RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Net Zero is Brexit MkII – Political Class v People

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Net Zero is Brexit MkII – The Political Class versus The People

Funny how so many of those voices demanding that Britain remains aligned with the EU are now screaming blue murder because Rishi Sunak has ­announced that our Net Zero plans are being, er, brought into line with the EU.

Sunak has sensibly pushed back the proposed ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2035 – exactly the same date as the rest of Europe.

Yet rather than congratulate him on this conciliatory act of international ­harmonisation, the climate change ­zealots are ululating like widows at a Hamas funeral.

Judging by the hysterical reaction to the Prime Minister’s modest adjustments to the decarbonisation timetable, you’d be forgiven for assuming he’d just ordered the slaughter of the first born.

The loudest howls of protest are ­coming, inevitably, from Remainers – big business, the Blob, the Labour Party, the Greens, the BBC, etc.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak talks while a holding press conference on net zero policy change at Downing Street on September 20 

Sunak has sensibly pushed back the proposed ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2035 (stock photo)

Some of them appear to have taken all leave of their senses. We are told that because Sunak is delaying the ban on conventional cars and rowing back on forcing householders to scrap gas and oil boilers, Britain has instantly become an international pariah.

Apparently, we will no longer be welcome in diplomatic circles anywhere in the world. Sunak is accused of committing the most heinous act of ecological destruction since Hiroshima.

Sky News, which these days is worse than the BBC when it comes to banging the Net Zero kettle drum, even hunted down Al Gore for his reaction.

Yes, that Al Gore, former U.S. vice-president, eco-campaigner, private jet enthusiast and ocean-going climate hypocrite. A man with a carbon footprint the size of a yeti on steroids, whose 10,000 sq ft Tennessee mansion is said to consume as much electricity in one year as the average American family uses in 21 years.

Like a Jolly Green Genial Harry Grout, Gore pronounced himself very ­disappointed in Sunak, very disappointed indeed.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak lashes out at ‘ideological’ eco-zealots who ‘don’t care about families’ as he comes out swinging to defend green U-turn saying Brits should not be hit with £15,000 cost of new cars, boilers and eco-taxes earlier than rest of the world 

The former Veep was in New York attending the United Nations summit on climate change (I bet he didn’t go by Greyhound bus), along with other eco-warriors such as London Mayor Genghis Khan – who demonstrated his own deep commitment to eliminating greenhouse gases by flying business class across the Atlantic with five of his aides. Khan boasted to ­delegates that as a result of his hated Ulez expansion he had ­created the largest clean air zone – in the world. (That’s if you don’t count Heathrow.)

No doubt when he gets home, he’ll set fire to the London Eye on New Year’s Eve to illustrate how Sunak is responsible for causing global conflagration – just as he once turned the Big Wheel into a giant EU flag to flaunt his devotion to the European superstate.

Admittedly, not all the resistance is coming from Remainers. There’s also a revolt among sections of the Tory party, including Cry-Baby Sharma, the former windmills minister, some non-entity called Chris Skidmarks, and super-rich peer Zac Goldsmith.

I’ve always thought that Zac would have been far happier in the Green Party, along with Caroline ‘Here We Go Looby’ Lucas. And, as business secretary Kemi Badenoch pointed out yesterday, Goldsmith can afford to buy a top-of-the-range Tesla without resorting to hire purchase.

Most people can’t. Which is why Sunak is pressing pause on plans to force them to replace their cars and boilers, regardless of whether they can afford to. Why should hard-pressed families, struggling to get by on average incomes in Walsall and Warrington, be forced to fork out 15 grand-or-more they haven’t got simply to satisfy the vanity of virtue-signalling Westminster Village Idiots?

Why, too, should Britain be expected to ‘lead the world’ in tackling climate change, when we are responsible for fewer than one per cent of global emissions?

Sunak has at least restored a long-overdue sense of perspective, while sticking to the target of achieving Net Zero by 2050. He has acknowledged that the first duty of politicians is to protect the best interests of the voters who put them into office.

