Monday, April 16, 2007

A Most Illiberal Policy from the LibDems

I've been looking at the LibDem Climate Change paper issued today titled CLIMATE CHANGE BEGINS AT HOME. The title is a little odd - you have thought the word STOPPING might have been included at the start. Let me say at the start that whatever one's views on climate change, it is a good thing for political parties to point out how people can be more environmentally friendly - and the LibDems are right. It does start at home. A proper environmental policy would look at incentivising people to 'Go Green' rather than automatically penalising them for not doing so. Sadly, this is where the LibDem proposals fall way short...

- They would force anyone wanting to re-mortgage for any reason or to apply for planning permission for anything – to fork out up to £10,000.

- Also, anyone buying a property who did not follow the plans for expensive renovations would be hit with a retrospective stamp duty punishment.

- They also want to give town hall inspectors powers to conduct “random spot checks” inside people’s homes. (how very liberal)
"A typical cost of refurbishment would range from £5,000 to £10,000, though
some properties with exceptional features, particularly among those built before
1914, could cost more." (p.10)

"one option would be to require homeowners to install a “WarmHome” pack within a year of buying the property or face a stamp duty increase on the transaction. These requirements would also apply where planning permission was sought for consequential improvements to a home or the homeowner re-mortgaged." (p.11)

"We will improve the notification and inspection processes: We will introduce random spot checks of new homes as they are constructed and as packages are installed in existing homes" (p.12)

Whatever the merits of improving energy efficiency, this is a massive intrusion into household privacy and the heavy-handed imposition of compulsory charges on households who may not be able to afford such measures.

45 comments:

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

This is what happens when you have been out of government for nearly 100 years. You feel free to put forward proposals which, if taken seriously, would keep you out of power for another 100 years.

<> said...

I always remember my Politics teacher saying "if you scratch a liberal hard enough you find a dictator"

AnyoneButBlair said...

Can't seem to get a copy to see these ludicrous proposals myself...but who ever said the Liberal Democrats were Liberal. More "obey what we the political elite say you should do for your own good or we'll apply our jackboots to your face"

Colin D said...

It is sad day when this is the best that the third party can come with.Any body would fink they was Scottish or summink

verity said...

The political parties have seized on the "green" non-issue because it is an oustanding rod with which to beat the back of the voters. I am certain that politician Al Bloviator was well aware of this when he embarked on this mission.

Unless policians are stupid enough to think they can control the sun (well, the ever-egotistical Blair might be), they would do well to take a page out of the book of the wise King Knut.

Anonymous said...

What seriously deranged ideas.... never mind, must pop out now to fill up the Bentley....

Beachhutman said...

I think they have just written another of those "longest suicide notes". They can eff off if this is their strategy.

hatfield girl said...

Any surface train journey through London will show a panorama of sagging roofs, bulging walls, derelict gardens and add-on structures, filthy brickwork desperate for repointing, rotting door and window frames...
Houses that are parts of terraces need to be restructured as such; I can't cope with my dry rot and leave yours (the gutters and downpipes need to be added to the list) ; or insulate only my part of what is essentially a much larger building.
And touching any part of a rotting structure held together by inertia, wallpaper and paint will produce costings that make demolition a cheaper option.

This authoritarian silliness is nothing to do with environmental friendliness. Bullies.
Why don't they come up with proposals to build new, around the big cities? With parks, and lidos, and heaths? There's lots of under-used pseudo countryside calling itself green belt. They'll never get power but they could make a creative contribution to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Among the illiberal rot proposed by those who are embracing the latest green fad (the first green fad was of course National Socialism so they have a good illiberal pedigree) I would like to lob this:

I dont want my house hemetically sealed like a space suit with every nook and cranny blocked up. I want air circulating and lots of it because I think any other way of living is distinctly unhealthy. Is it any wonder allergies are on the rise?

I don't want my loft insulated, lofts need to breathe if the wood is not to rot. Insulating your loft means its very cold and if you do not do various other expensive measures in certain houses (particuarly older one's I think) then the timbers can rot due to condensation which is even more expensive as you need a new roof once that happens, plus the increased risk of burst pipes. Also with 10 inches of insulation on the rafters I can't see how you can use it for storage anymore. (and it will be so cold it might rot the stuff you store)

I dont want to fill my wall cavities with some gunk that someone might discover in 30 years is iffy and has to be removed at vast cost.

