Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Conservatives Stubb out Climate Change?

These are strange times in which we live. Ray Stubbs, a former credible sports presenter, is singing karaoke in front of millions on Fame Academy. At the same time, David Cameron, the leader of the conservative party in the UK, is trying to get back into power by running counter to usual Tory philosophy and arguing for HIGHER taxes on airline fuel. In both cases, there seems a smack of desperation by trying to persuade an increasingly fickle public to vote for their particular approach. The fundamental problem with the conservatives' ideas is their complexity - each passenger will be allowed one short haul flight per year without the higher tax as well as an VAT exemption for business travel - but the bureaucracy required to manage the scheme will allow loopholes and dodges for the usual beneficiaries of such schemes (i.e. those with the money to outmanoeuvre the rules).

In fairness to the Tories, personal flight allowances are but one of several options being considered. But they should be taking their traditional stance and rather than meddling, should be looking to market based solutions such as carbon trading. This is one area where the Prime Minister elect, Gordon Brown, actually has stealt a march by publicising the idea of a World Carbon Trading market being based in London.

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