Tory prophets of doom

Two Conservative iconoclasts offer pronouncements for the end of 2009, Max Hastings in the FT on Britain and the recession, and Nigel Lawson on Copenhagen, both Tories of different kinds. Both are too lugubrious to be of much use to a party expecting to take office in 2010. Ironically, they remind me of the great fin de regime anti-Tory slogan of 1964 : Thirteen wasted years”. Arch climate change critic Nigel Lawson is at his most supercilious in the Wall Street Journal, his natural home. This piece captures the tone of a man who was so self regarding he actually looked down on Thatcher. I don’t agree with him but as Enoch Powell was, he’s a great read. From Nigel Lawson
“Just one more heave, just one more venue for the great climate-change travelling circus—Mexico City next year—and the job will be done…. Or so we are told. It is, of course, the purest nonsense. The only breakthrough was the political coup for China and India in concluding the anodyne communiqué with the United States behind closed doors, with Brazil and South Africa allowed in the room and Europe left to languish in the cold outside.

Far from achieving a major step forward, Copenhagen—predictably—achieved precisely nothing…
..the outlines of a credible plan B are clear. First and foremost, we must do what mankind has always done, and adapt to whatever changes in temperature may in future arise.. And beyond adaptation, plan B should involve a relatively modest increased government investment in technological research and development—in energy, in adaptation and in geoengineering.”

From Max Hastings
Was that the financial crisis, then? It wasn’t so bad.”
Such a view seems to represent monumental self-delusion. Historians are likely to look back on 2009 as the year in which Britain was confronted by truths of lasting significance. For two decades we have supposed ourselves a successful society. It has been an article of faith that the revolution wrought by Margaret Thatcher transformed a sclerotic, declining nation into a dynamic and robustly prosperous one. We decided that we manage our affairs better than our European partners do theirs.
The events of the past 18 months suggest otherwise. Britain is emerging from the crisis weaker than other developed economies, and notably more vulnerable than Germany and France. I

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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