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Tory grass roots remain unconcerned about the environment

October 3, 2006 4:08 PM

Tories prefer cheap flights that will exacerbate global warming

The Tories are finding their new, environmentally friendly image hard to sell to their delegates at their Conference. Delegates voted to throw out the motion: "cheap flights are a false economy". Of course, this will make no difference whatsoever as the Conservative party does not yet have policies for its grassroots to reject.

But the reason why the motion was defeated lies in a fundamental weakness of Conservative philosophy. For many Tories, the cheap flights revolution exemplifies the invisible hand of the market at its very best. Freedom of trade is at the heart of traditional Tory thinking and for many members that equates to freedom of travel. That this has a malign affect on the planet is not a matter of concern.

The Tories have failed to address the question of nuclear energy. They are heavily divided on the issue even though nuclear energy is not viable without a large state subsidy. Astonishingly, many Tories remain unconvinced that global warming is an unnatural phenomenon. David Cameron has little chance of converting the diehard deniers.

The Liberal Democrats are clear on these points - and clear about their opposition to nuclear power. They are weaving their environmentalism into existing liberal philosophy. Until David Cameron can perform a feat similar to the Liberal Democrats the Tories' new green tree logo will look like a sapling planted on barren ground.