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Harrabin tries to influence the election

I noticed this post on one of the various BBC bias monitoring blogs, "News Watch", where the BBC's Roger Harrabin effectively told listeners to a Radio 4 programme last weekend not to vote Conservative or UKIP in the forthcoming UK General Election. A transcript of Harrabin's remarks is included in the post.

Harrabin

The blogger, David Keighley, notes that Harrabin seems to think that UKIP is the root of the 'problem' in Greenery not being taken as seriously in the UK as he thinks it ought to be. JEB once pointed out in his Number of the Month piece for September 2006 that UKIP was the only anti-Green mainstream political party in the UK. However I would say that UKIP are still not particularly well-known in the UK for being anti-Green. As I remember it, UKIP did put an increased amount of effort in for a few years in pushing the anti-Green message when Christopher Monckton was a prominent member of the party. I think Monckton even served as deputy leader of UKIP for a few months in 2010. However I don't recall ever seeing Monckton on TV as a UKIP spokesman, suggesting that the UK broadcasting media effectively "no-platformed" him.

Harrabin also has a go at the "Mail on Sunday" newspaper for running a campaign called the Great Green Con, which Harrabin thinks has legitimised an anti-environmental stance. That may explain something that was puzzling me slightly a few months ago, why did Prince Charles decide to promote his Ladybird book on Climate Change by writing an article about it in the Mail on Sunday? The choice of newspaper indicated that the Green blob must have had some issue with the Mail on Sunday.

For this General Election, UKIP has announced a new policy where they propose that net migration for the UK over a five year period should be kept to zero, on the basis that it is is undesirable to increase the UK population size. I get the impression that they are "trolling" the Greenies with that particular policy, as population control used to be the central theme of Green politics up to about 1990, and is still an important issue for the more academic Greenies.

General Election result

I thought I might as well write a post about the UK General Election result. From the numberwatching point of view, the main observation would be the poor performance of UK opinion pollsters and election forecasters yet again, as described in this blog post from Paul Matthews writing on the "Climate Scepticism" blog:

Election Forecasts

Virtually all the election forecasters in the list predicted that the Conservatives would have a comfortable majority, with an increased majority compared with the 2015 General Election result. The one exception was YouGov, who did predict a hung parliament, but their numbers translated to a Labour-led alliance of several parties possibly forming the next government. The actual result was: Conservatives 318, Labour 262, SNP 35, Lib Dems 12, DUP 10, Others 13. Theoretically 326 seats are needed to win the election, but the Irish Republican party Sinn Fein, who won 7 seats, don't take up their voting rights in the House of Commons (as it means swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen), and so only 322 seats are needed.

The General Election result, and indeed the whole exercise of carrying out a General Election, was I think actually useful for people who want a 'hard Brexit', which I would interpret as leaving the EU Single Market. What the recent General Election did was it forced all the political parties to write down their positions on Brexit in a manifesto rather than just leaving things in an ambiguous state. The Conservative manifesto position was for the UK to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. The Labour position, a bit surprisingly, was that “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union” (page 28 of manifesto) which translates as leaving the Single Market (I suspect Theresa May expected Labour would adopt a 'soft Brexit' position in their manifesto). The advantage of having these positions stated in the manifesto is that it is now more difficult for pro-EU Conservative and Labour MPs, and the generally pro-EU House of Lords, to thwart an exit from the Single Market and the Customs Union. The House of Lords is required by something called the 'Salisbury Doctrine' not to thwart anything which relates to a manifesto commitment.

Most UK news media political commentators were shocked by how well Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party performed in the General Election, but his performance didn't surprise me as much as the commentators (I thought that he might do better than Ed Miliband, but not as well as he did). As a long-time observer of the UK Green movement, I'd say the 'Loony Left' are probably in the strongest position regarding public support that they ever have been, particularly amongst young people under 30. The thing that has really boosted the Loony Left in the 21st Century in my opinion is the lack of challenging of environmentalism by mainstream politicians, particularly Conservative politicians. If you let environmentalism thrive, then you let the Loony Left thrive.