Have you noticed how most new houses have such tiny windows, apparently to meet the insulation requirements? I don't want to live in a cell.

How long before some green idiot proposes a criminal offence punishable by 6 months in prison for "Opening a window while the outside temperature is less than 10 degrees centigrade"

Meanwhile we are all to be forced to drive with our lights during the day on by the EU which will probably increase carbon emissions by enough to cancel out every wind turbine in the country.

The sun heats the earth. The sun does not emit heat at constant temperature. Thats why you could grow grapes in Northumberland during the dark ages - as reported by the Venerable Bede.

tom_r said...

It is a shame that common sense seems to take a backseat when discussing 'green' policies. I think people are now genuinely concerned enough to change their behaviour to help preserve the environment, given the right incentives and opportunities to do so.

Handing out heavy fines is not the way forward - never has been, never will be.

kier said...

This document is classic Chris Huhne!

www.huhnewatch.blogspot.com/

Andy D said...

'Building new homes to tough, rigorously enforced standards, would significantly cut fuel bills and effectively pay for itself, making homes more affordable for first time buyers.'

What?????

Thats a load of crap in anyones book. 'We'll make the houses more expensive to build, thus making them more affordable'

Seriously this is supposed to be the liberal party?

verity said...

Sleazy, smelly, grotesque Gordon Brown could start charging window taxes again! The socialists love going backwards - because they hate and fear progress. Progress means they might lose some control.

Anonymous said...

About as vote winning as the curiously named 'Conservative' party's plans to tax anyone who has the temerity to make use of Ryanair or Easyjet.

Islingtonian said...

From my window I have a very good view of Canary Wharf and the City of London and I swear every single light-bulb is left burning all night. Why not do something about this blatant waste of resources instread of subjecting householders to a reign of terror? Surely the firms who pay the electricity bills would notice the difference, or are they so rich they don't care?

Jade F said...

This is the final straw. I'm resigning my membership. Six years ago I joined a liberal party but it's no longer anything of the sort.

mutleythedog said...

Why not turn off mains electricity every night at 12 - when the curfew bell rings....

Richard Dale said...

Always had trouble with what to call supportrs of our third party. Since they are neither liberal nor democratic, I feel I have to put both words in quotes, which is inelegant.

Chris Paul said...

Their policies are irrelevant as long as no-one lets them get anywhere near the top table.

The idea of compulsory greening of houses for ANY significant house improvement sounds mad even by their standards.

What if you need to put in a ramp or a lift or an adapted bath costing £4,000 in all? Do you then have to put in more than £10,000 for solar panels? OR do without the access improvements?

They are not Liberal and they are not Democrats.

MorrisOx said...

Usual half-baked, sixth form cobblers from the LibDems.

Don't see any harm on spot checks on new homes, though. Seeing as most housebuilders get away with daylight robbery for abysmally basic 'design', anything that encourages them to offer something faintly resembling value for money should be applauded.

If your average housebuilder had his way, you'd pay them a fortune simply for the plesure of having a pile of bricks dumped on your lawn.

Come to think of it, that's what your average new home looks like anyway/

Colin D said...

tom-r: please enlighten me on what this common sense fing is? having been in residence in blairs britain for nigh on a bloody decade the phrase is out of use. is it not?

bucf said...

The issue of climate change is obviously serious and as time goes on it will only get more so. Climate change does start at home but as everyone else has said we can't force it, this isn't a dictatorship..

BUCF

Tristan said...

Iain, what is your source for those quotations?
I cannot find anything like them on the page you link to.

It would be good to have sources quoted.

Richard Havers said...

mutleythedog said...
Why not turn off mains electricity every night at 12 - when the curfew bell rings....

Would that be before playing the national anthem or after?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

morrisox [7.11 PM] "sixth form cobblers". I like it. Deserves to become an acronym; SFC.

verity said...

bucf writes: The issue of climate change is obviously serious and as time goes on it will only get more so.

Wrong on both counts. It's not serious and it's been bubbling along since the Little Ice Age in the mid-1500s AD.

"Climate change" - leftyspeak for "global warming", which was also leftyspeak, but has now been discredited - is caused by changes on the surface of the sun. Not your house. You can relax.

forthurst said...

