Boris and Rishi Buy the Pyramids

For a brief moment Rishi Sunak, Britain's new prime minister, looked as if he might resist joining the rush over the cliff of climate catastrophism. Initially he decided not to attend the COP27 "climate change" summit in the former Israeli (now Egyptian) Sinai peninsula resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on implementing the U.N.-brokered plan to cut the world’s carbon emissions to Net-Zero by 2050. Then he said his mind was open to going. Finally he went.

My interpretation of his early reluctance was that he didn’t want “to be trapped into making commitments on Net-Zero that might later be inconvenient to his overall energy and budgetary policies.” If so, that was a very prudent judgment. And to be fair, the Prime Minister resisted a great deal of political and international pressure to stick to it. Then Boris Johnson, his predecessor, announced that he would be attending the climate jamboree. That proved to be the last snowflake that triggers the avalanche. Rishi felt he had to go.

Product of British colonialism fights climate imperialism in Africa.

Even on the day before he set off to Egypt, however, it became clear that his initial prudence was as amply justified as it has been brutally violated. Consider the back story of Britain’s finances. And pay attention because recent news stories may have given you the impression that the short unhappy episode of Liz Truss as prime minister was responsible for the dire straits of Britain’s fiscal situation that includes a budgetary “black hole” of 50 billion pounds, a proposed set of tax hikes amounting to 25 billon pounds, and spending cuts of about 35 billion pounds.

In reality both Ms. Truss and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, are entirely innocent of this Mother-of-All-Shortfalls. They were in office only about a month, and none of their proposed tax-and-spending changes were even introduced in that time. When they left office, they bequeathed to their successors the same exact inheritance of fiscal and monetary problems that they had inherited. Those problems in turn were the results of the massive expenditures on Covid-19 and the lockdown, of the stay-at-home rules that have shaped a workforce that today refuses to go to factory or office, and of the quantitative easing that built up a monetary backlog that is now emerging in rapid inflation and high interest rates.

And who is responsible for all those? No one more so than the former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unless you count his prime ministerial boss, Boris Johnson. They’re starting to look like a tag-team trying to win the race to insolvency before any other national team. And they have jointly taken a giant’s leap forward towards that result by their speeches and, yes, their commitments at the COP27 Summit.

BoJo: the damage he's done lives on.

Having pushed Rishi into going, Boris then gave a speech to the summit that pushed his former colleague further into massive financial transfers from the U.K. to developing countries. He did so by making the case that Britain was historically responsible for global warming because it had invented the industrial revolution:

The United Kingdom was one of, if not the first, industrialized nation. The first wisps of carbon came out of the factories and mills and foundries of the West Midlands 200 years ago. We started it all.

Historically speaking, that was nonsense. Even if you think that man-made carbon emissions are the sole cause of "climate change"—which is not the scientific consensus—Britain put extremely small amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for the first two hundred years of the industrial revolution. "Global warming" began in the 1970s, after the spread of modern industry around the world. Nor is it remotely true, as the leftist theory bizarrely embraced by Boris holds, that the industrial revolution was a privileged blight from which Britain and the early industrialized world derived all the benefits while the developing countries got none.

Quite the contrary. Among the benefits it brought to the whole world were modern medicine that eradicated entire diseases like smallpox and cured almost all the transmissible illnesses known to mankind; modern agricultural methods that ended famines and alleviated hunger and malnutrition; and new industries that lifted billions of people out of endemic poverty, increased living standards worldwide, and extended life expectancy well beyond “three score years and ten.” Any cost-benefit analysis that weighs those benefits against the costs of "climate change" would have to deliver a favorable verdict for the industrial revolution, which is why developing countries are all anxious to proceed with their own local versions of it.

Boris himself must have realized that he had just opened a Pandora’s Box full of prospective U.K.-financed transfer payments of incalculable expense to Africa and Asia. For he immediately tried to evade the responsibility he had just conceded by giving it a gloss of technology:

What we cannot do is make up for that in some kind of reparations. We simply do not have the financial resources. No country could. What we can do is help with the technology that can help to fix the problem.

But that realism was too late, as realism usually is for Boris. Leaders of the developing world were soon in full cry demanding the “implementation” of these and earlier promises from Western leaders. Negotiators for the U.K. and its G7 allies in the corridors and back rooms of COP27 were signaling that they were prepared to concede more money for “loss and damage” funds—a bureaucratic term of art now morphing from emergency disaster aid into reparations in disguise. And the bandwagon began to roll.

The Camp of the Saints awaits the West.

By the time that Rishi Sunak stood up to give his address only hours after Boris, he had conceded a moral responsibility to assist poorer countries to transition to a carbon-free world without actually using the word reparations. But he said that the U.K. would deliver its full pledge of 11.7 billion pounds from previous COP summits and—though vaguely—much more than that.

The bandwagon was picking up speed. But that's the purpose of COP climate summits. Once you’re at one, you can’t say nothing, and if you say something, it can’t be "no."

11.7 billion pounds too is an interesting figure—slightly more than one-fifth of the amount of money needed by the current U.K. Chancellor to fund the existing budgetary black hole in the nation’s finances. One doubts if the prime minister really wants people to remember it in ten days when the chancellor delivers his punitive tax-and-cut budgetary statement. That may explain why the government briefing of the U.K. press in Egypt, to judge from the next day’s headlines, switched from celebrating the U.K. taxpayer’s generosity at COP 27 to hailing an as yet uncompleted deal (originally embarked on by then-PM Liz Truss) for the U.K. to buy lots and lots of natural gas from the U.S. to keep Britain warm this coming winter.

As Rishi Sunak reflects on all this, he may remember uneasily an old WWII poster, revived for the Covid lockdown: Is your journey really necessary?

No Fracking Please, We're British

When last we looked in on the soap opera of British politics, Liz Truss had resigned as prime minister after 44 days in office, and it looked likely that the recently-defenestrated Boris Johnson might be on his way back in, much more quickly than even he had imagined. Well, Johnson himself scuppered that possibility, deciding at the last minute that he didn't have enough support among the Tories in parliament to govern effectively, and withdrawing himself from consideration. That left Rishi Sunak, who had placed second to Liz Truss in the long form leadership race just a few weeks ago, as the only serious candidate, allowing his colleagues to declare him the winner without all of the hassle of having to consult the actual members of the party. Very neat and tidy, that.

