Financial Times: David Cameron has not given a major speech on the environment since becoming prime minister in 2010. Given Britain’s economic and fiscal plight, it is hard to blame him… Recession put paid to this strain of Tory modernisation, which was always more modish than truly modern. After rebranding themselves as guardians of Mother Earth, the party had to scurry to re-rebrand as flinty custodians of the ruined public finances.
The undulations of internal Tory politics have played a part too. Mr Cameron’s mania for greenery and wellbeing was ignited by Steve Hilton, then his closest adviser. But Mr Hilton grew more Thatcherite after the crash and in any case George Osborne, the hawkish chancellor of the exchequer, gradually became the prevailing counsel in Mr Cameron’s ear. Then came the election of an unashamedly pro-business generation of MPs two years ago.
It has not eluded the chancellor’s notice that the percentage of voters who rank the environment as an important issue has fallen to low single figures. In the face of resistance from his governing partners, the Liberal Democrats, he is trying to prune the coalition’s green policies, especially those likely to impose costs on ordinary people.