The Carswell Column
Who would you most trust to run your local library? Volunteers from a group like Friends of Jaywick Library, or remote government officials? Since local people took over the running of their library at Golf Green Hall, the library has been open for longer hours, offering a wider range of books. It even offers to help some folk with their shopping!
Who would you most trust to report news accurately? A mass circulation national newspaper, or the local Gazette? All the evidence is that local people trust what they read in local newspapers far more than in the big, corporate media.
Given that locally accountable services are far more reliable than anything run centrally, why is it that so many things are actually run from Whitehall? I suspect it has a lot to do with the vanity of politicians over the years.
We need change to get Big Government off our backs. Those of us who think that local people should actually have control over their local services are called “localists” and our agenda referred to as “localism”. I prefer to call it common sense.
On BBC Radio 4 this week, I was talking about how to improve local services in Clacton and Tendring. Far more important than which minister sits behind which desk in Whitehall, I said, is making sure that it is Tendring people that count.
Last week, I also came in for quite a bit of criticism for daring to challenge the consensus on man-made climate change. Not for the first time as your MP, I discovered that there are some questions that the Westminster establishment would rather that I did not ask.
Having joined Friends of the Earth years before I ever got into politics, I take the environment very seriously. But I just do not happen to believe that the consensus is right about CO2 emissions.
Iain Plimer, a respected Australian scientist, has shown that human activity only has a marginal effect on the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. More surprisingly, I learnt from him that the CO2 content of the atmosphere does not in fact determine temperature.
The earth is getting slightly warmer quite naturally, but that is because we are coming out of “the little ice age” – a time when the Thames regularly froze. We are still a long way from the Middles Ages or the Roman era, when temperatures were much warmer. And there were not many human CO2 emissions then, surely, were there?
Local people – especially older folk – are struggling to pay monthly bills. Yet thanks to the hidden subsidies and taxes to “fight climate change”, your monthly electricity bill is some 10 – 20 per cent higher. And it is set to increase by 60 per cent over the next five years.
And what do they do with all that extra money? Why, they give it to large corporations who then industrialise our countryside with giant wind turbines. Does not seem very green to me.