Nigel Farage May Back a Brexit-like Referendum on U.K.’s “Net Zero” Plan
Nigel Farage, one of the main promoters of the Brexit campaign, which eventually led the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in 2020, signaled last week that he may have picked his next cause to champion — a referendum asking British citizens their opinion about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new “Net Zero” climate plan.
In a tweet, Farage stated, “This could well be my latest campaign.”
“I’ve been saying that the rush to net zero, that the way in which it’s being done, is going to be ruinous,” Farage said. “It will lead to yet more huge transfers of money from the poor to the rich, and given that China isn’t going to play the game anyway, by the looks of it nor is Russia either, what’s it going to achieve?”
According to Johnson, his ambitious plan, which was published in the weeks before the U.K. hosted COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, will harness the “unique power of capitalism” to bring down the cost of converting to so-called green energy “so we can make net zero a net win for people, for industry, for the UK and for the planet.”
It will also likely cost the average British citizen a lot more in taxes and higher energy costs. And it’s those people — as in the Brexit movement — that Farage believes will be vital in bringing about energy sanity to the United Kingdom.
“[Johnson is] pushing for Net Zero, but it’s supported by all the other parties in Westminster, massive, over 90% of MPs are strongly in favour of Net Zero,” Farage noted. “And yet, just like the European question, my sense of it’s been and a growing sense of it’s been, that out there in the shires, people are asking, hang on, who’s paying for all this? Are you serious?”
Allister Heath, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, seems to have given Farage the idea. In an October 20 column, Heath argued that “Voters don’t like being treated like naughty children, let alone apathetic imbeciles, by technocrats convinced that they know best.”
Heath admonished Johnson and the Conservative government for their rush to decarbonize the U.K. in the lead-up to COP 26. According to the editor, some in government seem to have forgotten the lessons of Brexit less than two years after it became reality.
“It beggars belief, therefore, that a government of Brexiteers, in power only because they led a populist rebellion against another cross-party consensus, have forgotten this crucial lesson when it comes to net zero, and are seeking to enshrine a revolution without consulting the public,” Heath wrote.
In the days prior to COP26, the Daily Telegraph commissioned a poll on whether the British public supported having a referendum on the issue of Johnson’s Net Zero plan. A plurality of more than 1,700 polled supported a public vote about the issue, with 42 percent saying they either tended to support or strongly supported holding a national referendum on the issue. Only 30 percent tended to oppose or strongly opposed a vote on the subject, with 28 percent being undecided.
Farage referenced the poll, saying, “Clearly a lot of you out there feel, this shouldn’t be done without you being asked, and this isn’t really what you voted for in 2019.”
Still, even Farage, who is no stranger to controversy, felt the need to issue a caveat. “But is a referendum on a specific issue like this really feasible, or should referendums be saved for major constitutional questions?”
The costs of Johnson’s Net Zero pledge will be high regardless of whether those costs come directly in the form of taxation, or in consumer prices going up if only corporations are taxed. It seems that many British citizens want their say about that.
Farage, who has some experience with controversial British referendums, has been prolific in his activism, having been a member of European Parliament from 1999 until the U.K.’s exit from the EU in 2020.
Farage was the leader of the UKIP party, which featured prominently in the Brexit referendum. In late 2018, he helped form the Brexit Party, which loudly called for a “no deal” Brexit as former Prime Minister Theresa May struggled to achieve a deal on the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
Since July of this year, Farage has hosted a call-in radio show on LBC in Great Britain. Perhaps Boris Johnson and the U.K. government’s absurd push for “net zero” emissions has reawakened the political fight in the radio host.
Published at Fri, 05 Nov 2021 13:13:50 +0000