Outlook: Environmental dilemma for Blair
Thursday 15 January 1998
And yet it is not as simple as that, either. Everywhere the Prime Minister turns these days he is confronted with a conflict between his clean man of Europe aspirations and the more pressing concern of preserving jobs and cutting prices to consumers. The latest flashpoint is the water industry where the consumer lobby wants fat rebates from the efficiency gains made since privatisation while the environmentalists want the money spent on lead-free drinking water and cleaner beaches.
When Labour was in opposition, its environment spokesman Frank Dobson never missed an opportunity to excoriate the water companies for ripping off customers and lining the pockets of shareholders. Now it is in power the Environment Minister Michael Meacher is suddenly less keen to turn on the customer rebate tap if it compromises environmental programmes or, worse still, means they have to be paid for out of taxation.
A similar game is being played out in the coal industry where Old Labour's determination to save the pits was never going to sit easily with New Labour's environmental agenda. Now we discover that the middle classes cannot save the miners' jobs even if they wanted to because the pollution curbs demanded by the Environment Agency are such that they could prevent a single tonne of British coal ever being burnt again. If Mr Blair really wants to know where his voters stand when it comes to cleaner air or lower bills he should read yesterday's survey from the Energy Saving Trust. This suggests that eight in ten motorists would drive electric cars but only if they cost less and were cheaper to run. It is not just politicians who like to have their cake and eat it.
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...