Time to call again on the Chartered Institute of Well You Don’t Say, to consider the Tories kicking the environment into the long grass while bragging about how green they are. And Nigel Farage coming over all Norma Desmond about a second Brexit referendum…
Putting on, figuratively at least, her green wellies, Theresa May made a less than plastic fantastic speech on the environment yesterday.
Let’s give her half a cheer – hi-hip-but-no-hooray.
Yes, it is good to hear a prime minister talking about the environment. And she is right to raise the plastic horrors clogging up seas and choking wildlife.
But what was proposed yesterday? Ahem, extending the 5p plastic bags charge to small shops in England – something that already happens in Scotland and Wales.
What she gave us isn’t a plan; a plan has something written down in hard words; a political plan would introduce measures that can be voted on in Parliament and have legal backing; this is a passing promise, not a plan; vague aspirations rather than anything concrete.
She polished up her green credentials without doing much else. The legislation to ban microbeads is welcome, but we knew about that already. The so-called northern forest along the M62 corridor sounds like a gimmick, especially when set against ancient forests being sacrificed to the rails of HS2. And planting trees with one hand while fracking with the other suggests she suffers from a split personality.
Talking about the environment is a good start; joined-up green thinking is what’s needed now, rather than wishing on a falling oak leaf.
And now let’s turn to Nigel Farage, always a dispiriting task, I find. Speaking on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff – a show I have never seen – Nigel yesterday said he was changing his mind on a second referendum. He now believed a second vote would settle the matter for good, saying: “What is certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never, ever, ever give up. They will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.”
Takes one to know one, Nigel. You rode the anti-Europe surf for years and years, never for once shutting up.
It is hard not to detect a longing for lost limelight in this sudden enthusiasm for a second referendum. Like Norma Desmond, the faded silent film star portrayed by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, Farage lives in a fantasy world where he dreams of making a triumphant return to the political screen.
And as Norma said: “I’m going to be bigger than peanut butter!”
In Nigel Desmond’s case, that’s the horrid smooth stuff that clogs the mouth up; your mouth rather than his, sadly.