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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Is the Luftwaffe still operating?

Only this past week, I found myself in a polite but rather pointed political discussion with one my elderly clients about the issue of ID cards. She was all in favour of them because, “we had them during them war and everyone was fine with them”. To which I retorted, “we had rationing during the war, do you want that brought back too?”.

Little did either of us suspect that minds infinitely superior to ours…blah..blah..blah:

Every individual in Britain could be issued with a “personal carbon allowance” – a form of energy rationing – within a decade, under proposals being considered seriously by the Government…

Under the scheme for “domestic tradeable quotas” (DTQs), or personal carbon allowances, presented to the Treasury this week, everyone – from the Queen to the poorest people living on state benefits – would have the same annual carbon allocation.

This would be contained electronically on a “ration card”, which could be the proposed ID card or a “carbon card” based on supermarket loyalty cards…

“This is a way that enables us to make the necessary annual changes without radical adjustments to our lives.

“It is about making the small changes year by year. It won’t stop us going on holiday. But it might constrain how many times we fly…”

For some time now there has been a hubbub of grumbling among the chattering classes about the vulgarity of “cheap air travel” with its attendant and intended benefit (or, in their eyes, problem) of modest earners being able to jet off to all manner of exotic destinations at the drop of a hat. “But it’s destroying the planet!” they all exclaim. This is not, I should add, a charge which is ever levelled at the organisers of global rock-concerts for Africa despite the fact that just distributing the various members of the Rockocracy to their appointed warbling-posts consumes enough energy to light up a medium-sized land mass.

But saving the planet is not the point or the object. The real cause of this latest drive for forced austerity is the abundance of something that, only a few short years ago, was an expensive luxury enjoyed by the privileged few. But when tattooed builders, single mothers and lowly clerks can spend several weeks a year wallowing on sun-kissed South-East Asian beaches or sampling the epicurean delights of Tuscany then they are obviously living far better lives than they deserve and something must be done to curtail them.

But it’s decidedly tricky to wrench people’s luxuries and pleasures from without a good reason. So, enter good reason: “global warming”. If the masses can be persuaded that the future of mankind depends on their austerity then not only will the meekly surrender their wordly goods, they will clamour to hand them over and humbly thank their lords and masters for being so benevolent, wise and caring.

Given that so many modern activities involve energy consumption, the political classes need only play their cards right and “saving the plant” can be developed into a tool of legitimisation for almost complete social control.

But I’m sure that they wouldn’t dare go that far.

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18 comments to Is the Luftwaffe still operating?

  • Sylvain Galineau

    Well, if global warming is a motive for such self-restraint, why stop there….Let’s stop recycling millions of tons of paper and plant hundreds of thousands of acres of paper forests instead. Those things suck up CO2 out of the atmosphere, you know….That way we might all get a bit more carbon allowance.

  • During the war there was a huge balck market,this piece of imbecility will produce a bigger crime wave than Prohibition.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Yes, the Luftwaffe is still operating; it even has its own website.

  • Have you seen this? By purchasing a monthly subscription of Carbon Credits, you can remove your personal impact on the Greenhouse Effect and subsequently remove your contribution to Climate Change.

    Or this? Your TerraPass purchase is certified to eliminate the equivalent of your car’s carbon dioxide pollution, helping to preserve the environment for future generations.

    How soon before we all have to pay a “carbon tax” on the CO2 that we exhale? How long before there’s a special tax on cremation, because it releases CO2 which would be safely sequestered by a burial?

  • zmollusc

    Hooray! I will spend my carbon allowance on an inanimate carbon rod. They are terrific.

    The grumpy cynics amongst you have totally missed the biggest social improvement that this carbon allowance brings; the joyriders will no longer be able to burn out the cars they steal without clubbing together. This will promote the social links that capitalism has been eroding for decades, leading to a happier and more social future.

  • Isn’t one an appropriate responses to any sort of pollution “where there’s muck, there’s brass”?

    Somebody will figure out a potentially profitable way to sort out some particular pollutant and turn it into something useful, and then they’ll end up minting it.

  • So we now have DTQs to add to road pricing and/or congestion charging.

    Kevin Anderson, a researcher at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester, one of the leading climate research centres, says the scheme is a more attractive option to the government than a straightforward energy tax, especially since Labour’s own carbon reduction goals are more ambitious than those agreed in Kyoto. About 60% of the population fall into the below-average energy-use category and would benefit from the scheme.

    “This scheme means that every individual, whether you’re the Queen or someone living on a poor housing estate, will get the same carbon allocation,” explains Anderson.

    The prospect of an individual ‘carbon card’ for each citizen is also an obvious fit with one of Tony Blair’s pet projects.

    “You could piggyback this onto the ID card scheme if that goes ahead, even though there are of course pros and cons to the ID card plans,” he said.

    What with the above & the centralisation of all NHS medical records through a massive computerisation scheme, it seems as though the ID Card scheme may be underpinning quite a few policies of this very illiberal government.

  • David Carr – ‘For some time now there has been a hubbub of grumbling among the chattering classes about the vulgarity of “cheap air travel” with its attendant and intended benefit (or, in their eyes, problem) of modest earners being able to jet off to all manner of exotic destinations at the drop of a hat.’