In any event, among his first acts as prime minister was to reimpose the Johnson's governments ban on fracking, which Truss had briefly done away with. Reversing what was perhaps the best policy of his predecessor -- one which laid the foundation for dealing with the country's long-term energy needs after years of environmentalist arglebargle -- doesn't speak well of him. Perhaps, as Andrew Stuttaford suggests, this was merely Sunak recognizing the reality on the ground, which is that fracking isn't particularly popular among elected MPs, even those in his own party, and that "this was not a drill worth dying on." The roundabout way that this policy was announced -- half-heartedly in an exchange in the House of Commons, with a confirmatory press release later -- suggests that this might be the case.

Stuttaford continues, "It will be more interesting to see if he retains Truss’s plans to issue up to a hundred more licenses for oil and gas. His past record suggests that he will, which is encouraging." Lets hope for the sake of the country that he does.

Still, this issue is not going to go away. As so-called renewables fail to live up to the promise of utopians, nations without reliable energy sources will be increasingly left behind. Some will lean into nuclear. Some will bring back coal. Some are blessed with oil and natural gas; and if they want to remain major powers, they'll make use of it.

And some will just return to the Stone Age, which has been the goal of "environmentalists" all along.

As Truss Falls, Does BoJo Loom?

Things are moving so fast in British politics that by the time this post goes to (digital) press, it's possible the U.K. will have gone through several more prime ministers, and Meghan Markle will be crowned queen.

Here are the basics: Newly minted prime minister Liz Truss has resigned after just 44 days on the job, the shortest ever term for a prime minister. She came into office hard on the heels of Boris Johnson, who resigned after he was caught lying about violating his own government's Covid restrictions on several occasions.

Determined not to be merely a caretaker P.M., Truss immediately initiated a bold -- some would say "foolhardy" -- plan to transform the British economy by slashing taxes across the board, with the biggest cuts for businesses and the wealthy, while also increasing spending. Much of that spending would go towards an energy "price freeze," which would cap the amount that Brits would pay for heat and electricity going into what is looking to be a brutal winter for heating and electricity rates. The bill for such a plan was projected to run into the hundreds of billions of pounds, but her hope was that it would it would keep the heat off her government while her Thatcher-on-steroids tax plan supercharged the economy and brought about elephantine growth.

The Iron Lady she wasn't.

Now here's what actually happened. The markets were disturbed by these sudden movements, and by the massive amount of new debt the government would have to take on to make this all work, especially at a time of significant and rising interest rates. Sterling tanked and bond markets went crazy.

Truss vowed that she would not change course. Then she started changing course, with new back-tracking announcements becoming an almost daily occurrence. She sacked Kwasi Kwarteng, her right-hand man and Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a desperate attempt to hang onto power, and appointed the establishmentarian, globalist, anti-Brexiter Jeremy Hunt to take his place. Hunt promptly got to work dismantling the rest of Truss's program.

Eventually the pressure got to be too great. After a tense vote on a Labour bill whose object was to prevent the government from reintroducing fracking, which the Tories won, despite several notable defections, the humiliated Truss was compelled to offer her resignation.

What is so strange about all of this is that it is easy to imagine a counterfactual scenario where Truss turned out a success. She ran for leadership as a continuity candidate: Boris, but without the erraticism, dishonesty, and drama. That was a pretty attractive proposition! Had she actually governed that way, pushing back on some of the negatives of the Johnson government while generally trying to steady the tiller, she might have had a long and illustrious career.

Kicking Boris' environmentalism to the curb would have been a good start -- Britain has a lot of natural gas, but environmentalists have been lying to the people about natural resource extraction for years. The politics site Guido Fawkes, for instance, recently wrote about a speech in the House of Commons by former Labour leader Ed Miliband about the possibility that fracking would bring with it earthquakes registering a 4.6 on the Richter scale, which could crack the plaster in houses and cause notable damage. This is ridiculous -- though fracking has been known to trigger tremors, they're rarely strong enough to be felt, only to be detected by powerful instruments. The strongest one ever, according to Fawkes, was a 2.9, which is comparable to "a pound of sugar being dropped on a kitchen floor."

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

Boris famously leaned into this misinformation, including in his farewell speech as prime minister. A successful Truss could have checked it, while noting the absolute necessity of developing domestic energy sources in light of growing scarcity. Doing so wouldn't have required abandoning all Boris' plans. It could even have reinforced some of them. There's an obvious match between his "leveling-up" project, meant to improve those forgotten, working class regions of England's north (where he scored a stunning success in the last election), and the jobs which an expanded resource sector could provide.

At the Telegraph, Lord Frost even argues that Truss could have gone ahead with her own program, had she actually laid the groundwork for it over time:

Truss tried to deliver worthwhile reforms and set the country onto a much-needed new direction. I supported this policy direction and still do. But it was rushed and bungled. The markets were spooked. The mistakes were opportunistically seized on by her opponents to undermine her leadership, to blame Brexit, and to stop the party getting out of the social democratic tractor beam of the past few years.

In any event, yet another party leadership race will be held as soon as possible to determine who will govern, with Rishi Sunak -- the wealthy establishmentarian who came in second to Truss last time -- seen as the front runner. Unless, that is, Boris Johnson decides to throw his hat into the ring, as voices both inside and outside parliament have started calling for him to do.

Unfortunately for the Conservative Party, polling seems to indicate that the British people are getting sick of this ongoing Tory psychodrama. The Labour Party has started calling for an early election, which they are in a good position to win. And losing might ultimately be good for the Tories -- having squandered a huge mandate with Johnson, they could do with a good long stretch in opposition to figure out what they actually stand for.

Still, as Labour's policies; fiscal, social, and environmental; are so much worse than those of the Tories, the country as a whole would probably be much better off if they would just get their act together. Don't hold your breath.

Two Years On, Covid Origins Still a 'Mystery'

Covid-19 is a virus with a questionable origin. No “intermediate” animal host or  “progenitor” animal species has been found after more than a year of looking, per the World Health Organization:

The trouble with this hypothesis is that Chinese researchers have not succeeded in finding a “direct progenitor” of this virus in any animal they’ve looked at. Liang said China had tested 50,000 animal specimens, including 1,100 bats in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. But no luck: a matching virus still hasn’t been found.

And,

But research has already forced China to abandon its original tale that the virus leaped from wild animals to a human at the Huanan Seafood market in December.

Zero-Covid or bust!

