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« Closed minds at the British Library | Main | Blocking the door to the marketplace of ideas »
Friday
Jan092015

What is Truss being told?

Liz Truss, the new environment secretary has taken to the media to flaunt her green credentials.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss “fully agrees that climate change is happening”, saying evidence on the issue – like the extreme weather events that battered the Westcountry last year – is very strong.

Ms Truss, whose department is responsible for ensuring the country adapts to the impacts of climate change, said she agreed with Prime Minister David Cameron in drawing a link between global warming and extreme weather events such as the winter storms that swamped the Somerset Levels, severed the main rail link at Dawlish and caused the region millions of pounds of damage in January and February 2014, from which many people are still recovering.

...

In her interview with House magazine, Ms Truss said she was briefed by both the Environment Department’s (Defra) chief scientist Prof Ian Boyd and the Government’s chief scientist Sir Mark Walport shortly after taking the role.

She told the magazine: “I fully agree that climate change is happening. I think the evidence is very strong, but this department’s role is making sure we adapt to climate change and that’s taken into account in all our modelling.

This is worrying. Regarding "climate change", by which we must assume she means "manmade climate change", to demonstrate that this is happening it is necessary to show that the changes seen are out of the ordinary. Mark Walport agrees that this has not been shown for temperature changes - he conceded this point in answer to my question after his Glasgow lecture. I am reasonably sure that he would concede that we haven't demonstrated that any other features of the climate have changed in a statistically significant way either.

He does argue that the fact that several features of the climate have changed in a direction that suggests warming provides strong support for the idea of manmade climate change, but this seems wrong to me. For example, melting Arctic sea ice is supposedly a function of temperature, but we already know that the temperature rise is not significant, so demonstrating that Arctic sea ice is moving in a warming direction (with such a short record, showing it is in itself significant is out of the question) does not provide any extra evidence. And of course the fact that the Antarctic ice is growing points in the opposite direction anyway.

We can follow this same line of reasoning with, say, atmospheric water vapour. Yes this has gone up in response to higher temperatures (I believe), but no, not in a way that is out of the ordinary (I assume). Indeed it is interesting to consider the question of whether a non-statistically significant temperature rise could ever produce a statistically significant change in atmospheric water vapour.

When it comes to extreme weather it's the same thing. The Met Office report on the winter floods concluded that it was not possible to link them to mankind (Julia Slingo's attempts to misrepresent the report's contents notwithstanding). The storms, as far as we can see, were not very different to 1929/30.

So how is Truss coming away with an idea that there is "very strong" evidence that floods are being affected by climate change? What is she being told by Walport and Boyd?

We understand that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and might be expected to affect the climate, but this is not the same thing as saying that there is evidence that the climate has been affected by it. Does everybody concerned understand that there is no evidence that mankind is affecting the climate until we have demonstrated that the climate is is actually doing something out of the ordinary?

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Reader Comments (52)

What does the IPCC say about "extreme" weather?

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

In regards to water vapour, there was a paper (2005, I believe) which says that it actually Dropped since 2000 http://acd.ucar.edu/~randel/H2O_after_2001.pdf

Of course I do not know if this situation has changed, or if it was right to begin with. What I DO know, is that presenting that paper to an alarmist often shuts them up :P

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterOtter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

You can hardly blame Truss. She took a PPE, and her background is sales and accountancy. She will say what she is told.

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Brute, Roger Pielke gives a useful summary of what the IPCC says on extreme events. It contradicts what Liz Truss says about evidence on extreme weather events being very strong.

Walport has made misleading public statements on extreme events, so if he is advising her, that fits.

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:47 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Be aware that politicians are acutely aware that they have to say the green stuff, but they don't actually have to do anything about it. Watch what the policies are, what they say is almost irrelevant and is just to keep the greenies off their backs.

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"She told the magazine: “I fully agree that climate change is happening. I think the evidence is very strong, but this department’s role is making sure we adapt to climate change and that’s taken into account in all our modelling"

Poor old cornish pasties are in for a bashing soon....60k people without power in N.Scotland would likely want to bash/batter a good few responsible for energy I would think.

La, la, la, la, la.....

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Well there is evidence that climate changes and there is evidence that there was flooding. Neither absolves the EA from responsibility for the terrible state of the flood defenses that made a bad situation much worse and neither changes the facts that all of our extreme weather comes from a meandering jetstream in the first place. Any warming for the UK would be an improvement.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Why, oh why, did David Cameron replace the highly respected Owen Paterson with the manifestly out-of-her-depth Liz Truss? Was it pressure from Greenpeace, who had been calling for his dismissal (in their usual bad taste when he was undergoing surgery)?
If it was, who runs the country, the Prime Minister or Greenpeace? I don't recall seeing Greenpeace on the ballot paper at the last election.
You are right, there is no statistical evidence of severe weather increasing. Wouldn't the Green Blob have a field day if the 1703 storm happened today?

