generation something better than they received themselves'."
Tim Yeo, chairman of the UK's parliamentary select committee on energy and climate change and a former environment minister under John Major, likened those who question the existence and the science of climate change as "the flat earthers of the 16th century".
"Some of us are very perplexed. I was last in Australia at the beginning of last year, before the election and had conversations with people on both sides of the political divide. I was amazed at some of the views.
"If I was Australian, I'd be concerned if my country's economic future and prosperity became dependent on continued coal export."
Meanwhile, TorStar's Carol Goar observes that Stephen Harper is also fast running out of places to hide.
Harper still has a few allies. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott shares his view that it would be economic folly on impose “a job-killing carbon tax” on energy producers. He can make common cause with the remaining climate change holdouts: Libya, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran and Egypt.
But he has become increasingly isolated and Canada’s relations with its allies and trading partners are showing the strain. French President François Hollande made a vain plea to Harper to act on climate change during his visit to Ottawa last month. The 120 heads of state who attended September’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York noted his absence. His aggressive lobbying for the Keystone XL pipeline alienated Obama.
On his latest foreign trip, the prime minister paid lip service to the environment. When the U.S. and China announced their game-changing deal to slash greenhouse gas emissions, he grudgingly welcomed the breakthrough. “For some time we have been saying we favour an international agreement that would include all the major emitters,” he said. But he made no move to cut or cap Canada’s fossil fuel emissions.
...Skeptics discount these vague promises. Harper will procrastinate, shift the focus, then move into election mode. His deft political footwork at last weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane suggests they’re right. He succeeded in eclipsing Canada’s poor environmental record by boldly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin over his incursions into Ukraine.
...Harper is a master strategist. He knows how to get around obstacles, divide his opponents and silence his critics. He has navigated his way through trickier junctures than this.
But the moment Canadians decide they don’t want to be on the wrong side of the climate change issue, his last bulwark will buckle.