I hate to be such a nay-sayer all the time, but what a wasted opportunity Kennedy’s speech on climate change was today.
Don’t get me wrong; he’s absolutely right to criticise the Tories and Labour – we still have a stronger record on the environment than them. But it doesn’t appear to have moved us forward from a year ago. Worse, he appears to have gone quiet on Airport Departure Duty, which was his big thing in 2004.
What I wanted to hear was some idea about how we move forward, on both the national and global stage. It is good to see him emphasising contraction and convergence again, but while this may help get India and China on board, it leaves us with an even bigger headache with the US, Australia and Japan. His digression on green cities was bereft of detail. We need to hear about reduction measures, not simply more stuff about how all our problems will be solved by renewables, carbon capture and extremely limited initiatives such as biofuels. We need to hear about how our environmental aims relate to our localisation objectives.
In short, we need to start hearing some real policy in Lib Dem environmental speeches, especially ones where we attack our rivals for merely talking rhetoric on the subject.
But to be positive for a second, at least we’re talking about policy again.