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan Wilson

Andrew Neil tried to get answers from her on "Sunday Politics" show a few months back ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb4vh0mcFK4.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterrms

" So how is Truss coming away with an idea that there is "very strong" evidence that floods are being affected by climate change? What is she being told by Walport and Boyd?

Don't know about Walport and Boyd but the Jewel in the Crown has been developing a nice little "climate extremes dataset" with which to broadcast alarm. The fact that it is based on only 100 years of data and the planet and its "climate extremes" have been happening for a trice longer I doubt will figure?

HadEX2 - global gridded climate extremes indices

" HadEX2 is a global land-based climate extremes dataset produced through the coordination of the joint WMO CCl/CLIVAR/JCOMM Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI). It comprises of 27 indices of temperature and precipitation on a 2.5° x 3.75° grid from 1901 to 2010."

They say "27 indices of temperature and precipitation" though the HadEX2 Data: download page now lists 29 and in a .nc format? A list I am sure they will find not to be exhaustive.

So 29 nice little opportunities to have a chat with Liz Truss?

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I'm afraid I continue to have a considerable deal of sympathy for government ministers, which I know probably puts me in a minority these days especially with those who think they know how government works but in reality don't have a clue.
Truss has no personal knowledge of anything outside her own area of expertise or, possibly, any other interest or hobby she may possibly have taken up. (For all I know she may be a world expert on needlepoint or the history of Ghanaian football clubs but neither is relevant to the department for which she is responsible).
She is in exactly the same position as 99% of politicians in the world . So there is no point in blaming her for what she says when interviewed on any subject relating to her department; she can only speak as she is advised and she has little choice but to take the advice she is given as correct.
The trick is to make sure that the advice she is given is correct. Nobel Prize to the first person to crack that one!

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It's just strategy: when even the available IPCC science doesn't support a them (extreme weather events increasing because of AGW) then go for the believable local anecdotal story to promulgate a point of view and policy action.

Despicable and convincing tactic for voters who have a passing interest in AGW theory & policy but no real energy to form their own understanding of the science or policy.

Most definitely misleading the public though...I am sure the BBC will pick up and run all her comments...

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

NASA data shows that storm frequency and severity has REDUCED over the past 50years. Truss is obviously following model output not reality.
We do not understand that CO2 is a ''greenhouse gas''. To claim that CO2 acts like a greenhouse shows a complete lack of knowledge about how a greenhouse works. That CO2 is a good adsorber and emitter of IR energy means that it helps to COOL the hotter surface not increase its temperature.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:09 AM Mike Jackson

For ten years I worked in a Marine Biological Laboratory in the Physics Department. My expertise was designing electronic instruments to enable the Biologists to measure various parameters for their research.

If the Director asked me to become a Marine Biologist I would have to refuse, unless I could do a suitable amount of study beforehand.

Any politician who is asked to become a Minister should give the same answer to the PM. It is no use relying on others to advise one, they can so easily 'pull wool over ones eyes' if one knows nothing. Either that or being open when being intervied by saying, "I don't know"

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn de Melle

I'll only believe that "man-made climate change is happening now" in the UK when SUMMER day time temperatures start rising, which they ain't. Most so-called global warming has been rises in autumn/winter and night-time temperatures, entirely beneficial (except maybe for the heating and skiing industries).

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

@Mike Jackson. All ministers should study the wisdom of Sir Humphrey, and then accept that all advice they receive is biased.

It was stated on the news yesterday that David Cameron is refusing to take part in televised debates unless the Greens are represented. Whether this is an attempt to burnish his environmental credentials or a political move to hobble Labour and the Lib Dems is not clear.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Mike Jackson, it's a point you have made before, but I fully agree with you. I was a very minor civil servant some years ago and saw how the system worked. Ministers have to rely on their advisers. The Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister diaries are a very accurate guide to how it all works. In probably the first one, the chap who does know something about a subject is eased out by Sir Humphrey because he's been in the same position for quite some time (by civil service standards) and his thinking is in a bit of a rut. Whether it should be like that is another matter, of course.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Bloke down the pub. Snap!

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-387015/A-list-Torys-affair-married-Cameron-high-flyer.html

Nice to see she can keep herself warm in someone else s bed.

