If observers wanted an early example of the way in which David Cameron might be rejoining the establishment they should look at his approach to the environment.
Interviewed (tieless apparently) on this morning’s Today programme, Mr Cameron made a virtue of the fact that his ‘environment team’ are all respected by Britain’s green lobby groups:
- Peter Ainsworth – the new Shadow Environment Secretary – and until now, the Chairman of the Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee.
- Oliver Letwin – the inspiration behind David Cameron’s environment speech during the leadership race.
- John Gummer (pictured) and Zac Goldsmith – who will be leading lights of the new Policy Group on Quality of Life issues.
Mr Goldsmith – profiled on the new GoldList blog – and Mr Gummer will have responsibility for finding answers to questions of energy policy, the pollution caused by transport methods, the quality of the built environment and industrial emissions.
Mr Cameron told the Today programme that the party was prepared to make tough choices on the environment and it would carefully consider the recommendations of this and the other Policy Groups – when they report in 18 months’ time.
The danger of the Cameron-Letwin approach is that tough, controversial policies will need time to sell and Mr Cameron’s long Policy Review process will limit the time for such policies to be sold to the second half of this parliament. They have decided that the quality of policy ideas must come first.
Not everyone agrees with this ‘new-blue-greenery’. On his EnviroSpin blog, Professor Emeritus Philip Stott has warned that David Cameron cannot "deliver such naive stuff on climate change, while at the same time declaring that he will build more roads and focus on increasing UK competitiveness".