Bill Carmichael: Cold reality of fuel bill rises

THE Lord must have a wickedly mischievous sense of humour – because every time the great and good convene to discuss global warming, He sends a splendid joke in the form of freezing cold weather.

This phenomenon happens so frequently in the United States that it has its own name – the Gore Effect, named after the presidential sore loser and high priest of the global warming cult, Al Gore.

Whenever Saint Al arrives in his private jet to lecture lesser mortals about the evils of flying, you can guarantee that temperatures will plummet to sub-Siberian levels.

He is a walking one-man cold front.

But, weirdly, the same thing is now happening on this side of the Atlantic, too.

This autumn, MPs gathered to discuss global warming, and, immediately, central London was blanketed in heavy snow – the first time this has happened as early as October for more than 80 years.

So I should have known what to expect when I read this week that in order to combat global warming, Lord Turner's Committee on Climate Change was recommending huge increases in fuel bills.

Sure enough, I was barely half-way through the story in my newspaper when I glanced out of the window to see an Arctic blizzard blowing in.

By Tuesday evening, I was forced to abandon the car in a snowdrift, while many roads were blocked and hundreds

of schools forced to close because of severe weather.

Now I like a laugh as much as the next person – and I am naturally loath to criticise our Creator – but hasn't this joke gone far enough?

In substance, Lord Turner's report contained little that was new. It consisted largely of the now-familiar demands that, in order to assuage the guilt of prosperous eco-warriors, the poorest people in society must be forced to suffer.

There is no practical reason for this. Every pensioner in Britain could expire over their one-bar electric fire and it wouldn't make the blindest difference to global temperatures over the next 50 to 100 years.

Environmentalists want Britain to bankrupt itself in order to cut carbon emissions, but this will be a futile sacrifice so long as China and India are burning coal as though it is going out of fashion.

But the practicalities are of no interest to the eco-zealots. Global warming is a religion, not a science, and suffering, even if it is completely pointless, is considered good for the soul.

Such self-indulgence is all very well in times of plenty, but now that the recession is biting hard, isn't it time we found something more important to

worry about?

Welfare and work

UNDER this Labour Government, the Queen's Speech always brings on a sense of dj vu.

There's invariably a promise to crackdown on benefit dependency, which fizzles out until the idea is revived again in time for the next Queen's Speech.

What chance is there that this time around things will be any different?

The latest welfare reforms are, in fact, incredibly timid. Claimants should be "ready for work", according to a report drawn up for the Government by academic Paul Gregg.

Claimants who failed to turn up for meetings would be punished with "not-that-severe monetary sanctions", he added. That'll teach 'em!

But even these mild proposals have been condemned by unions and backbench Labour MPs who have vowed to defeat them.

The welfare state was originally envisaged as a temporary safety-net to stop people falling into destitution – not a permanent lifestyle choice.

Until we can return to that original philosophy, all attempts to break down welfare dependency are doomed to failure.

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