"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Monday, March 15, 2010

Abbott and Cameron: leadership and opportunism

David Ritter of the ABC's Drum ,compares the pedigrees of two Oxford chappies leading their respective Conservative Parties into elections this year- David Cameron of the UK and Tony Abbott of Australia.
Of course as you would expect from the predominently left wing Drum the centre-left Cameron compares very favourably with the right-wing Abbott in the eyes of Ritter.

Taking over a party tired out by opposition, Cameron promised a softer form of conservatism, charting the Tories steadily away from Thatcherism towards the political centre. Following its initial ejection from power by Tony Blair's New Labour in 1997, the UK Conservative Party had gone on to further big defeats under William Hague and Michael Howard in 2001 and 2005. But since late 2007, when Gordon Brown's government started to stumble badly, things have changed. Cameron's brand of more progressive conservatism featuring eye-catching statements on social inclusion and environmental issues has seen him appear destined for Number 10.

In contrast, facing a popular government that has only been in power a couple of years, Abbott has snapped the Australian Liberal party sharply back towards the right, abruptly curtailing a certain easing that had taken place under Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull.
The difference between Cameron and Abbott is perhaps nowhere more evident than on climate change. Abbott infamously described climate change as 'absolute crap' and gave oxygen to the anti-science brigade in meeting with Lord Christopher Monckton. Cameron, on the other hand, has championed the importance of climate change within his party and urged the electorate to 'vote blue, go green'. Indeed, on one of the key climate change battles in the UK, the proposed third runway expansion of Heathrow airport, Cameron snatched the momentum from Brown's Government by joining the broad coalition now opposing the development.
Cameron and Brown are the TweedleDee and TweedleDum of UK politics offering voters very little choice with both trying to out-green the other. Ritter says that Tony Abbott is smart and therefore MUST know that the peer-reviewed AGW hoax is correct , displaying the intellectual arrogance of Alarmists that no one intelligent can disagree with the scam. Therefore logically Abbott's position must be political opportunism.
It is climate change that makes Abbott so dangerous in a global sense. He's an intellectually credentialed and bright bloke whom one presumes must understand that peer reviewed science deserves respect. We can legitimately argue about the optimal way of responding to climate change; but no responsible politician should be acting the giddy goat with science in the manner of Abbott. Giving succor to the anti-science of climate denial is very different to engaging in domestic sectarian disputes about the policy merits, or otherwise, of the Rudd Government's proposed emissions trading scheme. The only way of comprehending Abbot's dabbling with the likes of Monckton is as political opportunism. And if it pays off, then there is the danger that politicians the world over may be tempted to follow the example.

Ritter is right in one respect that Abbott's ascendancy and subsequent popularity is causing a lot of heartburn among politicians worldwide as the public swings against the Warmist policies. He is seen as a weather-vane in Global Warming politics.
David Ritter is heavily involved as a campaigner for Greenpeace which was not revealed in the article and would certainly explain the leftist bias  . The ABC should have clearly indicated this so discerning readers could ignore the article.

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