Geezer you,re obviously not as Dodgy as her.

Is this the same Liz Truss MP that claimed £ 2,579.67 in gas and electricity for her second home in expenses.
She does,nt has to worry too much about fuel poverty

Suppose us plebs we all have to cut our wasteful Carbon Footprint to stop it raining in Winter.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Interestingly enough the Grauniad quoted the MO as reporting that 2014 was the warmest year i England since 1910 and to demonstrate this they included a graphic that only went back to 1911. I suppose it would have been " off message if 1910 showed up as the warmest year on the graphic. As an aside is the annual average temperature the same in all location in England and if not how do they pick the location to use?

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeospeculator

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

SamCam wears the trousers. There can be no other reason that a party that got only 268,000 votes in an electorate of 31 million should have a say. Same goes for UKIP. I would have thought that they could have a debate with the "big three" then another with the little six.

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Another dodgy dossier it's the same level of evidence as we had about Iraq's WMDs

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

Mike J - "She is in exactly the same position as 99% of politicians in the world"

Maybe, but in the UK that means she put herself forward for election to serve the best interests of the nation as a whole:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmcode/1885/188502.htm#a3

"and she has little choice but to take the advice she is given as correct."

Nope, she can actively test, double check, and seek pro and con views and opinion. Rather as she should when making statements or decisions on her own behalf.

Otherwise what purpose does she serve?

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

They'll spout the same nonsense, even if the opposite is writ large on a large poster behind them, because they are programmed that way. They'll never change, never see the error of their ways, never accept that what they believe is utter nonsense, and in most cases, provably so. Even as their lifeboats fill with water and sink, they will still urge the oarsmen to row stronger. It's useless, all of it. The only way it'll EVER change, is for some person, or persons, with the opposite beliefs, backed by real science, and knowledge, to take charge. Unless UKIP win the next election (or even the next one after that), it ain't gonna happen, is it?

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

I am afraid that Ms Truss is an example of a very effective minister, Owen Paterson, being replaced by an idiot: for purely idealistic reasons. Truth is deliberately being sacrificed for political expediency, there might be a small excuse for the non scientific Ms Truss, but there is no excuse for Slingo.

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Maybe Truss has been getting her "CC causes extreme weather meme" from Richard Betts, he did say here on BH that there is proper scientific evidence (not just opinion) I paraphrase 'buried in the middle of the report.. I'm busy right now, yada yada'
- I think they operate on the theory that the link will be proven eventually and they are just ahead on the science.
However this is not the way the scientific method is supposed to work..they are allowing improper extrapolation on top of improper extrapolation so CC has become a ridiculous game of Chinese Whispers. but "Trust us " they still say

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I note that the gales yesterday were stated (on the BBC, where else) that the 113mph gust was the 'highest ever recorded..... SINCE 1970....'

Why is it that the media constantly comes out with these 'extremes' when, on the timescale which they refer to, amounts to trying to review a movie by assessing the full stop after the copyright date..?

By the way - any nice pictures yet of collapsed wind turbines..?

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Last time I looked at the annual UK rainfall chart it was pretty much a flat line over the last 100 years! Why hasn't it gone up? As to Liz Truss? Yes Minister writ large I am afraid to say! If any tv series needs a regular re-run it's that show!

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

John de Melle
Fine if you want to live in a technocracy. I don't. Imagine the present situation taken to its logical conclusion with the climate "experts" totally in charge at DECC, economists (which ones?) totally in charge at the Treasury and with no means of removing them except to replace them with another bunch of "experts" with their own take on their branch of the science.and the scientists' usual conviction that they know what's best for the rest of us.
It would be an even bigger nightmare than it is at present.

not banned yet
In theory. But if she doesn't know what questions to ask?
The present situation is that the civil service has become corrupted (note, please: not "corrupt"; that has a different implication) very largely by its politicisation under Blair. (There is also an argument about reverse politicisation under Thatcher; she didn't like them and they did their best to undermine her. Discuss!)
mike fowle makes a very good argument about the part traditionally played by the civil service and Yes, Minister is actually a good primer for anyone wanting to look deeper into it. Senior civil servants provided the stability which meant that ministers were advised on the likely effect of their policies and if they insisted on carrying them out in the face of contrary advice and warnings then so be it.
The situation now is that (it appears) civil servants are making policy within the departments largely, I suspect, because government of whatever political colour has become a policy-free zone.
If the only purpose your party has is to get itself re-elected, which was quite blatantly the situation with Blair who boasted that he wanted to lead the first Labour government to serve two full terms, then you are leaving a policy vacuum which the civil servants will happily fill with whatever non-policies they can get away with.
Add to that a bunch of second-raters (don't take it personally, Liz) whose principal purpose is to make sure they don't threaten the leader (goodbye, Owen) and you have the complete recipe for what we are seeing at the moment.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Pointless asking her to support these statements, because as we now know her standard response is: 'What I would say is.....'