    Quite. It reminds me of P.J. o’Rourke’s definition of overpopulation as ‘just enough of me, way too much of you’.

    I also think you are right about the social control that stems from ‘saving the planet’. Like consumer laws, anti-trust laws, health and safety and so on, they are statist displacement activities that have taken on a particularly virulent form since 1989 when outright control of the means of production became an economic non-starter (politically, I think the British public still buys the idea).

  • The Last Toryboy

    “And if you want to breathe, you have to buy his air…”

  • John K

    “This scheme means that every individual, whether you’re the Queen or someone living on a poor housing estate, will get the same carbon allocation,” explains Anderson.

    Why do I think that important people such as government ministers and European Commissioners would get a special allowance?

  • Jack Olson

    Novelist Gore Vidal appears in Federico Fellini’s movie “Roma”. In it, he and a companion of his complain of too many Americans, in the world and in Italy. Their complaint is that the American standard of living consumes too many resources and tends to reduce the esthetic value of places like Vidal’s home in Italy. In other words, they’re expressing their disappointment that other people not only want to live as comfortably as Gore Vidal does but, God forbid, they may even be able to.

  • Steve

    This is delicious! Every so often a media commentator says the inmates are in charge of the asylum but still the inmates come up with crazier schemes.

    What will happen, apart from more crime and a black market, is that “carbon points” will be won in special TV quiz shows – “Who wants to be a Carbonaire?” – and even handed out like “air miles” promotions.

    In time there will be tax incentives in the shape of extra DTQs and penalty-driven subtractions. Just like jail without the bars.

    Even better, there will be extra greed, suspicion, and envy for us all rounded off by socialist-empire “report your neighbours” schemes.

    And we still haven’t seen the legislation on whether people can inherit DTQs…

    Oh what fun our caring, sharing, ruling government will have sorting all this out.

  • DTQs could be removed as a punishment and negative DTQs as a form of execution,and of course Africa will have its DTQ debt cancelled

  • Verity

    And a black market in carbon points. Pensioners who don’t go further than Broadstairs (by coach) will be able to make a little mint selling their carbon points to people boarding Ryanair. Especially once enterprising under-the-counter middlemen get involved to get it all organised.

    Has ever a government, anywhere, at any time in the history of the world, been more inept that the interfering, insufferable, pettifogging morons in office in Britain just now?

    I’m actually hoping, now, that Britain gets awarded the Olympics because it is going to be such a laugh watching every single they touch go wrong. The Millennium Dome times 1000. And Blair trying to lie his way out of it.

    And oh yes, Peter, for the next African crisis (if we don’t let them into our markets), Bob Geldof can be trundled out to organise Carbon8.

  • JuliaM

    “Why do I think that important people such as government ministers and European Commissioners would get a special allowance?”

    I think you needed some scare quotes there: ..”important” people….!

  • ernest young

    “For some time now there has been a hubbub of grumbling among the chattering classes about the vulgarity of “cheap air travel” with its attendant and intended benefit (or, in their eyes, problem) of modest earners being able to jet off to all manner of exotic destinations at the drop of a hat”

    On a recent trip to Spain, I was struck by just how broad the spectrum of ‘second-home-owners’ was, on the Costas. From welfare recipients to millionaires, and all bought about by cheap travel, and before anyone takes me to task re welfarees owning property, yes I met several such folk, who were only too pleased to talk about their cleverness in outwitting those stupid bureacrats ‘back home’. I thought – for a fleeting moment – ‘maybe socialism does work!’

    One would have thought that the ‘chattering classes’, would perceive the spread of travel for all, as some sort of vindication of their belief in socialism, that socialism really does work in spreading ‘the goodies’ to all levels of society, but no, their overweaning hypocrisy reveals the truth – they think that they are ‘the Chosen Ones’…

    It would seem that their version of ‘socialism’ owes more to Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, (all equal, only some pigs are more equal tha others….),than to any altruistic Marxist concept.

  • Julian Taylor

    Every individual in Britain could be issued with a “personal carbon allowance” – a form of energy rationing – within a decade, under proposals being considered seriously by the Government…

    This is brilliant. It’s just exactly what is needed for even your dedicated Tone and Cher supporter to understand that the Labour Party is, always has been and will probably always be the political party equivalent of running around with 2 pencils up your nose and wearing a pair of Y-Fronts on your head.

  • Susan

    I can imagine that companies will just cut back on new plants, new offices, (and new jobs) etc. in order not to have to pay for these carbon point things. After all, creating more jobs just means hiring more people to occupy offices and factories, and people will just create more “emissions” that the company will get stuck having to pay for.

    A new-job killing program on the way; way to go Mr. Blair.

    Then of course, they’ll be cries for the gov’mint to subsidize those unfortunates who are “forced” to sell their carbon points to the rich and who therefore won’t be able to afford cars or vacations.

    “It’s unfair!” Polly Pot will shriek.

    So a new carbon point subsidy “entitlement” will be created by the gov’mint for “the poor”, to “solve” a problem the gov’mint created in the first place.

    My head is starting to hurt.