LIKE Romania in the old days when the media extolled the splendour of Ceausescu’s leadership, RTÉ recently devoted two days of political commentary to praising and analysing Vlad’s glorious plan for dealing with climate change.
On and on it went and, when Blueshirt hacks collapsed from exhaustion, their place was taken by Greenies, scores of them. The Greenies, however, were not unanimous in their flattery and, although they took a slightly critical line, it was clear they believed Vlad had been enlightened on matters environmental by someone similar to the Archangel Gabriel, the patron saint of environmentalists and stamp collectors!
Vlad, you see, approved of more ‘retrofitted’ homes, levies on plastics, plus ‘incentivised’ – whaaa? – schemes for car scrappage, and ‘renewables’ that would supply 70% of our electricity by 2030! Verily, as the prophets might say, he and his party, Fine Gael, had experienced a Damascene conversion!
Even more impressive was the fact that Vlad wasn’t spouting a coercive agenda. Instead he was giving a ‘nudge’ to people so that they’d change their ‘environmental’ behaviour (no, he didn’t say ‘nodge,’ the ingestion of which would have had a similar effect!).
Here’s the gist of the message that Vlad, our hallowed Taoiseach, presented to the Plain People of Ireland: “For young people growing up today, one of their greatest fears is that the world will be destroyed in a climate apocalypse”.
Lower the temperature!
It was a profound statement and of a sort that reminded us of the wonderful response by Vlad’s old mucker of the Free World, Mr Trump, who remarked after having had climate change slowly explained to him: ‘If we need to, why don’t we just lower the temperature by switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius?’
And when the scientists continued to warn Trump that the US was now producing 48% more carbon emissions than in the 1970s, the President put an end to the debate with this comment, ‘You’re talking horse-shite. If we had to, we could half that figure by dividing it by two.’
Madness aside, the Greenies were not averse to lobbing an occasional petard in Vlad’s direction. They reminded him that although he and his crew travelled to the Dáil on a new hybrid bus to emphasise FG’s climate change credentials, in the last seven months the government had bought 200 ‘dirty diesel buses’. According to Greenie-in-Chief, Eamon Ryan, it was ironic that the Taoiseach was introducing ‘dirty diesel buses’ and at the same time announcing a climate action plan.
Other controversial initiatives included taxes on single-use plastics such as plates, straws and balloon sticks; items vital for the nipper’s birthday party which, after all, no one wanted to see priced beyond the ordinary person’s reach!
Seventy years’ wait
Vlad also promised a ‘microgeneration scheme’ (new buzz-word?) that will allow homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell what they don’t use back to the national grid”.
That, definitely, was a non-runner. Why? Because on March 31st of this year Our Leader peremptorily ended the incentive-payment-scheme for generating solar energy in one’s own house. Consequently, punters who foolishly installed solar panels since that date will have to wait upwards of 70 years to get back their original investment!
Other big Vlad ideas included restricting certain parts of our cities and towns to ‘zero-emission vehicles only.’ This will be accompanied by ‘changes’ to car-parking policies in urban areas, a plan that so far has remained hazy, ill-defined and stuck in the over-excited brains of his Environment Minister’s ecological advisers.
Congestion charges in cities and towns also were under consideration (certainly not a vote-catcher) while ‘equalising’ prices would apply to petrol and diesel. As well, ‘a car scrappage scheme would encourage the take-up of electric vehicles.’
Vlad also intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve ‘the efficient use of nitrogen and land use’ but he doesn’t tell us how. Oh, and there will be ‘increased afforestation’ and ‘improved management of peat-bogs’ The usual stereotyped promises, blah-de-blah stuff to fill a page!
But, and here’s a good one: In response to Vlad’s Big Plan, the Greenies had a field day, cruelly reminding him that Ireland is the worst-performing country in Europe on the Climate Change Performing Index. Embarrassingly, they also shone a light on Fine Gael activity in Europe where MEPs have opposed climate measures that would reduce the EU’s 2030 emissions target to 55%.
All of which was communicated to the government against a background of EPA warnings that Ireland would fall far short of its carbon emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2030, and that this would happen despite the climate action measures contained in the National Development Plan.
Is it possible, we ask, that what Vlad the Impaler has presented as a radical plan is nothing more than a collection of ancient banalities? Tarted-up old stuff, well-chewed and then spat out? Never!!!
A secret society?
And now for something different: Richard Bruton, the Climate Action Minister whose environmental notions were ‘borrowed’ by Mr Vlad, discreetly announced week that he was organising a government ‘town hall’ meeting in UCC. The purpose of the meeting was to promote Bruton’s Climate Action Plan. Yes, Bruton’s! (The Plan, it seemed, bounced back to the ownership of the Environment Minister).
Now, a ‘town hall meeting’ was a new one for us. It’s an American concept and involves local and national politicos meeting the public and discussing upcoming legislation. In Brutal’s case, the arrangements were weird.
According to De Paper, the meeting was by invitation only. And those privileged to get the Bruton invite were not common or garden Corkonian Blueshirts, but UNESCO! Yes, UNESCO! The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation which is based in Paris!
Also invited was an outfit called The Irish Rural Link (who they?), the GAA (we genuinely kid you not!) and some well-behaved Fine Gael students.
The ‘public’ meeting was not publicised in advance; it was by invite only and the invitees had to reply immediately. Neither was the location of the meeting identified to the press, nor the starting time.
But what really took the biscuit was Fine Gael’s instruction to the meeja to go away, get lost, get out, take a running jump, they weren’t wanted, when Brutal and Coveney finished their opening speeches.
Secretiveness and mystery surrounded the event – which had us wondering if Fine Gael had degenerated into a whimsical secret society whose activities were best concealed from the public lest the party was perceived as a gut-splitting, political joke?
On the other hand, within such a context, we might bear in mind the comment of this scribe’s granny who didn’t approve of political jokes: she’d seen too many of them get elected!