According to the chairman of a recent Lancet-sponsored origin study, Covid-19 “was an accidental release ‘out of US lab biotechnology’.” Covid has a “genetic footprint that has never been observed in nature.” The oft-discussed, but perhaps not-quite-smoking gun of the Furin Cleavage Site (FCS) has been investigated thoroughly without a solid conclusion,

The reverse complement sequence present in SARS-CoV-2 may occur randomly but other possibilities must be considered. Recombination in an intermediate host is an unlikely explanation. Single stranded RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 utilize negative strand RNA templates in infected cells, which might lead through copy choice recombination with a negative sense SARS-CoV-2 RNA to the integration of the MSH3 negative strand, including the FCS, into the viral genome. In any case, the presence of the 19-nucleotide long RNA sequence including the FCS with 100% identity to the reverse complement of the MSH3 mRNA is highly unusual and requires further investigations.

Yet, further investigation of Covid’s origin has been blocked at every turn and valuable data has been hidden by the U.S.  government at the request of Communist China. Even “Dr Fauci now says he's "not convinced" the virus originated naturally.”

What about the “vaccine”? The U.S. government funded a Chinese Communist Party military scientist who patented a vaccine just five weeks after China first announce human-to-human transmission of Covid-19, and just a few months before the patentee “mysteriously” died.

“This is something we have never seen achieved before, raising the question of whether this work may have started much ­earlier,” Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky from Flinders University told the paper.

Although Western governments reacted to this “novel” virus as though it was an extinction level viral strain delivered to earth by an unmanned research satellite, in fact, its lethality seems confined to those already past their actuarial table life expectancy with the added disadvantage of more than a  few comorbidities. Were the deaths of these people tragic? Of course. Did the reactions of nearly all Western governments make the situations worse? Of course. The imposed lockdowns not only were violations of millennia-old rights across Western Civilization, they were totally ineffective at stopping the virus. Added to that, these lockdowns may have caused as many as 170,000 excess deaths in America, alone, per the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Schwab and Xi, got us up a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

But – perhaps not enough people died to please the WEF/Davosie Great Reset Gang intent on using Covid to winnow the pesky Middle Class continually demanding liberty, freedom and the Rule of Law – the current definition of “Far Right Extremism,” for those not paying attention.

These meddlesome deplorables gave the world Trump (gone), Boris (gone), Abe (really gone), and insist that the self-government and liberty we view as our birthright within Western civilization be prioritized over the selfish wishes of our new rising authoritarian class now owning most housing in America, the most farmland in America, as well as the Congress, the administration and most of the courts. We deplorables—believers in America, the Dream and the futures of our children—are not acceptable to the Western P\political establishment or the corporations that have captured it.

Our elites demand depopulation and Marxism and are determined to get it. The Klimate Kult is admittedly and proudly redistributing our freedom to people lacking the sense or inclination to pursue the rule of law and capitalism, with a stated intent to convert the West to communism. Communism has no middle class. For our elites to achieve their goal of communism they must rid the West of our middle class. Notice they are not vaxxing the hell out of the Third World.

Was the virus less lethal than planned, not lethal enough to cause the desired depopulation? Were those young people not at risk from Covid forced to inject an experimental vaccine thanks to the government's overreaction to a pathogen similar to a bad flu clearly has been? And were the immediately-patented “vaccines” and the never-before-used-on-humans mRNA technology simply to increase the body count both directly and through hugely decreased fertility once everyone had chosen, or was directed at the cost of their jobs or school or church, to inject? Let’s look at Sweden.

Is the evidence against this theory any weaker than any other evidence in the long-running mystery that is the attack on the West via climate, ESG, and, now a non-vaccinating “vaccine” to a virus that seems daily to be gaining more plausibility as an invention of these same elites? The West is under attack from within by its own mandarins. They won’t stop voluntarily.

Boris Gives an Energized Curtain Speech

Yesterday Boris Johnson ceased to be the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister. A few days beforehand, in the dying days of his power, as the curtains swayed above the stage, about to descend and extinguish his premiership, the Old Pretender staged one last show of defiance and self-justification. And to the shock of the commentariat, it wasn’t the exercise in empty rhetoric and jokey bonhomie they were expecting.

Quite the contrary, Johnson announced an $800 million energy investment by the government in nuclear power; mildly rubbished the reintroduction of “fracking” for natural gas that his successor, Liz Truss, has promised; and strongly defended his “Deep Green” record of transitioning from fossil fuels to “renewables” like wind and sun in pursuit of the goal of Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It didn’t sound like the speech of a man who was bowing out of public life. More than that, Boris was defending the record of his premiership on the very energy and environmental issues on which he’s accused by many Tories of betraying his and their conservatism. He was painting his record red-white-and blue, running it up the mast, and betting that in the end they would salute it.

Why didn't I think of this before?

In other words he’s not given up all hope of returning to Downing Street. Maybe not today, maybe not until the Tories have suffered an election defeat under its new leadership in two years, but not too long after that when he calculates the Tories will have abandoned their recent but growing opposition to Net Zero austerity.

Consider the real meaning of his three main points above:

First,  some critics see his decision to invest $800 million in nuclear power and his praise of the Sizewell C nuclear plant as a renunciation of his “Green” switch to renewables. That’s not entirely true. Unlike the Greens or even Labour and European social democrats, the U.K. Tories have no ideological objection to nuclear power as such. It simply wasn’t a priority in the fight against global warming, and besides it was horrendously expensive. So it became the neglected child of their family of energy policies.

They did little or nothing about it until the combination of rising inflation, higher energy prices, and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine changed the cost calculations and made energy security a much more important element in the total policy blend. But since no other party had done much about nuclear power since the early 2000s, that let Boris off the hook. His embrace of nuclear power now means that he can add an extra strand to the U.K.’s energy mix and so reduce the risk of blackouts and rationing as it transitions to Net-Zero. Plus, hyping his commitment to nuclear power means he can’t be accused of being a fanatical Greenie. Altogether, a clever mix, but maybe too clever.

Second, Boris criticized “fracking” of natural gas that the new prime minister, Liz Truss, proposes to introduce. That’s a natural headline story in the Guardian where it can be translated as “New Tory PM attacked by old Tory PM.” But there’s less in it than meets the eye. According to the Daily Telegraph, Treasury officials, in expectation of the new PM, have already started work on a program of encouraging the production of oil and gas in Britain that will include lifting the ban on fracking.

