The Tories aren’t greenwashing.
The response of late to Tory climate commitments is well deserved and justified scepticism a derogatory claims of greenwashing; something I myself would agree with to an extent. However, these aren’t entirely empty claims.
There are so many things we could do here and go far more ambitious on; and this is a cynical move to steal Labour’s clothes on the Green Industrial Revolution concept (in name only) hence neutralising the issue. This may be a cold political calculation by the Tories and Johnson (their record would indicate so) but it’s still very welcome progress.
These latest commitments are big and bold, bigger and bolder than I would have originally hoped. Politics aside, some of these are sizable commitments, and it’s about holding their feet to the fire to actually implement big bold policies to go along with that.
Where does Labour fit in with this? Just shouting about more money and going further, while absolutely correct, won’t play politically. Labour need to make climate change part and parcel of their whole policy offering, and create a compelling vision of Britain that tackles climate change as part of a wholesale transformation of people’s lives.
The Tories are talking about jobs, and levelling up. Labour must be there to speak of a Green Fair Deal, a deal that empowers those left behind, something that gives prosperity back to left behind towns and deindustrialised communities, while simultaneously improving life and conditions for urban dwelling voters.
Green politics is the rock that should run through the 2024 manifesto, and if done with the language of fairness and community, and framed totally different to Tory efforts, it could be the single thing that can unite Labour’s fragmented coalition.
People will vote big for such a proposal if it’s sold as improving, not sacrificing, their lives. If not, the Tories eat Labour’s lunch and maintain power for a decade more.