I've recently been sent copies of correspondence between Craig Mackinlay and two of his constituents, of which more detail below. However his responses gave me pause for thought. Is this man really as stupid as he appears, or is there something else going on?
Much as I find his views illogical, often bigoted and occasionally offensive, I don't think that CM is stupid. So what gives? Why does he spout the nonsense that he does? Read on to find out what I believe are the reasons. Spoiler alert, in response to the title question, the answer is 'not his constituents'.
So first item of correspondence. A constituent, noting CM's dislike of government handouts for Green industries, asked whether he was also against the billions handed out to the fossil fuel industry and airlines as free pollution permits. The government gives polluting industries credits to use against their carbon emissions costs under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS). The scheme was set up so that producers of carbon emissions pay a fee according to the amount they produce, to encourage them to reduce their emissions for the benefit of all.
Craig views these billions of state handouts as necessary to help polluters reduce their carbon emissions. That's idiotic! Subsidise the cost of polluting to help companies pollute less? Surely better to give subsidies for reducing their emissions, and generate clean green jobs. Only an idiot would think otherwise...
A second constituent asked CM to support onshore wind energy. He replied negatively, claiming that onshore wind would do little to ensure our energy security! On which planet does he live? Had successive Conservative governments encouraged onshore wind generation, the UK would have been significantly more self-sufficient in energy and not impacted by the rising cost of gas due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Instead the Tories banned onshore wind farms.
Craig praises his own involvement with the Net Zero Scrutiny Group and its role in 'steering the government away from potential unfolding disaster in its unrealistic Net Zero plans'.
We already have a real (not potential) unfolding disaster in climate change. Scientists are in almost total agreement that without immediate, significant action we face climate catastrophe. I agree with Craig that the government's Net Zero plan is unrealistic, but whereas I, the scientists, and the majority of the population want it strengthened, Craig wants it to be watered down.
So back to the question. Who does Craig work for? Certainly not for his constituents, or the wider population of Britain, or indeed the planet. The answer, I think, is suggested by the fact that his beloved Net Zero Scrutiny Group consistently promotes incorrect climate denialism. The Group is closely associated with, and gets its information from, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. which was sanctioned by the Charity Commission for its persistent promotion of Climate Change denial. The backers of the GWPF include oil companies and those heavily invested in oil companies. No conflict of interest there then.
The fossil fuel industry have relied on dangerous idiots like Craig Mackinlay to ignore the facts and promote their planet-destroying behaviour for years. In October 1989, Shell researchers wrote a confidential report warning that climate-fuelled migration could swamp borders in the United States, Soviet Union, Europe, and Australia. “Conflict would abound,” the document said. “Civilisation could prove a fragile thing.”
It is not clear how much backing, financial or otherwise, CM receives from the dark money flooding the world to support polluting industries. What is very clear is the absurdity of Craig's consistent rhetoric in denial of the impending climate catastrophe. He is not supporting his constituents. He has chosen to support polluting industries. He does not deserve his constituents' support. He does not work for us.