The document is rconomically illiterate drivel.
If you were to seriously believe politicians are capable of ameliorating the consequences of sunshine then by all means put in place appropriate legislation.
What is not appropriate is to have an open borders policy to the third world who consume far more in this country than if they stayed where they belong. Additional benefits would be less crime, less overcrowding in housing, hospitals, schools, roads, railways and underground. Deporting illegals would be a cheap an easy measure which would be immensely popular.
Incentivisation of housing improvements could be achieved by increasing the tax on domestic fuel. As for building regulations, if they dont deliver as much heating efficiency as Swedish housing, why not? Whose fault is that? The local authorities already ensure compliance with Building regulations. What needs to change apart from the regulations themselves?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...my money is on global warming being caused by the amount of hot air generated whenever verity opens her mouth on this topic..

Now if we could fill that full of cavity wall insulation 'gunk' we may be onto something..

Anonymous said...

Iain, shouldn't you wait to see what Dave Cameron's position is on this - before you get 'egg on your face'.. again ?

Sisyphus said...

If any of the scrotes running our three main parties *really* believe in global warming, whether man made or otherwise, can somebody enlighten me as to where their spending plans are for the (very unsexy, and not at all headline grabbing) infrastructure projects to cope with a warming world - increased sea defences etc.?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, no, and what egg?

no longer anonymous said...

The Liberals haven't been liberal for over a century. They are even keener on the busybody state than New Labour. All the genuine liberals joined the Tories.

no longer anonymous said...

"From my window I have a very good view of Canary Wharf and the City of London and I swear every single light-bulb is left burning all night."

It's so the cleaners can see...

Anonymous said...

Sisyphus - I think you have over looked the fact that a decision has already been made to move towards a policy of 'managed decline' since we cannot turn the sea back 'Canute' like.

Have a look at the attached website if you don't believe me - it is worth a look just so you can have a laugh at the euphemism 'Shoreline Management Plan' [sic]

http://www.happisburgh.org.uk/

Anonymous said...

Soviet Britain here we come.

It is official: The Conservative Party is now the most liberal main party in Britain.

Both Labour and Liberal Democraps want the big brother state.

As an eco warrior, I find it all rather depressing. I hope that these authoritarian policies are brought to the attention of the public.

garypowell said...

Forward not Back ?????

What they should have said was.

Back not Forward.

"We will make you pay for the journey and leave you there with no idear how to get 'back to the future'. And not just because you silly people will not have one by then......"

But New Socialism thought that back then, the truth, may turn out to have been a bit of a vote loser. So they just lied again, and put about changing the population to one more content to live a stoneage exsistance.

A very famous EX Liberal, Winston Churchill, once said.

"Socialism is the equal sharing of missery".

The scary thing is that,post the fall of the USSR, not only do a lot of socialists now KNOW this to be TRUE, they prefure to embrace 'poverty for all' then to simply stop being socialists.

The Liberal party should be made to rename itself under the Trades Discriptions Act.

Calling the Liberal/Democratic Party the Liberal/Democratic Party, is like calling The Klu Klux Clan, The Kent County Cricket Club.

Just because they are both crap and sometimes, all dress in white, is not a good enough reason to constructivly confuse people.

As for the shock of turning up at the St Lawrence to watch a game of cricket only to find.....

Anonymous said...

Verity: "Climate change" - leftyspeak for "global warming", which was also leftyspeak, but has now been discredited - is caused by changes on the surface."

Overwhelmingly scientists who express a view subscribe to man made global warming. Insulting to call them "lefty," although I doubt many hold your extreme righty views.

As for being discredited, that is not the case at all, unless you are talking about such luminary 'experts' who have something to sell such as the Michael Cretins (excuse spelling) science FICTION writer who also told us about dinosaurs have gone crazy on an island somewhere or the Piers Corbyns (eccentric not always reliable long range weather forecaster) who is brother of Jeremy and was once a Marxist candidate (so who are the lefties?)

Anonymous said...

Hatfield Girl said:

There's lots of under-used pseudo countryside calling itself green belt.


That's what nulab's 'spatial planners' and developers said of the Green Belt and farm land around Old Harlow. But Green Belt is not just the vital green lungs of towns like Harlow and London, it's also the great sponge buffer which absorbs the flood waters of a thousand, flood prone, water courses.

Concreting over and developing Green Belt has much the same effect as fixing a cling film wrapped sponge under a running tap. Though flooded houses, of which we now have more than our share, take a lot longer to dry out than a swamped kitchen.

