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Home > Politics

Shades of Green

28 April 2006

We at The Friday Thing will always go the extra mile to save the planet. Particularly if that extra mile happens to be in the luxury of our spanking new Humvee, ripping up trees and dismembering small woodland animals, followed by our personal oil tanker, as we pop down the road to drop Tarquin and Belinda off for clarinet lessons.

All is hardly sweetness and 150-watt light, however. Spurred by the news that our beach-front condo is now only twelve metres above sea-level, with the loft extension due to become an indoor swimming pool by the year 2020, we thought it time to follow the example of our suddenly none-more-green political masters and do something about this alarming state of affairs.

To wit: we want a wind turbine. And we want one now.

As ice-caps melt, and Pacific atolls disappear under the waves like a modern-day Atlantis, Gordon Brown embarked on a trans-Atlantic sound-bite adventure to suggest that we all, as a planet, might like to work toward reducing our emissions. Gordon knows full well that his request, aimed at industrial powerhouses China and the US, will be ignored like the pleadings of a small boy tugging the shirt-tails of his school-master. So, he can take a plane home, job done, do nothing.

And that, we fear, is how politics works. You get into power, and all of a sudden it's nine years later, and you're certain there was a Carbon Tax law you were meant to pass at some stage. Climate change may be our 'moral duty', but when our only defence against global warming is the wall of ice between Brown and his neighbour, we'd better start learning to swim.

Then there's David Cameron, a Tory leader, at last, following the advice of the party's elder statesman by getting on his bike and looking for work. In his case, the job of Prime Minister. The party slogan might be 'Vote blue, go green', but there's major history to undo if Cameron wants Conservative green credentials
taken seriously.

If only Thatcher and Major had got themselves a Bickerton fifteen years ago, we wouldn't feel a dreadful pang of guilt every time we drive the Hummer through Twyford Down on the way to work. The Tories' un-green legacy - the greatest piece of environmental vandalism ever committed in the name of the motor vehicle. If only every railway siding in the country hadn't been turned into a retail park containing exactly one Currys, one DFS, one Homebase and a McDonald's drive-thru, then our roads might not be full-to-bursting with 44-tonne polluting behemoths.

Cameron can ride around Parliament Square as much as he likes. He can sit in a hole in the Arctic ice on the least carbon-neutral environmental mission ever, until his balls go as blue as his party rosette, but he still represents the Nasty Party with a youthful Piers Fletcher-Dervish as front-man. We are yet to be convinced by anything that Cameron says, but then, that's the beauty of opposition - promise a new Earth, and don't worry about delivering if you finally take power.

It is ironic, then, that Twyford Down should fall in LibDem MP Mark Oaten's Winchester constituency, the one MP in the House who made a conscious effort to recycle his waste products. And look where that got him.

Faced with pre-election promises not worth the recycled paper they're printed on, we've dumped the Hummer to finally Go Green, and it's far harder than you think. It's oh-so-liberating going through your rubbish on a daily basis, separating it into four different-coloured bins and leaving them out for the seagulls. We have installed stupid quantities of insulation, that even on the coldest nights we lie sweltering; while the toilet cistern is filled with so many bricks, it needs separate planning permission.

Now we want a wind turbine. David Cameron's got a wind turbine, and it makes his house look pretty. Wind turbines are the new hot tubs, and we must get one before the neighbours. We've all the wind we can eat, and if we can sell our spare electricity back to the national grid, 42" plasma TV or otherwise, so much the better.

A bit of research reveals the current crop of wind turbines tend to come in two sizes: unfeasibly small, bought for a pound from most seaside tat shops, barely enough to power the kettle on your yacht; and frighteningly huge, for when you have an entire hospital to power in a particularly gusty area and don't mind dodging blades, Windy Miller-style, every time you step out of your front door.

'House-size are special order, sir. How long are you prepared to wait?'

'Only until the water reaches my ankles.'

Also: 'HOW MUCH?!'

Then, we asked the Council about their wind turbine planning policy.

'We don't have one.'

'What? None at all? Does that mean we can just put one up on
our house?'


'Why not?'

'Because that'll violate our wind turbine planning policy.'

'The one you haven't got?'

'That's the one.'


'What if we just point it at the Town Hall, then?'

'Don't try to be funny. We know where you live.'

Pffft. We bet Jonathan Creek never had this problem.

Confronted with these hardly unexpected difficulties, we've decided to 'Adopt, Adapt, Improve' like they do in the Round Table, and have devised this ingenious solution, preserving the present status quo of doing the square root of sod all, yet saving our nation when the flood waters come: instead of burying all our refuse in expensive and wasteful landfill sites outside large towns, we've decided that councils should sell their waste to coastal areas, where they could use this rubbish to build higher sea walls as a defence against melting polar ice-caps.

The thought of burying Brighton under a wall of household waste, used sanitary products, dead badgers and engine parts fills us with great joy and we can only encourage citizens to make a start on this plan by labelling their rubbish sacks 'Freepost, Brighton'. This scheme would also encourage seagulls to actually live by the sea where they belong, which is a bit of a bonus, in which everybody wins. Except people who live by the sea, obviously.

The extra mile, duly travelled.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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