Finally and most importantly there is the issue of the environment. Whatever the government says there is no longer any doubt about its actions. Since the election it has removed subsidies from windfarms and made it virtually impossible to get an onshore windfarm through the planning process. Then it has dropped subsidies for solar just at the point where it was starting to seriously take off. In the meantime it removed the guidance blocking fracking in national parks. Finally it gave up on its own Green Deal scheme - something which was announced originally by them as a major step forward and is now dismissed as irrelevant. Along the way they have given in to the desperately bad science of the chemical companies and allowed neonicitinoids crops to be planted that are pollinated by bees that are at high risk of damage to their navigation systems. Oh and they have decided that the Green Belt that was protected and defended by all governments for over 60 years is now a luxury and needs covering with rather more houses regardless of local objections.
The cancelling of the Green Energy deal would be comical were it not so sad. It stands as an instructive example of how government now works in this country. You devise a scheme that is highly unlikely to work but has the advantage that it sounds good when you announce it. Then you quote it several times as an example of how Green your government is. After a couple of years you are nearing an election and decide that your Green credentials are a bit thin so you re-launch the scheme with a fanfare and try to garner even more publicity. As soon as you get through the election, you discover that it is a complete waste of money and cancel it.
If the Conservatives had set out to design a waste of government money with the sole purpose of discrediting investment in green energy it could scarcely have chosen a better idea than the Green Deal. All it offered was that if a householder wanted to invest in insulation or green energy generation then they could apply for loans to cover the cost which would then be able to pay back by the savings generated. Unfortunately the bureaucracy associated with applying and the pathetically low amount of the loans meant that any homeowner would be utterly bonkers to bother with an application. The paperwork was more trouble than the financial benefit of the tiny loans could possibly cover. The scheme got almost no takeup and really was a genuine waste of £250million of public funding.
The correct conclusion to draw from this was not that energy subsidies are a stupid interference in a perfectly functioning free market. What was needed was to do some proper hard work and devise a scheme that people actually wanted to take up. There are immense energy savings to be made along with serious cost savings for the public when houses are properly insulated. We badly and urgently need a well designed scheme to get a major programme of investment underway in cutting energy consumption. This is the single best way of cutting our import bill and reducing the money we send to nasty regimes like Putin's Russia or the blogger flogging Saudi's. It is also an excellent way to help less well off families cut their costs and have a bit more to live off. Most importantly of all it represents by far and away the best option for cutting CO2 emissions and making a useful contribution to reducing the scale of the disaster of climate change.
Instead of doing the work that was necessary to come up with a decent scheme the government has decided instead that it wants to reward its right wing climate change deniers by getting rid of all meaningful help for either reducing consumption or generating green energy. Its argument is that the removal of subsidies will cut fuel bills and help working people. As usual this displays an almost deliberate ignorance of the real workings of market economics. Subsidies don't raise prices they lower them - unless you deliberate decide to inflict all the cost of green subsidies on bill payers and hide most of the real costs of other forms of energy.
Left to their own devices markets work out a way of rationing scarce fuel resources. It is to raise the price. Something that the Saudis and the Russians would love. With intervention to subsidise alternative methods of production you increase the supply of competing products and so cut demand. The huge investment in alternative energy by China, Germany and the more small scale subsidies in many other countries including the US have resulted in a drop in the demand for oil and gas and a drop in their price. A collaborative drive by many nations to increase subsidies doesn't just help to save the planet. It helps you in your pocket by cutting the price of oil or at the very least by making sure it doesn't rise as high as it would have.
There are, of course, massively strong scientific reasons why we need to see the Paris summit succeed and for there to be an even more vigorous pursuit of investment in green energy and reduced energy use across the whole world. The economic benefits are just as strong. Reduced energy costs help ordinary people. The choice of our government has been to put the cost of green energy subsidies onto fuel bills with the clear planned intention of making Green policies unpopular. They then announce that they are cancelling the subsidies under popular pressure.
It does not therefore look as if our extreme right wing government is positioning itself to be at the forefront of the positive changes we need to emerge from the Paris summit. It looks as if it is trying to hide its head in the sand and hope climate change goes away or gets fixed at someone else's expense. This isn't leadership. It is blind allegiance to out of date right wing politics. Like almost everything else they are doing!