If Iain had an image section I'd send you photographs and films of the disastrous consequences of nulab's attack on, Conservative voting, areas in the Green Belt, where sand bags now replace green space.

Auntie Flo'

verity said...

World famous anonymous 1:51 pm, addressing me, opines: "Overwhelmingly scientists who express a view subscribe to man made global warming. Insulting to call them "lefty," although I doubt many hold your extreme righty views."

Name them and their qualifications,please. Given that "climate change" has been going on since the universe began.

It seems they are all lefty "small world/one-worlder prosylitisers". There is not one reputable geo-scientist, oceanographer or climatogist among them. They're all lefties with agendas.

Apart from any other consideration, would you really want to be a member of the belief system of Bono or Madonna or Sting or any other egomaniac single-name pop-star? Do you have the faintest understanding of how unutterably naff these people are?

(I am going to design a plastic bracelet that you can wear on your wrist to change the world without actually doing anything, but my bracelet is going to change the world by being blue.)

BTW, can we call a spade a spade around here and not a trowel? "Rain forests" are jungles. If you have never been in a jungle, trust me, it doesn't feel like a lovely, free-floaty "rain forest", breezy and with gentle, misty rain every now and then. It is dense, still, insecty, unbearably hot, unbearably humid and jungly.

As Tony and Clydesdale Cher with a halter over her fat neck have dragged the "centre" over to the far left, I think you are quite correct to call me, in comparison, a "far righty".

Many thanks! And stay out of those "rain forests"! If the sweltering heat and humidity don't get you, the hundreds of insects will! .

Cinnamon said...

The revolution eats its children... Democracy bores them to death with incompetence?

UK politics are like a fish'n'chip shop -- full of food but none of it is edible.

Besides that, none of this stuff is going to work, there isn't the money. I think it really is funny that politicians have all those schemes on how they are going to tax the bejeesus out of people without realising that UK PLc is broke and that you cannot reach into the pockets of a nekkid man.

Ed said...

I hope all this green stuff doesn't mean we are at a political consensus between the main parties. We all know what happens when that happens!

Please see slum council housing, the Elephant & Castle, comprehensive education.

Vienna Woods said...

With all the mumbo-jumbo about Climate Change, Global Warming, or whatever else we like to call it, the Liberal statement is only half daft (as usual). I've long been a fan of turning the clock back a bit and doing something about the global clutter that we seem to have accepted with open arms. Nothing is made to last, so we throw it away and nothing is repairable unless we spend more than the cost of a new one! This is totally ridiculous and doing more to harm the environment than anything else. The millions of vehicle being churned out each year in India and China are just adding to the millions produced in Europe and the USA, but what is happening to the old bangers. It has to come to the stage sooner, rather than later, that we restrict the numbers of vehicles in use by having a closer look at current users and how individual vehicles are used. Many European countries are now regulating parking by forcing new housing projects to provide at least one parking space for each dwelling. The next stage is to regulate on-street parking to force people to get rid of second cars which litter residential areas for weeks on end. Whilst this is discriminatory it has woken me up to the fact that we rarely use our second car which is now being sold!

Anonymous said...

Verity. unless I was mistaken our esteemed host Mr Dale is a Tory and this blog is therefore somewhat sympathetic to the Conservative Party.

I am guessing that as a regular on this blog that you might be sympathetic to the Conservative Party.

Your views, Verity, are way out of line with the Conservative Party, who under David Cameron are rightly putting the environment at the centre of its policies, including measures to reduce massively CO2 to takle global warming.

So I can understand how frustrating it must be if you think you know better than the leader of the Conservatives and better than the thousands of scientists who say global warming is man made, preferring instead to listen to a small handful of scientists who seem to have something to sell.

But I am curious as to what your solution is in a situation akin to being told by the captain and most of the engineers that a boat is sinking? To keep denying it, until maybe it is too late and a lot of people die, or to join in the rescue operation just in case the captain and his experts are right? What are you going to do?

Roger Thornhill said...

This nonsense is even more Stalinist than I first thought.

The best way to deal with the CO2 problem appears to be to sort out Fusion using IEC (and not the expensive ITER). Everything else is just an excuse for authoritarianism.

neil craig said...

On the thread on the dollar rise I gave my opinion of the extent to which house prices are driven up by the shortage caused by regulation (I am certain well above doubled) & the damage this also does to the wider economy.

A liberal party literaly worthy of the name would be in favour of freedom not regulation.