What’s the point of pursuing the elusive white whale when it involves bankrupting the country and impoverishing half the population, particularly when the rest of the world is either dragging its feet, or – in the case of China and India – heading off in completely the opposite direction?

It came as a YouGov snap poll found that half of voters – and a majority of Tory supporters – back plans to delay a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 to 2035.

Sunak is pressing pause on plans to force them to replace their cars and boilers, regardless of whether they can afford to (stock photo)

Climate change fanatics insist, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, that imposing Net Zero will bring untold economic advantages. Milk and honey all round.

Try telling that to the 3,000 skilled workers who are being thrown onto the scrapheap because of the ‘greening’ of the Port Talbot steelworks. Collateral damage, no doubt, a price worth paying to save the polar bears.

Once again, I find myself falling back on the wisdom of G.K. Chesterton, who observed that when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they start believing in anything.

Wokery, EU membership and Net Zero have replaced Christianity as our new state religions.

And ­anyone who dissents is ­considered a heretic, to be burned at the stake.

Battle lines are being drawn up. What we are seeing here is the new front line in the culture wars.

READ MORE: ‘The flak won’t stop me doing what’s right’: Rishi Sunak takes on eco-zealots in a bold move that could transform Tory fortunes and save families up to £15,000 as he hits the brakes on the race to Net Zero 

Like Brexit, this is another showdown between the political class and the people. The Blob and the Bubble may have lost the battle to Leave – for now – but they are determined to win the war over climate change.

These people don’t believe in gaining the consent of the people who pay their wages. They believe in stick, not carrot. We must be whipped into line by arbitrary, legally binding deadlines, backed by draconian punishments.

We won’t be given a referendum on Net Zero. As Ross Clark and Leo McKinstry explain elsewhere in today’s Mail, politicians and the civil service have been assiduous in locking carbon reduction targets into law.

Starting with Ed Miliband’s 2008 Climate Change Act, reinforced by Mother Theresa’s reckless commitment to an 80 per cent cut in emissions in the dying days of her Premiership, and Boris’s performative, plucked-from-the-air ­decision to bring forward the ban on conventional vehicles to 2030, the Net Zero agenda is designed to be irreversible.

Some us of may be celebrating Sunak’s surrender to sanity, but the backlash is only just getting underway. Expect the mother of all showdowns in Parliament, in the courts and on the streets.

Already the deranged XR fanatics are picketing Downing Street, accusing Sunak of climate ­genocide. How long before that Stop Brexit nutter with the megaphone outside Westminster turns his attention to climate change and starts howling at the moon round the clock?

Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle has gone into full Bercow mode, spitting blood over the Prime Minister’s failure to announce the change in policy in Parliament. A spokesman for the Speaker said Hoyle would have recalled Parliament if he’d had the power.

The fact that Sunak had no choice, after his speech was leaked by someone inside the Blob, is beside the point. Expect fireworks and motions of censure when the House reconvenes.

Far more serious is the threat of legal challenge. Net Zero is set in legislative stone – and that means the courts will inevitably become involved.

Remember Gina Miller, the frontwoman for wealthy Remain backers determined to frustrate Brexit? No doubt the deep-pocketed Net Zero vested interests will find another willing stooge to perform a similar role.

I wouldn’t bet against it going all the way to the Supreme Court, with a tame judge sporting a Greenpeace lapel badge ruling that Sunak’s policy is illegal. (Shades of Lady Hale in her Boris the Spider brooch declaring that the prorogation of Parliament over Brexit obstructionism was unlawful.)

No, this one is going to run and run – at least until Labour wins the next election and Keir Starmer reverses it.

And if all else fails, don’t be ­surprised if they manage to get an anonymous judge out of bed in Strasbourg to rule that the policy contravenes the European convention on yuman rites – in the same way they scuppered Sunak’s Rwanda policy.

That’s what they really mean when they demand we are brought in to line with Europe.

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