Given the current world energy shortage, that policy is likely to go ahead—especially since one company has told the Treasury that it believes it can deliver “fracked” gas to the market as early as next year. Until now, however, fracking has been unpopular in the areas where companies were proposing to do it. Environmentalist groups are strongly opposed to it. Long term, it’s not a political certainty.

Farewell but not goodbye?

So Boris (who has been on both sides of this issue) criticized it in a very tentative way: ““If we could frack effectively and cheaply in this country, that would be possibly a very beneficial thing. I’m just, I have to say, slightly dubious that it will prove to be a panacea.” This statement is almost a definition of hedging your bets. In three year’s time, he can jump either way on fracking. If fracking seems to work, he says: “All I said was that it isn’t a panacea.” (And it isn’t, by the way, since a panacea is cure-all.) If it fails, he’ll shake his head and say: “Well, I always had my doubts.”

Third, Boris said: :

Tell everybody who thinks hydrocarbons are the only answer and we should get fracking and all that: offshore wind is now the cheapest form of electricity in this country… Of course it’s entirely clean and green.

That’s the moment when Boris threw aside caution and declared that his embrace of Net-Zero policies to defeat global warming will prove to be correct. Politically speaking, it may be a fair bet. The political and cultural establishments will welcome it and congratulate themselves on bringing the populist to heel.

But what will be the effect of his approach in the real world? Wind and sun are cheap forms of energy if you ignore the costs of investing in technologies that capture them and if you dismiss the costs of building the stand-by power stations they require when the wind fails and sun doesn’t shine. And if you do that, then you will produce blackouts and create a need for rationing.

Boris’s speech was sharply criticized by the man who resigned from his government last December because of its “direction of travel” (i.e., stationary) and who is now rumored to be a candidate for Liz Truss’s Cabinet in charge of deregulating the over-regulated U.K. economy: (Lord) David Frost. In his weekly Telegraph column, Frost made the point that Boris’s approach (and indeed, Boris’s personality) are rooted in an avoidance of dealing in advance with the inevitable trade-offs that good policy-making needs. Boris even gave a name to this approach: cakeism, when he said during the Brexit negotiations: “My policy is to have my cake and eat it." And though written before Boris spoke, Frost’s article reads like a reply to it:

For example, on energy, the underlying problem is not Vladimir Putin (though he’s made it worse) but poor policy giving us a grid that can’t reliably supply enough power when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun shine, leaving us exposed to very high spot prices for gas and the kindness of (semi-)friends for power through the interconnectors. The basic trade-off is that if we want more renewables, we will have a more unreliable and expensive grid, and probably rationing; if we want security of supply, we need more, and more modern, gas power stations and probably some coal ones, but this will affect the path to net zero. It won’t do to say we can have both – that net zero remains the goal but there will be no rationing.

Boris's curtain speech shows he has grown a little more prudent--but only a little. Today, he declares he will eat his cake now and hope to still have it in three years. But if he returns to Downing Street on that manifesto, he'll soon be eating his cake in the cold and the dark.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Concoursing

Surprisingly I couldn’t get anyone to go join me at this year’s Salon Privé. It’s not a ‘must-do' but I didn’t expect a flat ‘no’ across the board. Daddy and Judith are in Italy, my school chums are everywhere but London, and even my ex, Patrick, is in New York watching tennis. So it will just be me and my Gemma Chan squiggle dress.

I’m hoping the tone will not be dour given the likely end of the fuel-powered car. It’s early days but with California promising to ban this planet-killing transport, the world is likely to follow. And follow they should. I was an early adopter having purchased a Tesla car and solar panels well before Elon Musk bailed on California. As to blaming cars for the demise of our planet… Daddy and I have gone round and round on this subject. He likes to remind me that Britain was once a peninsula of continental Europe until the Channel was flooded by rising sea levels about 8,000 years ago—well before cars. But as I’ve explained to him—we can’t just ignore the science, no matter what history says.

This way to the egress, Boris.

I budgeted two hours drive to Blenheim which should be sufficient except for traffic getting out of London due to all the stupid bike lanes. Of course I’m not saying that bicycling is stupid, only putting so many lanes in an already-congested city has just made for more traffic. And stalled traffic means more CO2. Plus no one is really using the lanes anyway. So was it any wonder Boris got caught cycling outside of his own proscribed covid-zone? It was also his bright idea that bikes become ‘as commonplace as black cabs and red buses’. I mean, really! No one would get anywhere.

It took me a while to find the non-preferential parking, which meant a ten-minute walk to the main entrance on one’s choice of grass or gravel. UGH! Obviously some man with wide feet and a love for sensible shoes had managed this. Making a quick trip to the ladies' I sorted myself out, but I overheard complaints about people having taken the train to Hanborough where there was no taxi rank. Seriously? It was the car event of the season and everyone was walking way more than they wished.

Making my way to the gallery I met an American who introduced himself as ‘Ken’. I was hoping he’d be a candidate to talk about making cars carbon-neutral but he seemed only to want to talk about his ’54 Corvette mule car that he’d shipped over. Oh how he went on about this particular 'vette—and his other 250 cars. I had half a mind to ask if he, like Prince Charles, had any that ran on leftover wine and cheese but thought better of it. My guess of course, was no because he mentioned if you’re lucky you’ll see flames come out of the back end. FLAMES! Not exactly carbon-neutral. I tried easing into a meaningful conversation but it was no use. He didn’t know who I was, he didn’t know who my clients were, and he was impressed by shooting flames.

By contrast the next person I met was Bill Ford, of the Model-T Fords. The Fords didn’t pre-date the Churchills but at an event like this he was no less impressive. Also he knew who I was, and announced that he, too, was an environmentalist. Why had I spent so much time talking to Mr Fire-Butt? Bill had grown up with many thinking his family the enemy. To a lesser degree I had carried the guilt of a father who was the top geophysical engineer in the oil industry. Talk about kismet! I was sure we’d partner in some way to move toward carbon neutrality in the automotive industry. This was exciting. I quickly dazzled him with the work I’d done, and my near-encyclopaedic knowledge of the issue at hand. He didn’t interrupt so I continued on explaining my position and the path we needed to take in order to avoid extinction.

Don't blame me, Greenies.

He led me into the Aviva Pavilion and excused himself briefly. I texted my father to tell him the good news. Daddy texted back ‘Hold your horses’.

What?? ‘THIS IS DIVINE PROVIDENCE!’ I texted back.

