Friday, January 12, 2007
In the course of an interview intended to outgreen David Cameron, Gordon Brown said, 'I don't do actually at the moment very much international travel for leisure.' This is an important remark for two reasons. First, yet again it reveals Brown's complete inability to resist an opportunity to stab Blair in the back. Blair had just said he wouldn't be giving up his long haul holidays for the sake of the environment. When - if - Blair stands down and when - if - Brown succeeds, I forecast British politics will mirror Iraq's. The Shias - Brownists - having gained power, they will do all they can to suppress the Sunnis - Blairists. The Sunnis, meanwhile, will launch a fantastically brutal insurgency, the main weapon of which will be Blair's insistence that the entire New Labour projected was, from its inception, crippled by Brown's vengeful bitterness. Shia death squads will then be sent in and US troops will ... well, perhaps not. The second reason Brown's aside is interesting is that it raises the question of whether giving up air travel is entirely rational. Anatole Kaletsky thinks not, primarily because it accounts for only a very small proportion of global emissions and we have no viable substitute for kerosene, whereas we do for the petrol, coal and gas used in cars and power stations and we can, conceivably, stop the Brazilians and Indonesians tearing down the rainforests. Al Gore, on the other hand, takes the Tesco line - 'Every little helps.' I don't know the answer to this, but since global warming is real and since green credentials are now a serious force in politics, I do know it matters.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:17 am