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Jute bags, green taxes, and Liberal Democrats

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Menzies CampbellAt this year’s Liberal Democrat conference, delegates have been provided with environmentally friendly jute conference bags. They will be expected to use them again next year, rather than being issued with new ones. But reflecting a theme at this year’s conference, the bag scheme has something of a hole. If the Lib Dems are serious about increasing their popularity, surely lots of new people will be at conference next year – without this year’s jute bag. It’s an idea that looks good in principle, but flaws are found with barely five seconds of armchair thought.

In this way, it’s quite similar to “green taxes”, which the Liberal Democrats have voted in favour of today. The first big test of Sir Campbell’s leadership may have been passed with flying colours, but the first big test of logic is failed. Green taxes place the tax burden on polluting activities to discourage them. Yet the moment Green Taxes work, they fail: That is, the moment people are discouraged from polluting activities, there is no tax revenue for public services.

So, effectively, the Green Taxes either have to be stupidly low, so they don’t discourage people, or stupidly high, so that a few pay a lot for a little pollution – which hardly fairly distributes the tax burden, since those who can’t switch to expensive renewable energy sources (the lower socioeconomic classes) pay more. It’s easy for CEO to buy a new non-polluting car, it’s harder for Unemployed Joe who’s driven the same old polluting banger for the last twenty-five years. If anything, it’s the reverse of a LibDem policy.

I was going to write about Charles Kennedy at this point, but I’ve just fallen off my chair with shock. Tony Blair acutally features on the Labour homepage. Admittedly, he’s tiny (much smaller than “Dave the Chameleon”), but it’s a step forward. I think this might be the first time since before the last election. Sadly, nothing to rival the LibDems’ MingCast, but I can dream.

This 969th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

More posts worth reading

The Nativity × Gaudí (published 17th February 2019)

The 8 (published 16th February 2019)

From above (published 15th February 2019)

Review: Them by Jon Ronson (published 15th August 2012)

Photo-a-day 260: Testing testing, 123! (published 16th September 2012)

Photo-a-day 247: Sainsbury’s and traffic light labelling (published 3rd September 2012)

Travel Headaches (published 1st February 2005)


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