- and then go on to answer a completely different - and irrelevant - question.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

sherlock1

... the 113mph gust was the 'highest ever recorded..... SINCE 1970....'
That'll have been the one that blew my porch down in Falkirk!

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"But if she doesn't know what questions to ask?"

First question to ask when presented with a brief:

"Does anybody disagree with this and if so whom?"

Or a similar formal, request for the contrary viewpoints.

Proceed from there taking small steps.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

'Ms Truss, whose department is responsible for ensuring the country adapts to the impacts of climate change,'

And therefore someone that would find themselves head of area a lot smaller or even one that would cease to exist if there were no 'impacts' . So given politicians are nothing if not empire builders what do you think their views on climate changes would be ?

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Sherlock

I note that the gales yesterday were stated (on the BBC, where else) that the 113mph gust was the 'highest ever recorded..... SINCE 1970....'

According to the Met Office, Fraserburgh had gusts of 142 mph in 1989!

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/climate-extremes/#?tab=climateExtremes

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Sherlock

BTW - Have any link to the BBC claim? I might complain!

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

How to make a climate minister with the 'right' attitude.

1) Get a science expert or two with no real climate science knowledge. Once indoctrinated, they fulfil the role of plausible deniability. ie they can tell lies without knowing that what they’re saying is a lie. They will make far bolder alarmist statements than a real expert.

2) Give the standard talk. This can be accurate but un-edifying. You know the sort of thing – warming since 1850, warmest decade on record, rising CO2, effect of weather on the poor, etc.

3) Demonstrate how impressive the computer and its models are. No need to mention they don’t work or that they may never be able to predict climate.

4) Discuss the IPPC report while hinting that it has to be toned down for political reasons.

5) Expound on how the latest research is much more worrying without admitting it’s always more worrying regardless of what the climate actually does. Use the phrase 'it's worse than we thought' liberally. Make sure you hint that a rock solid model of the future is almost ready without actually setting a deadline.

6) Introduce some of those very nice and earnest climate researchers to demonstrate that they’re to be trusted but admit that they’re only human so if the past predictions were slightly off, it’s just part and parcel of scientific discovery.

7) If you have to mention sceptics at all, just drop in a few shrugs and eye rolls. Say that any science has its loony fringe and climate science has a particularly large dark side due to fossil fuel funded opposition.

8) Make the minister feel that they’re now part of a special club of truly knowledgeable climate science allies. The pubic will one day whisper their name in awe and greatfulness.

9) Lunch.

Jan 9, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

She won't like my Opinion column in today's Farmers Weekly, then....
(Me? A shameless self-publicist?)

Jan 9, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

By the way - any nice pictures yet of collapsed wind turbines..?

Jan 9, 2015 at 12:59 PM | sherlock1

I presume you mean further to the NI one last week, some good pics in the Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/windpower/11324119/Wind-turbine-collapses-in-Northern-Ireland.html

My brain gives up on all the mega-giga stuff, but the Belfast Telegraph said that "The windfarm development generates approximately 50,000,000kW hours a year- enough renewable energy to power almost 11,927 homes on an annual basis" from eight Nordex N80 2500kw turbines. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/turbine-collapse-shuts-wind-farm-30880633.html

Anyone know what it has been producing?

Jan 9, 2015 at 5:35 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Thanks Green Sand for the link to the so-called HadEX2 climate extreme data set.

I dug through the info and found this gem:

"Extremes such as the annual maximum daily precipitation amount or the annual maximum wind speed have traditionally been modelled with one of three different Extreme Value Distributions in engineering applications. The extremes used as climate change indicators have a much broader context. While some of the indices would fall within the traditional definition, most do not. It is important to make this distinction when analyzing indices since only a very few can be assumed to follow an extreme value distribution."

So it is not a climate extreme dataset then. It is actually just a listing of daily precipitation and temperatures from a number of stations around the world. I guess the secret is to call it a "climate extreme dataset' and then the public will think that is what it is. And that abnormal climate extremes are happening.

Jan 9, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

Can't blame Truss, she is ignorant of all things "science", being (yet) another PPE graduate.
She no doubt gets her advice from the "best minds available" at the Met. Orifice.

Jan 9, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

The Met Office belittles itself with its obsession with "extreme weather". Like politicians and and the media generally, they now use it as a way to 'chase ratings'.

