Interviewed George Monbiot yesterday. He was interesting on the Tories’ apparent conversion to greenery. It’s sincere, he thought, but he noted that they’ve gone all the way over into the hippie quadrant, into a kind of 21st Century prelapsarianism: decentralised communities of organic venison sausage makers and fully networked strategic marketing professionals, each laptop supplied by its own micro nuclear power station secreted in a bosky glen somewhere. What you seem to have here is Cameron’s attempt to create a Tory superego. Think about a Tory living The Good Life and you think of Jeremy Clarkson wanking into a hairy sock. Needing something more elevated, their minds ran towards the bucolic delusion.
Monbiot’s done a bit of that himself, but in policy terms he’s soundly urban, large concentrations of people being more energy efficient. And he’s very macro: all grids and networks and banks of offshore wind farms, turbines thrumming away, vast propellers masticating the air. Kind of cool, really. His basic political formation seems to be enlighetend technocrat rather than dyed in the wool crusty. If the whole green thing hadn’t descended into a kulturkampf, he’d be this generation’s James Burke.