Could a climate change split undermine Dave’s chances?

Could a climate change split undermine Dave’s chances?

How dangerous is the issue for the Tories?

Only days before the Copenhagen climate summit Andrew Grice in the Independent is reporting what’s said to be growing split between many parts of the Tory party and its leadership on the issue.

It will be recalled that just four years ago one of Cameron’s first acts as leader was to take a lead on climate change as part of his effort to try to modernise his party and there was that highly publicised trip with the huskies.

Now with all the focus on the coming summit doubters in his party are coming to the fore and even his former leadership rival, David Davis, is questioning the wisdom of imposing too tough a regime of targets.

He’s quoted as saying: “… “The ferocious determination to impose hair-shirt policies on the public – taxes on holiday flights, or covering our beautiful countryside with wind turbines that look like props from War of the Worlds – is bound to cause a reaction in any democratic country.”

I just wonder how damaging it would be for the party in this crucial election run-up period it is seen to be divided on the issue. My sense is that Cameron has judged the public mood rightly and it would be highly dangerous electorally to take any other position. But the more dissident voices there are the more it raises the question as to whether he has really changed his party.

Cameron was always going to be vulnerable to the charge that while he might be following a modernising agenda his party is only going along as far as it necessary to win back power.

The next five months are going to be the toughest of Dave’s life.

Mike Smithson

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