‘I doubt it’. Was his response. ‘I’m not saying you can’t find common ground and achieve your end but talk to him about something YOU know. Like traffic jams. And how Boris has it all wrong. Tell him that four billion clean cars is still four billion cars on the road. Tell him that restrictions on movement in the name of global warming is not the answer’.

What? OMG NO! Daddy had it all wrong. When Bill came back I told him I owned one of the first Teslas. Bill beamed and said ‘Then you understand! Clean cars alone are not the solution’.

‘Uhhhhh…correct!’ I said. ‘Four billion clean cars is still four billion cars’.

‘YES!’ He roared.

‘And…restrictions on movement in the name of global warming is not the answer’.

‘THANK YOU!’ He said. ‘You know, the freedom to move about the country is by far the greatest thing my grandfather, Henry, created. I aim to preserve that, so obviously I’m against banning cars, and we both agree that more bikes and more smart cars is just—more. Unfortunately some are trying to ban the very thing my grandfather created—the freedom to move about the country. If we allow this next they’ll be rationing energy. Yet global gridlock will stifle productivity. Maybe we need underground roads.

‘Correct’. I said again, baffled.

'Would you be interested in partnering with me on an interconnected system of intelligent transport?'

’‘I would indeed’, I said. And that is all I said. Because clearly I could not have said it better myself. Wait 'til I tell Daddy...

In Britain, the Time Bell Rings

Observing the United Kingdom sailing headlong into a sea of troubles over energy and inflation, a cynic might well say: “Lucky Boris Johnson—he was forced out of power at exactly the right moment. Someone else will now have to carry the can.” It’s true that Britain’s economic troubles, which were already growing, have metastasized dramatically in the last few months, two in particular—a general rise in all-round inflation to 10 percent and a still sharper rise in regulated gas and electricity prices from $2,331 now to $4,237 in October and $5,026 in January.

Together they add up to a massive “cost of living crisis.” And because they grow out of deeply-rooted problems and self-destructive policies in the U.K.’s long-term economic strategy, it will take time and tough remedies to eradicate them.

As always, however, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of people lining up to carry the can. About a dozen senior Tories put forward their names to succeed Boris at the start of the Tory leadership election. They were whittled down to two of Boris’s ministers—former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and current Foreign Secretary Liz Truss—who are fighting a battle of debates on economic policy across the country in front of Tory voters and activists. We’ll know the result by September 5, with Truss now the favorite.

Truss: ready to lead?

[My own snapshot take: she’s the better bet on supply-side and de-regulation policies to improve productivity and revive British industry; he’s the safer pair of hands on financial and budgetary policies to restore a stable financial framework that would help the economy to expand without overheating. But both should be more prepared to cut state spending and borrowing.]

Whoever wins the premiership then, however, will have to face a general election within about 28 months. Given the severity of Britain’s problems, the Tories will undoubtedly face an uphill battle. That means Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition, must now be taken seriously as a potential prime minister.

And indeed Sir Keir, a progressive left-wing lawyer before entering politics, whose usual pained expression is that of a man who has just swallowed a live fish out of politeness at a diplomatic dinner, and who has been struggling to make an impact on the electorate, has been given a shot in the arm and buoyancy in his step by the crisis.

Labour is demanding the recall of Parliament to debate the “cost of living crisis.” That’s quite a shrewd demand since Johnson is now a “caretaker” Prime Minister who constitutionally has to leave all major decisions to September the 5th and his successor. Starmer's attack on the Tories as a “do nothing” government in the face of the cost of living crisis then carries more weight. By contrast, he was able to step up to the plate with his own remedies in a speech that was better received than any earlier efforts and proposed solutions that according to opinion polls are in tune with the popular mood.

Those solutions—an energy price “freeze” paid for by the $34 billion proceeds of a higher windfall tax on oil and gas producers— are not new. They have been kicking around the Labour party’s thinking on energy since two leaders ago. And when Rishi Sunak himself was chancellor only a few months back, he introduced a much milder $6 billion version of the same thing which he delicately called a “temporary, targeted energy profits levy” of 25 percent. (It came accompanied by a 90 percent tax relief for firms that invest in oil and gas extraction in the U.K.)

Starmer: I can see No. 10 from here.

The problem with such “concessions” to opposition attacks and the popular mood is that they concede the principle without satisfying the demand. Worse, they make Labour’s proposals look like common sense to which the Tories are offering only a miserly response.

Commonsense is a rare and valuable commodity in public life, but economics is one of the very few areas where it can’t be applied wholesale. Commonsense suggests that we should charge lower fares for railway journeys at rush hours when the trains are crowded and uncomfortable. Economists respond that we should charge higher fares then and lower fares at off-peak times to encourage people to travel in less crowded and more comfortable conditions at all times. If we ignore them, commonsense ensures that we end up strap-hanging for hours in cattle cars.

In the same way the economically sensible response to higher energy prices is to devote state assistance to cash subsidies to the consumer—with larger subsidies going to poorer people for whom energy is a bigger proportion of their total spending. People then get to decide whether to devote this increase in their income to energy, to food, or to their other household needs. They know those needs better than “the Man in Whitehall.”

Given this full responsibility over how to spend their total income, they would be free to change their behavior by, for instance, using less power than usual. Moreover, high electricity prices, for instance, would give them further encouragement to do so, thus reducing demand for electricity, oil, and making a gradual start to solving the energy crisis in general.

O, lucky man!

So much for the demand side. On the supply side, as long as prices remain high—and any decline would likely be gradual—energy companies would have the incentive of high profits to search for new oil and gas fields and to re-open old ones closed in response to regulation. (We already see that happening.) Even as demand was being moderated by high prices, supplies of energy would be encouraged and increased by them. The energy market would come into balance, and other things being equal, prices would fall.

Which is why a windfall-profits tax is both mistaken economically and unjust ethically. A bold claim, I hear you say. But as it happens, with help from an old friend and colleague, Philip Lawler, I wrote a classic article on the Case against a Windfall Profits Tax thirty-three years ago. Originally I “ghosted it” for the U.S. Treasury Secretary, William Simon, who a few years later gave me permission to publish it under my own name which I have now done in National Review and the Spectator Online.

Immediately on entering office in 1981, Ronald Reagan blew away a  ramshackle maze of overlapping agencies and bureaucratic bafflegab; de-controlled energy prices and production; and led the world into a sustained three-decade boom floating on a sea of cheap oil and gas. It looks as if the Brits have decided to go in the opposite direction—and if Labour wins in 2024, with their foot on the accelerator.

