Under Liberal Democrat energy secretaries, Chis Huhne and then Ed Davey, that promise was largely kept, with a massive increase in renewable energy (more than doubled capacity; better than any previous government), plus measures to support energy efficiency, including the Green Deal.
Now we have a Tory government, only three months old, it is clear that they are going in the opposite direction. The withdrawal of much of the support for renewables and the scrapping of the Green Deal, recently announced, show they were serious when they referred to environmental measures as “green crap”.
Their excuse for cancelling the Green Deal just does not wash, since it is largely self financing and was just beginning to take off. Could the hidden agenda be to make inevitable the need to frack for gas? Fracking leads to the escape and release into the atmosphere of large amounts of methane, which is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.
The Conservatives, freed from Lib Dem influence, have gone into reverse over the environment just when the NOAA, the US federal agency, has announced that 2014 was the hottest year ever, that the last 12 months was the hottest 12-month period ever, that this June, by a massive margin, was the hottest ever and that sea level rise has increased from an average of 1mm per year for the last century to a current average of 3.7mm per annum.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change says it is withdrawing support for the Green Deal household energy saving scheme because of low take-up. I am in no doubt that the country is littered with exhausted applicants defeated by the bureaucratic and deliberately obscurantist approach designed by the department.
I started in mid March and so far have passed the first hurdle. After that, there have been no responses from four out of six companies recommended by the department; and of the two that responded once, one did not reply again, while the second opined that “it would not be in my financial interest”. I am still trying to fathom that one, since no one talked to me and no one visited my flat to give an estimate for the work.
I am left with the feeling that we have been conned and that it would be much simpler to arrange our own estimates, funding, and timing of the work. How foolish to have believed a government actually wanted to help!
Corbyn or no, Labour is in the wilderness
Andrew Grice (25 July) and others are right to say that a Labour Party in Jeremy Corbyn’s mould would not be electable. But this does not mean that New Labour Mark 2, would be.
The world has changed since their heyday. The Tories are not an exhausted political force. We are in a period of bust, not boom. Food banks and pay-day loan companies proliferate. Investment banks and industrial-scale tax avoidance are part of the problem, not the solution. Political spin is held in contempt.
Blairite policy is an empty vessel. They bang the drum about being nice to business, but what would they actually do? Cosying up to Murdoch and light-touch regulation are no longer options. They have voted against the use of tax credits to encourage work over welfare.
Where do they now stand on education and skills development? How would they help the self-employed and small businesses grow? Would productivity be helped by profit-sharing and workers on company boards?
On these and many other issues the silence is absolutely deafening.
Labour will spend many years in the wilderness because it is a thought-free zone, not because of Jeremy Corbyn.
As someone who has been active in the Labour Party for the past five years and has always voted Labour, I feel that this leadership campaign has uncovered a very unpleasant side to the Labour Party.
Insults are being exchanged and in their desire to block Jeremy Corbyn it looks as though some of those in the party would be prepared to jettison any democratic principles. No wonder that many, including me, are ready to vote for Jeremy.
The impression given in the past few weeks is that people with socialist principles are no longer welcome in the party. Why is it, I wonder, that Labour can “move” to a centre or more right-wing position, but can only “lurch” to the left?
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
I would be surprised if Jeremy Corbyn agreed with Leslie Thompson (letter, 25 July) that his policies were “more akin to Attlee, Bevin, Bevan and Cripps”.
In February 1947 Attlee and Bevin decided in complete secrecy to make the British atom bomb. In 1948 Cripps introduced his notorious austerity budget. Aneurin Bevan was a pragmatist and got the NHS going by stuffing the mouths of the hospital consultants with gold and leaving the GPs unnationalised as independent practitioners. He also became a vociferous opponent of unilateral nuclear disarmament, epitomised by his “going into the conference chamber naked” speech at the Labour Party conference in October 1957.
The biggest similarity of these great Labour party figures with Corbyn is that like him, they were all longstanding professional politicians; Cripps and Attlee had been ministers in Ramsay MacDonald governments and Ernest Bevin founded the TGW Union in 1922.
Osborne targets care of the old
If surgeons can now give a patient a bionic eye to improve vision, can someone suggest a similar procedure for our Chancellor to help him see more clearly the repercussions his spending cuts are going to have on the care of older and vulnerable people?
Mr Osborne is looking for £20bn of cuts, with only health, schools, defence and overseas aid protected. It seems local authorities will again bear the brunt of those cuts, and with social care not ring-fenced, it is inevitable that a sector already cut back to the bone thanks to £3.5bn in cuts since 2010, will suffer heavily again.
Can’t the Chancellor see that cutting the care people have in their own home and in care homes will ultimately result in more costly admissions to NHS hospitals and bed-blocking?
Can he also not see that it is madness not to protect the care of older, frail adults as he swings his axe in Whitehall, as it will cost the country much more in the long run and significantly dent his deficit reduction plans?
Chair, Independent Care Group, Scarborough North Yorkshire
Isis, enemies of human creativity
I went to the Royal Academy today to see the Summer Exhibition, and I was moved and awed by the brilliance and beauty on display. As I looked at the crowds in there I had the sudden, certain realisation that Isis are doomed to fail.
People have an innate need and desire to be moved by creativity, be it in art, music, dance, theatre, architecture, fancy footwork on the football pitch, or working out how to take pictures of Pluto. It is this above all else which makes us human beings. Isis want a world without creativity: they are denying their basic humanity, and as such they can have no future.
They hate – or should I say envy? – our freedom to be creative, in our thoughts and in our self-expression, and they have the fervent zeal you only ever see in people desperately trying to suppress doubt.
They want to wipe out creativity in the human species. They will not succeed.
Bribery to be legalised
Your depressing report “Justice for sale: Big companies could soon escape prosecution for corporate corruption by paying their way out” (25 July) reveals that executives in large companies accused of employing bribery to secure a contract can avoid justice by means of a further act of bribery: this time of the Serious Fraud Office. However, this will make life easier for an enriched SFO and dodgy companies, so that’s all good.
As has been previously observed, British justice is the best that money can buy.
Walsham le Willows, Suffolk
Speaker on a bicycle?
MPs’ expenses again. Surely not! For the price of a couple of Mr Speaker’s trips the taxpayer could fund a decent folding bicycle, which could be folded for trips beyond London by train. Since I bought mine in 2000 I have used neither tube nor taxi to get about London, but waited at the other end for those that did, who usually left before me.
St Albans, Hertfordshire