It's a taste of things to come. It's what life will be like under Gordon Brown. Half the Treasury team was leaking the Stern report while the other half was following the strictest embargo since the latest Harry Potter launch. In the "lock-up", journalists were patrolled by invigilators making sure there was no unauthorised use of secret mobile phones. Two colleagues chatting by a window were asked whether they were signalling to the outside world. All this while the big dog was actually on the radio barking as much of it as he could in 10 minutes.
At the press conference (the guest list for which was approved by ministers), journalists were present but weren't allowed to ask questions. A man from Shell asked a question. He said: "Prime Minister. Does this suit make me look fat?" Or something.
It's the most serious challenge facing the human race, of course, so of course the absolute top priority is media management.
In the Commons, the excitable David Miliband said he'd do almost anything to combat climate change. Except turn down the central heating in government buildings. No, so far, they are only choosing to do things that can't be done. So, rainforests? Alas, they're "sovereign territory of the countries whose forests they are". Why can't rock stars buy them? Why can't Sting and Thing and Bono and Bobbo and Bongo go off and buy a billion acres and plant palms? Or if rock stars won't, why can't David Miliband?
There will be any number of ways he will explain his inabilities, but essentially, it's just too manual, too physical, too practical. Our political class is thoroughly enjoying this crisis because they get to tell us how the Least Developed Countries Fund for Climate Change and the Special Climate Change Fund will rely on policy frameworks generated by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership. But when REEEP snaps into action, do you get sucked along in its slipstream? Does this cause any pain to our political entrepreneurs?
The carbon trading system seems to be a terrifically good idea, creating as it does billions of pounds for the City of London. We are the emissions trading centre of the world. And while it encourages fundamental British virtues of enterprise and salesmanship, I'll give you 10/1 it doesn't create any net reduction in carbon emissions. Whatever the Carbon Committee comes up with.
After all these committees have researched and agreed on targets and fiddled their statistics and established a mutually intelligible reporting system, do you think carbon emissions will have gone up or down?
We won't know. Because by then we will have demonstrated that our government has absolutely world class media management.Reuse content