Now that the dust has settled after the Labour Party junked its commitment (on 8th February) to £28bn a year of new investment in the UK’s green economy, it’s worth reflecting on what this tells us about climate politics in the UK over the next couple of years. It’s not pretty.

I won’t weary you with the details of Labour’s original 2021 commitment of £28bn a year, or of the now “downscaled” commitment of £5bn per annum, let alone the Starmer/Reeves brain-addling justification for all of this. You can find those details everywhere – the Guardian’s commentaries have been particularly scathing. Let’s just focus on the implications of this poly-failure.


I’ve long realised that the vast majority of MP’s have no interest in truly getting to grips with the science of climate change: Chris Skidmore (ex-Tory MP), Ed Miliband (still-hanging-in Labour MP), Ed Davey (when not distracted) and obviously Caroline Lucas, are honourable exceptions. If that wasn’t the case, we’d all know about it, as we’d be hearing a lot more from them.

Without that knowledge, they’re all but useless both to their constituents and to the wider body politic. There’s culpability in that ignorance, but infinitely worst culpability in their wilful refusal to get that deficit sorted.

(I shall be returning to this theme in my next blog, not least as this political failure is just a tiny sliver of a more systemic societal failure.)



Astonishingly, less than 50% of the new (£5bn a year) is absolutely guaranteed – to be funded through an expanded windfall tax on oil and gas companies. The rest, Reeves tells us, will still depend on “the state of our public finances” when Labour takes over.

Fiscal stability is the be-all and end-all of Labour’s appeal to the electorate. It’s also what makes it impossible for Labour to go into this election with more than this paltry promise on the green economy.

My inbox has been deluged since then with indignant responses to this servile subordination to a completely arbitrary interpretation of fiscal stability. There are so many alternatives out there in terms of ways of finding that £28bn – just check out Richard Murphy’s wonderful blog for starters. (

I feel sad having to say this, but Rachel Reeves has become a beautifully turned-out one-trick pony, prancing around in the neoliberal arena. And wearing such restrictive blinkers that she apparently thought it would be just fine to accept a donation of £10,000 from Lord Donoghue, a climate-denying Trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, just days before this humiliating climb down. Such fancy tackle, Rachel!



Climate politics is demanding, requiring a proper balance between present and future interests. But today’s Labour Party finds it hard enough to walk in the shoes of millions of people today, let alone billions of people tomorrow. The cruellest element in its market-first revisioning of the £28bn is the unforgivable hammering of its Warm Homes Plan: from an original £6bn a year, retrofitting 19 million homes over 10 years, to no more than £13bn over 5 years, retrofitting 5 million homes over 5 years.

Fuel poverty continues to devastate the lives of millions of people here in the UK. Labour appears not to give a shit about the 4 million or so who will have to wait at least another 5 years – or, rather, to be more accurate, half a shit.

As to “the billions” (including the very real possibility of up to 1 billion forcibly displaced people by 2050 as a direct consequence of accelerating climate change), are there any in this tightly-controlled Labour machine capable of opening their hearts to this potential calamity – which will be the worst humanitarian disaster in the history of humankind?



People care about climate change. And they’ve got the measure of Rishi Sunak’s pathetic attempt to carve out some kind of anti-net-zero green wedge. For Starmer/Reeves to stand right alongside him in that betrayal of both present and future generations is beyond tragic.

It’s also unbelievably inept. Labour wants all the investment upside of Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and the EU’s Net Zero Industry Act, but seems to have missed the (subversively Keynesian) idea that this means the state (in terms of public investment) leading the market (in terms of private investment), not the other way round.



“You can vote for us safe in the knowledge that we will do a marginally better job managing this inherently unjust, unsustainable economic system than the Tories” – as some commentator put it at the time.

(“And that’s the best we have to offer because we’re scared out of our tiny, climate-denying wits that anything more will unleash the Daily Mail’s ever-more ravenous attack dogs”.)

Everything Labour does at the moment reconfirms that it is so afraid of the Tory media (the Telegraph and the Mail in particular) that it’s totally lost its voice when it comes to reaching out to any of its existing or prospective voters. And all this does is to reinforce the underlying influence of those media outlets.

I have to ask: does anybody in Labour’s apparently “super-sophisticated” polling operation ever talk to anyone below the age of 25?

I’m involved at the moment in a campaign ( to get young people registered to vote at the next Election. Starmer himself is one of the biggest barriers to that campaign its goals. And isn’t Just Stop Oil absolutely right to be targeting Labour politicians to remind them of their obligation to oppose the Government’s deluded and destructive support for new fossil fuels?

(Just Stop Oil recently decided that it’s going to field candidates in the General Election to bring additional pressure to bear on certain Labour candidates. Personally, I think that’s bonkers, from a tactical perspective, but its analysis is still spot on).

Right now, I find myself weighing up whether I have less respect for Labour (for whom I’ve continued to have some residual expectations) than for the Tories (of whom I’ve had none since David Cameron went full-Daily Mail in dismissing his own Government’s policies as “green crap”.

Yes, Labour will be a great deal better than the Tories. But will they provide the kind of consistent, truth-telling leadership that’s now so urgently needed? As of now, the answer is both clear and deeply depressing: absolutely not.