Against the Great Reset: 'The War on Capitalism'

Continuing today, and for the next 11 weeks, The Pipeline will present excerpts from each of the essays contained in Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, to be published on October 18 by Bombardier Books and distributed by Simon and Schuster, and available now for pre-order at the links. 

 

Part III: THE ECONOMIC

Excerpt from "The War on Capitalism" by Conrad Black

As other contributors have mentioned, if any place could be identified as the birthplace of the Great Reset, it must be the small, drab, German-Swiss Alpine town of Davos, a center of contemporary anticapitalism, or at least radically altered and almost deracinated capitalism, and site of an ever-expanding international conference. (It grew exponentially and has spawned regional versions.)

I attended there for many years by invitation in order to ascertain what my analogues in the media business around the world were doing. The hotels are spartan and the town is very inaccessible. When I first attended nearly forty years ago, the Davos founder, the earnest and amiable Klaus Schwab, had ingeniously roped in a number of contemporary heads of government and captains of industry and leaders in some other fields and had sold huge numbers of admissions to well-to-do courtiers and groupies from all over the world, attracted by the merits of “networking.”

Davos, and its regional outgrowths across the world gradually came to express a collective opinion of the virtues of universal supranationalism (the Davos variety of globalism): social democracy; environmental alarmism; the desirability of having a nonpolitical international bureaucracy; a public sector-reflected image of the Davos hierarchy itself (and in fact, in many cases, preferably the very same individuals); and gently enforcing a soft Orwellian conformity on everybody. It must be said that many of the sessions were interesting, and it was a unique experience being amid so many people capable in their fields, and this certainly includes almost all of those who were revenue-producing, “networking” spectators and not really participants.

Davos is for democracy, as long as everyone votes for increased public sector authority in pursuit of green egalitarianism and the homogenization of all peoples in a conformist world. It was the unfolding default page of the European view: capitalism was to be overborne by economic redistribution; all concepts of public policy were to be divorced from any sense of nationality, history, spirituality, or spontaneity and redirected to defined goals of imposed uniformity under the escutcheon of ecological survival and the reduction of abrasive distinctions between groups of people—such obsolescent concepts as nationality or sectarianism. (My hotel concierge stared at me as if I had two heads when I inquired where the nearest Roman Catholic Church was and was even more astonished when I trod two miles through the snow there and back to receive its moral succour; the parishioners appeared a sturdy group.)

The Covid-19 pandemic caused Davos Man to break out of his Alpine closet and reveal the secret but suspected plan: the whole world is to become a giant Davos—humorless, style-less, unspontaneous, unrelievedly materialistic, as long as the accumulation and application of capital is directed by the little Alpine gnomes of Davos and their underlings and disciples. This is a slight overstatement, and Klaus Schwab would earnestly dispute that the purpose of Davos is so comprehensive, anesthetizing, and uniform. His dissent would be sincere, but unjustified: the Great Reset, a Davos expression, is massively ambitious and is largely based on the seizure and hijacking of recognizable capitalism, in fact and in theory.

Against the Great Reset

On sale Oct. 18: pre-order now at the links above.

There has indeed in the last thirty years been a war on capitalism conducted from the commanding heights of the academy and very broadly assisted by the Western media that has been gathering strength as part of the great comeback of the Left following their bone-crushing defeat in the Cold War. As international communism collapsed and the Soviet Union disintegrated, it was difficult to imagine that the Left could mount any sort of comeback anytime soon. We underestimated both the Left’s imperishability and its gift for improvisation, a talent that their many decades of predictable and robotic repetitiveness entirely concealed.

By some combination of intuition and tactical cunning, the hard Left crowded aboard the environmental bandwagon. Until the nineties, the environment was the concern of authentic if sometimes tedious conservationists such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, and despite their harassment of nuclear testing by the French around Tahiti and their demonstrations against goodwill visits of American aircraft carriers, they were sincere people making an arguable case.

Suddenly they were overwhelmed by the hard Left imposing a new agenda of strangulation of capitalism by coming through the rear windows and attacking practically every industry as a threat to human survival for ecological reasons. We can only salute their ingenuity and persistence as they co-opted susceptible members of the scientific community to produce asinine arguments like Dr. Michael E. Mann’s infamous conjuration of the “hockey stick,” which held that global warming proceeded horizontally for a long time and then suddenly shot upwards at a forty-five-degree angle as a hockey stick does when the stem reaches the blade. This and spurious calculations based on reading the rings on the trunks of trees and other superstitious opinations won the approval of a huge gallery of gullible, faddish, and cynical people. They made an unlikely coalition: Al Gore became a centimillionaire on this issue; the Prince of Wales mounted a great hobby horse that he still rides, and the most vocal airheads of Hollywood have ben howling like banshees on the issue for decades.

Aggressive green parties arose in many countries and harvested the naiveté and narcissistic ambition for attention of large numbers of people championing antipollution causes that in the abstract no reasonable person could oppose. They were allied or infested with the old left and skulked forward, ideological wolves in paradisiacal lambs’ clothing. Germany has no petroleum resources but had built an extensive and absolutely safe nuclear power capacity, but the aggressive German Green Party came snorting out of the Teutonic forests like a Wagnerian monster and bullied Angela Merkel’s government into abandoning the entire nuclear program. Germany in effect became an energy vassal state of Russia through the Nord Stream pipeline, the completion of which the Biden administration facilitated in withdrawing the Trump administration’s intervention to prevent the pipeline’s completion. With the Ukraine war, it is again suspended. Thus the second most important country in the Western Alliance is almost detached from it, all by the apparently innocuous and meliorist actions of Germany’s peppiest environmentalists, and with the ultimate complicity of the current U.S. president.

Even the outgoing prime minister, Boris Johnson, an authentic if idiosyncratic Tory, has bought into the global warming danger, though to those who know him, it is hard to imagine that he believes a word of it. The objective evidence is that to the extent that it can be measured at all, the overall temperature of the world has risen by one degree centigrade in the last hundred years and will rise by another centigrade degree this century. This is not in itself harmful, and it is not outside normal historic climate cycles. There has been no rise in the in the world’s temperature in this century, and the whole task of gauging the world’s temperature including thermometers at various depths of the oceans and all over the surface of the earth is quite imprecise.

