Editorial: Boris Johnson risks wrong turn
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.