Editorial: Boris Johnson risks wrong turn

  • Date: 18/11/20
  • Editorial, Daily Mail

The ex­ile of Do­minic Cum­mings from King Boris’s court will have stiff­ened the spine of the green revo­lu­tion­ar­ies whis­per­ing in the Prime Min­is­ter’s ear.

Is it en­tirely co­in­ci­den­tal, then, that just hours af­ter the tem­pes­tu­ous aide was turfed out, it emerged Mr John­son will un­veil a 10-point blueprint on the en­vi­ron­ment, a topic close to his fi­ancee’s heart?

The cen­tre­piece will be a ban on new petrol, diesel and hy­brid ve­hi­cles from 2030, ten years ear­lier than the orig­i­nal dead­line.

This news­pa­per pas­sion­ately shares Boris’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to look af­ter the planet for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. But this ini­tia­tive ap­pears un­re­al­is­tic and risks se­vere eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal dam­age.

Fright­en­ingly ex­pen­sive, elec­tric cars have lam­en­ta­ble mileage. With­out mil­lions of road­side charg­ing points, driv­ers will strug­gle to get fur­ther than the gatepost.

Most are in Lon­don. Out­side, where pub­lic trans­port is ap­palling, fam­i­lies de­pend on gas guz­zlers to get to work, school and the shops. Convenience also mat­ters. Petrol cars fill up in min­utes. Elec­tric ve­hi­cles need plug­ging in for hours. And with­out a co­her­ent en­ergy strat­egy, how will Bri­tain gen­er­ate enough elec­tric­ity to power them?

Mean­while, or­di­nary mo­torists, whose cars are ne­ces­si­ties not leather-lined lux­u­ries, face pay­ing £40bil­lion a year in road tolls to fill a Trea­sury short­fall – pun­ish­ing hard­pressed fam­i­lies and busi­nesses.

Of course, the chat­ter­ing metropoli­tan elite can af­ford to sanc­ti­mo­niously es­pouse fash­ion­able green causes.

But does Mr John­son se­ri­ously be­lieve this agenda pre­oc­cu­pies mil­lions of vot­ers, es­pe­cially those who switched to the Tories and bull­dozed Labour’s ‘Red Wall’? While they care about the planet, their pri­or­i­ties are feed­ing their fam­i­lies, do­ing a day’s work and en­sur­ing their chil­dren are ed­u­cated.

If Boris em­braces ar­dent en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism at the ex­pense of ‘lev­el­ling up’ the left­be­hind re­gions, he risks haem­or­rhag­ing their cru­cial elec­tion-win­ning sup­port.

Full editorial

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