In the future, historians will look with astonishment on the speed and zeal with which the post-Cold War world burdened itself with bone-cracking expenses and severe social costs radically altering its economy to avoid a rise in the world’s temperature that we have no reason to believe will occur on anything like the scale the alarmists have been wailing about. And if it does occur in any measure, we still have no scientifically serious evidence that it is anthropogenically caused. It will be seen as something like the alleged seventeenth-century Dutch tulip hysteria, which had people paying the equivalent of $25,000 for a single potted bulb.

Rarely in the Cold War did capitalism’s Marxist enemies do anything that earned the respect one gives a gallant or brilliant adversary. In these initiatives, our enemies leapt from the jaws of bitter and total defeat, hijacked the careening gadfly of esoteric conservationism, and transformed it surreptitiously into a well-camouflaged battering ram that has inflicted immense costs and opprobrium on the corporate world and great sadness and inconvenience on the laboring proletariat on whose behalf the Marxist Left has supposedly been crusading these past 150 years.

A companion unpleasant surprise to the ingenuity and resilience of the international Far Left in its environmental assault upon capitalism has been the venality, cowardice, and invertebrate tactical stupidity of much of the corporate world. We find oil companies putting up slick television advertising praising and purporting to be part of the heroic march to a fossil fuel-free world. As corporations fell over themselves agreeing that the U.S. state of Georgia’s eminently sensible voting reform statute, passed in the wake of the disputed presidential election of 2020, was a reversion to Jim Crow if not slavery itself and demanded that Georgia be punished by moving the Major League Baseball All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver (where restrictions to ensure verifiable voting are more severe than in Georgia), the leadership of corporate America was largely revealed, once again, at least in public policy terms, as contemptibly enfeebled and morally bankrupt...

Next week: an excerpt from "Socialism and the Great Reset" by Michael Anton.

How the World Really Works

Some very odd things are happening in the modern world of government and politics that don’t conform to democratic theory. I’m thinking, for instance, of the mass protests against anti-Covid regulations in cities across France, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, the United States, and in Canada without much attention from the international media; the brutally violent police tactics used against protesters in most of these cities, especially  farmers in Holland and car-owners (the Gilets Jaunes) in France, again with not much media coverage; the attempts by the Canadian government to crush the truckers’ parking protest in Ottawa by such extraordinary (and extra-legal) methods as seizing the bank accounts of people who wanted to help them financially; the violent overthrow of the Sri Lankan government because it had instituted agricultural policies banning the use of fertilizers on the advice of the World Economic Forum that led to crop failures and widespread hunger; and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on future cooperation between the United Nations and the aforementioned W.E.F. which is little more officially than a conference of corporate CEOs (though it boasts of planting its former interns in high government positions around the world).

In short, though I haven't weakened yet, I'm tempted to become a conspiracy theorist.

The mere existence of the W.E.F., an international conference of billionaires and CEOs who fly in annually to a remote Alpine resort to discuss how the world should be governed, to which prime ministers, presidents, and “opinion formers” are flattered to be invited, arouses my curiosity. It sounds (and acts) like a sinister conspiracy in a dystopian novel by writers as various as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley, or like Karl Marx’s “executive committee of the bourgeoisie.” Yet it is deeply respectable—it signs MoU’s with the U.N. for heavens sake!—and is seen as mildly and desirably progressive. Moreover, because it brings together “top people” from all enterprises and institutions, its policy prescriptions have an almost automatic credibility rooted in a general expectation that the W.E.F. network will get these things done. Next step: they’re inevitable!

But the sad (or cheering) fact is that almost all its “big projects”—the euro, open borders, anti-Covid lockdowns, vaccine mandates—have crashed upon launching. Its motto is “global problems require global solutions” but a better one would be “Ah well, back to the drawing board.”

Even so we shouldn’t exaggerate the independent power of the W.E.F. It exercises some power and more influence as the leading edge of the large overall institutional bureaucracy—including N.G.O.s, transnational bodies such as the European Union, multi-national corporations, and governments in whole or in part—that goes under the name of “global governance.” John Fonte, the Hudson Institute scholar, has revealed in detail how global governance really works: it proceeds issue by issue by making international treaties on everything from trade to transgenderism that commit the signatory governments to implement them in domestic law but that were negotiated secretively in a wilderness of committees in Brussels or New York and have never been the subjects of serious democratic debate.

Open covenants, openly arrived at... right.

We then enjoy the spectacle of government ministers being unable to explain why they are passing laws which they personally dislike as well as fear that the electorate won’t stand for them. Such treaties empower the bureaucrats who negotiated them, the corporations that influenced their drafting, the N.G.O.s that go to court to compel governments to implement them, and the courts that will finally interpret them. They disempower the voters, their elected representatives, the government ministers who have to tailor their policies to fit the undemocratic straitjacket of the treaty. And they lead eventually to a clash between the voters and the global governance bureaucracy.

Under global governance the democratic process becomes a play in which the democrats speak lines written by non-accountable global governance bureaucrats. It ends in a series of clashes and crises like those cited above. And whether or not those who protest are indulged or crushed depends in part on whether their demos and lawsuits are aimed at obstructing the global governance agenda or advancing it. The Dutch farmers trying to save their land from Net-Zero environmental regulations enshrined in treaties get crushed; the Extinction Rebellion protesters using violence and property destruction to ensure the enforcement of such property seizures are joined by dancing policemen at jolly street parties.

Democracy in these circumstances becomes a façade for authoritarian rule by remote bureaucracies. Writing in Quadrant earlier this year, I argued that this had happened in response to Covid-19 in early 2020 when an international bureaucratic consensus drove governments to impose massive restrictions without proper debate:

Governments panicked, cast aside their earlier pandemic planning based on protecting vulnerable groups, and adopted approaches to suppress the virus by locking down the entire society. This was the wrong approach and maximized economic problems. Almost all the forecasts supporting this policy were exaggerated. Covid was a nasty illness that killed people: but its infection fatality rate was low: most of its victims were elderly people with pre-existing illnesses (people like me, in fact); and “excess” deaths were quite low.

These realities were concealed by not distinguishing between dying with and dying of Covid, by suppressing medical information that contradicted the orthodoxy, by censoring scientists who dissented from it, and by “nudging” people to accept lockdown policies at a subconscious level.

