26 March 2007

Cameron the weathervane

Tonight, Peter Hitchens presented a Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Cameron's rise to the top in the Conservative party and although I am always happy to bring down any politician, I find it odd the way in which Hitchens attacks Cameron. One of his main points was that Cameron has forgone principles in favour of a populist media driven bid for power. What surprises me is that Hitchens is surprised. Cameron is doing exactly the right thing to progress a career in politics; he is directing his party in the manner that will gain most support, principles are irrelevant.

Hitchens is disappointed that the Conservatives have abandoned principles for a naked grab for power, but this simply proves that in a democracy the kind of vague feel-good jargon that Cameron peddles is exactly the stance that wins elections. It is precisely those who do hold a set of logically consistent principles who fail to achieve power in a democratic system. This is because most people are not driven to vote by logically consistent principles, but by emotions.

This is what is meant by the 'centre ground', it is not really the centre of anything, more accurately it is the absence of any underlying philosophy. If it does have a guiding principle it is expediency. This is what all democratic systems become, an inconsistent assemblage of policies designed to appeal to the current emotional condition of the majority of the populace. Assuming the polls are accurate, in a very real sense we do still live in a democratic country, it is just that democracy is not what some people thought it was, i.e. about principles.

19 March 2007

I believe in TV

After watching The Great Global Warming Swindle I was tempted to write up my thoughts on the science behind this programme and whether or not it did debunk the widely held view that humans are directly causing the world to heat up to cataclysmic levels. However the debate at Samizdata probably illuminates the general thinking of those already unconvinced by Anthropogenic Global Warming.

I do think it odd that there has been no decent critique of the science in that programme (at least not that I have seen, let me know if you have seen different) and that the attacks are mostly ad hominems against the 'raving marxist' Martin Durkin who made it. Of course I do think it somewhat ironic that the followers of the Leftist cause par excellance are having a go at someone for being a Leftist.

"Durkin laughs about the fact that many environmentalists fancy themselves as leftists, yet ‘they are always exposing me…as a leftist!"

However, the thing that has caught my attention most since the programme aired was how easily former stalwarts of the Global Warming movement are swayed. I have heard a number of people, previously fully convinced of Global Warming and the need for much government intervention, suddenly pipe up and explain to all and sundry how anthropogenic CO2 has virtually no effect on global temperatures. Now, leaving aside the veracity of the programme, how fully can you have thought through and been convinced of your position to be swayed in the opposite direction by one prime time television programme?

I'm not suggesting that those who considered there to be some truth in Global Warming and were moved slightly away from that position are behaving at all strangely, but I do think it odd that those all for heavy taxation to prevent impending doom one minute, are suddenly doubting the whole thing the next! Whether the contents of this programme are acurate or not I will leave for you to decide, but before we rush headlong into more statism, it is worth pausing to consider just how certain Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates actually are.