cross party consensus essential

Normally, I wince when people say ‘you have to take the politics out’ of a particular issue. Political debate and discourse is essential to sorting out most policies and there is no such thing as politics free governance.
However, it is clear that on climate change, our existing system of democratic politics is wholly inadequate. There are two main reasons. First, the time frame of four to five yearly elections is simply too short to allow politicians to take the measures necessary to bring about real change. Secondly, those changes are simply too radical to fit into any conventional manifesto.
Climate change, therefore, is like the attack on Europe by Hitler, simply too important and big to fit into our normal Parliamentary process. Gordon Brown is moving in other areas towards a more consensual approach to politics but on this issue his ministers are still playing narrow minded party games. Therefore, when in the past couple of weeks the Tories and the Libdems have publish interesting ideas about new approaches to the growth in aviation or congestion, their ideas were quickly slapped down by ‘on message’ ministers.
No wonder people do not trust the idea of Green taxes. In order to win them over, ministers and opposition politics have to sing from the same hymn sheet. They have to persuade people that the science is no longer a matter of debate and that the civilisation faces its biggest crisis. Therefore, ministers have to recognise that climate change requires a new approach to politics. So far, sadly, there is little sign that they realise that.

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