And now, of course, we know that the consensus—the bureaucratic orthodoxy—was a mistaken one. Sweden defied it and has had a better outcome on all measures—not only economic ones, but also in democratic accountability, public order, and civil rights. As I also pointed out in Quadrant, “ this bureaucratic groupthink also led to increasingly authoritarian behavior by the state:

The flame that torched the truckers’ protest in Canada was the mandate from the Canadian government that truckers must be vaccinated before driving their long and lonely way along the vast interstates of North America.

Vox populi.

Standing back from partisan politics, we can see that a broadly similar political structure is emerging throughout the West. Conservatives and-or moderate liberals win elections sometimes, maybe most times, and therefore make occasional advances; the Progressive Left controls the unaccountable institutions of global governance along with cultural, legal, bureaucratic, and economic power almost all the time. So the Left is able to block most of the Right’s policies in government, but the Right has no similar restraints on the Left.

We see it most clearly in Britain where Boris Johnson’s government won a large parliamentary majority, but found that cultural institutions from the BBC to the British Museum to the National Trust are now “woke” institutions focusing on, for instance, an account of the slave trade that makes no mention of Britain’s abolition of it worldwide—and failed to find a way of altering that balance.

That explains why some governments in Europe, notably the Polish and Hungarian ones, want to strengthen the elected government in relation to the progressive institutions that can block it. The E.U. is the largest such obstacle in today’s Europe, and conservatives generally should want to see Brussels return some of its powers to national capitals. That’s especially important at the moment in relation to taxation which the Biden administration, the E.U., and now the G7 are attempting to harmonize in a way that will penalize low-tax and low-regulation countries. Those attempts violate the vital principle of jurisdictional competition. If they succeed, they would turn the E.U. into a cartel of governments colluding with each other to keep the price of government high.

We should oppose that in principle. If we fail, we will find ourselves both living under taxation without representation and financing inefficient and unresponsive global governance. And our only recourse will be to riot—by which time, of course, we will have lost the argument.

Net-Zero and the Fall of Boris Johnson *UPDATED

The hot race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain coincides with a record-breaking (though brief) heat wave that is summoning all of the usual clichés about climate change. But most Britons seem to be treating the heat with a shrug, understanding that heat waves sometimes come with what used to be known as “summer.”

Less recognized in the heat of the moment is the role extreme climate policy has played in the downfall of Johnson. The dominant narrative is that Johnson alienated his Tory colleagues in the cabinet and on the back benches with his hypocritical violation of Covid rules in his private parties, along with some scandal-ridden appointments, while the larger public soured on Johnson’s foolish embrace of draconian lockdown restrictions, along with a tax and fiscal policy one might have thought Johnson pinched from the Labour Party.

But the media, and even most Tory leaders, are reserving hushed tones for the role of Johnson’s fanatical embrace of “Net-Zero” energy policy (meaning a carbon-free energy supply by the year 2050). The energy policy of the Johnson government was indistinguishable from what Jeremy Corbyn’s Labourites would have imposed had they won the 2019 election.

Or maybe not, depending on the next election.

Possibly because Britain was on tap to host the U.N.’s annual climate shakedown (known as COP 26) in Glasgow in 2021, Johnson somehow thought he had to be a “climate leader,” pledging among other reckless things to close all of Britain’s coal-fired power plants by 2024. Coal plants scheduled for closure this fall are now going to be kept online, even as the International Energy Agency in Paris recommended this week that Europe as a whole burn more coal on account of the soaring price and scarcity of natural gas—a scarcity that is entirely the political creation of western European nations that thought Russia was an honest and reliable partner that would supply the right amount of natural gas while Europe persisted in its fanciful green dreams of running their economies on windmills.

Needless to say, the price of coal has risen more than the price of oil and natural gas in recent months. And how is Britain getting through the current heat wave? They’ve brought on 5 gigawatts of additional natural gas power because wind and solar power can’t be ramped up. Natural gas is currently supplying between 50 and 60 percent of Britain’s total electricity—a source that would fall to zero if “Net-Zero” was really implemented.

Despite the breathless hand-wringing about the heat wave and the first-ever “Extreme Red Notice” issued by the government, Britons know that the death toll from winter cold is much larger than casualties from a brief summer spell of unaccustomed warmth. There are credible forecasts that utility rates may spike so sharply this winter that many households won’t be able to afford them, and there is talk of the government having to open “warming shelters” to keep people from freezing to death this winter.

Blighty: warm and lovin' it.

Which brings us back to the contest to succeed Boris, who has so far made no acknowledgement that his climate policy was misguided. His aspiring successors are ever so slightly putting some distance between themselves and Johnson on this issue. The New York Times is dismayed that “climate change does not appear to be a priority” in the race for party leadership, and indeed the leading candidates are treading gingerly on the topic, with most affirming their general commitment to Net-Zero, while indicating that they intend to back off somehow.

All four remaining candidates after the first rounds of winnowing said they would at least impose a moratorium on new “green levies” to subsidize more renewable energy. All seemed to recognize that the public does not support the extreme greenery Johnson suicidally embraced, and indeed a recent poll of Tory voters by the Times of London found that only 4 percent thought "climate change" should be one of the top three priorities for the next government. Front-runners Rishi Sunak -- the former Chancellor of the Exchequer whose recent resignation was the proximate cause of Boris' downfall --  and Penny Mourdant, the trade minister, both say that energy policy “shouldn’t hurt people,” which means they are at least paying attention to the rising cost of green ambitions to ordinary rate-paying citizens.

(L-R) Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak,

Two candidates have been more bold in breaking with climate orthodoxy. Foreign secretary Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, has said she’d lift the ban on fracking for natural gas, but Kemi Badenoch  -- now out of the running -- was the only person in the field who has said she might be open to scraping Net-Zero entirely if it threatens to bankrupt Britain (which it does). Badenoch, a conservative daughter of Nigerian immigrants, distinguished herself for being resolutely anti-woke in her stint as “minster for equalities,” directly attacking critical race theory and issuing an official report that denied Britain is “institutionally racist,” which infuriated the cultural left. A Badenoch government would have offered the virtue of supremely annoying the two most vocal segments of leftist opinion—environmentalists and race-mongers. She also supported Brexit.

It is notable that the final four candidates at the beginning of the week included three women. With Badenoch out, by later today the race will be down to two, one of whom will obviously be female unless the Biden administration’s gender classifications somehow take hold in Britain. Nice to see that regardless of gender, the next British government appears to be backing away from Net-Zero nonsense.

UPDATE: Liz Truss will face off against Sunak. The winner, and thus new Tory party leader and prime minister, will be announced on Sept. 5.