As with sports statistics, it is always quite easy to pull a new "record" from where the sun don't shine. Here's a cricketing example from the BBC today. The title may be "Smith eclipses Bradman record", but people who know anything about cricket will just yawn.

I can't get too angry with Truss in that she is out of her depth on the subject, and being deceived by people who with fewer excuses. But, if she chooses, she could educate herself and then fire them.

Jan 9, 2015 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@ michael hart: " it is always quite easy to pull a new "record" from where the sun don't shine."

Too true, the fact is that most of the recent 'extreme weather events' have been recorded from sites monitored from remote, digital, wireless stations from where there is no 'historical data. In previous decades the met orifice used to pay locals beer money to go up to their analogue 'weather recording' stations and record the data by hand, and of course when it was crap weather, they just sat in the pub and made it up.

Jan 9, 2015 at 9:44 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Mikky said: 'Most so-called global warming has been rises in autumn/winter and night-time temperatures, entirely beneficial'

That would fit with the effect of urban heat islands.

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldbrew

It is a really self-evident but values in climate records will continue to be broken as record lengths increase. The shorter the record the more likely the next value will "break the record". But extreme value distributions show that even very long record values will eventually be exceeded by the occurrence of the 1000-year flood, for example.

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

dennisa said:

Anyone know what it has been producing?

The Variable Pitch website has some data for it up to September 2014: Screggagh windfarm

You can view more detailed info by clicking the 'View full output data' towards the bottom of the right hand column, or click here. The output has been quite variable but looks to me to be vaguely seasonal - autumn/winter being windy and spring/summer being less windy. December 2013 had a high output of 7,272 MWh.(A capacity factor of nearly 50%) September 2014 produced a mere 1,245 MWh.(A capacity factor of less than 9%)

Jan 10, 2015 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Salopian:

"@ michael hart: " it is always quite easy to pull a new "record" from where the sun don't shine."

Too true, the fact is that most of the recent 'extreme weather events' have been recorded from sites monitored from remote, digital, wireless stations from where there is no 'historical data. In previous decades the met orifice used to pay locals beer money to go up to their analogue 'weather recording' stations and record the data by hand, and of course when it was crap weather, they just sat in the pub and made it up."

BUT, they would have "homogenised" from direct local knowledge. So if "today" was too cold and / or "too wet", they would have entered values, a bit colder / wetter than yesterday - at the SAME spot. And similarly, with "too hot" - though I don't think this is relevant in the UK. Maybe "today" - I was too drunk - but if it felt similar to "yesterday", well, repeat yesterday's measures.

A lot more accurate than using a temperature from hundreds of kms away.

Jan 10, 2015 at 2:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Lewis

Does everybody concerned understand that there is no evidence that mankind is affecting the climate until we have demonstrated that the climate is is actually doing something out of the ordinary?

ie, until we see (genuine) hockey sticks.

Jan 10, 2015 at 6:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

dodgy geezer - what's the PPE she took - Purple People Eater?

Jan 10, 2015 at 6:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterBobC

Ivor Ward wrote:

quote
SamCam wears the trousers. There can be no other reason that a party that got only 268,000 votes in an electorate of 31 million should have a say. Same goes for UKIP. I would have thought that they could have a debate with the "big three" then another with the little six.
unquote

Bish, if I'm being a bit sensitive here and have misread what Ivor is saying then my apologies.

The 'big three' parties, according to the last countrywide poll which really mattered -- i.e. it was a real election with those elected getting real influence* -- shows the big three parties to be UKIP, Con and Lab in that order. Greens were a gallant but trailing fourth.

UK Independence Party
4,376,635

Labour
4,020,646

Conservative
3,792,549

Green
1,255,573

Scottish National Party
389,503

Had the Electoral Commission been doing the job it's paid for and banned the use of the spoiler name 'An Independence From Europe', then there would have been an extra two UKIP MEPs, pushing our score to 26. The SNP got two total.

If Cameron wants a 'big three' debate then it should be us, Labour and his lot. The last quote I saw for the cost of renewable subsidies was £18,000,000,000 per year. Let's see Ms Truss defend that in South Norfolk. And the Minister for Energy, our chap, (another PPE) can explain how the cost of oil and gas halves without dramatically cutting the energy bills of his residents -- here's a clue, Minister, it's because you are making us pay for wind and solar.** We'll see how that goes over on the doorsteps.

JF
*Yes, I know, MEPs, so not a lot.
** Solar in Germany has a capacity factor of 6%

Jan 10, 2015 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

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