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Tory leader (Til 6Dec)M.Howard on Trident&Climate Change.

pirate | 27.11.2005 14:31 | Anti-militarism | Ecology | Globalisation | London | South Coast

Letters to a constituent from out going Toty leader Michael Howard on Trident renewal (Greenpeace campaign) and Climate Change (FoE campaign).

Just so's yer know, what the old vamp is saying (or avoiding saying more like).

Have a hanky and violins ready 3rd letter below:

First up a reply from 29th Sept -First reply on Greenpeace anti Trident renewal campaign.

Dear Mr...........

Thank you for your letter of 12 September.

For almost forty years the British and United States of America Governments have been transporting copious amounts of techinical information, materials and componants for use in each other's nuclear weapons programmes. Without the agreement, Britain would not have its Trident nuclear weapons, or be a nuclear power at all. Britain has test-fired 24 hydrogen bombs in Nevada and, in retur, supplied the US at times with plutonium.

So far as the furture is concerned, I quite agree that if Parliament is to fulfil its constitutional role of scrutiny and its responsibility for ensuring the security of our citizens, then the issues such as the proposed expansion at Aldermaston and allowing British bases such as Fylingdales and lakenheath to support US 'missile defence', should be debated on the floor of the House.

In the context of such debate such studies as can properly be made available without a risk to national security should of course be made available.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me.

With best wishes,

Michael Howard.
(Greenpeace comments at that point.)
Mr Howard's carefully worded answer neglects to answer any of the questions posed in the original letter, namely;
Whether Trident replacement will help Britain meet existing and future threats
The effects replacement would have on the on the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
The implications it would have on British foreign policy in general and US-UK relations in particular
The financial costs of replacement
So no change there, then. An excellent sidestep by a seasoned politician - hey , if you don't like the question, just ignore it!

2: Further reply from Howard on Trident.

Following on from initial correspondace with my MP Michael Howard, I wrote back pointing out later news in The Independent (and letter from The Pugwash Group etc) on the need for full access to all info on this subject for public debate. Here is his reply (note time between letters-not usually this long)

House of Commons, London. 16th November 2005.

Dear Mr...............

Thank you for your letter of 18th October concerning the enewal of Britain's nuclear weapons deterrant, as reported in The Independent. I firmly believe that any final decision by the Prime Minister to replace the Trident system should be preceded by a debate in Parliament. This should, quite rightly, be in the context of an informed public debate. As for the natre of the information made available to MPs and the general public, I stand by my position expressed in my letter of 29th September, that such studies, for example by the Minsitry of Defence, that can be made available without prejudice to our national security should be scrutinized. I beleve it is possible to disclose a considerable volume of information for serious debate without inviting the risks involved in a full release of studies on the matter.

I am also, as you requested, forwarding your letter to the Defence Secretary and requesting his comments.

With best wishes. Yours sincerely. Michael Howard.

3) reply letter regarding 'greenhouse gas emissions' (FoE Stop Climate Chaos group campaign)
I sent a copy of campaign letter concerning challenging T.Blair on climate change etc to M.Howard. Here is his reply. (Note: This is the MP who opposed the Romney Marsh Windfarm and now supports the Lydd Airport expansion plans ! - short haul 737's and 2 mill pax by about 2012 . His position on any possible Dungeness 'C' Nuke station is not known as yet ))
Also, a report in local press claims that Romney Marsh may well be flooded again in 50 years time.**

**(Later info: It was Kent County Council's Environment chief Richard King and he stands by this in the local press this week (27 Nov) but articles not online)

House of Commons, London.

21 st November 2005.

Dear Mr......................

Thank you for your letter dated 15th November, regarding legally binding targets for 'greenhouse gas' emissions. I feel, as you do, that climate change is one of the most pressing political problems we will face this century. Predictions for the UK indicate that average temperatures will increase by between 2C and 3.5C by 2100, resulting in warmer summers and wetter winters. This could have big implications for our biodiversity and economy.

With the ever increasing reports on rising CO2 emissions, I beleive more needs to be done to address the issues and problems being created. I fully support the Kyoto Protocol and the target of reducing carbin dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. It is, therefore, a great shame that the Government admitted that its domestic target of reducing emissions by 20% by 2010 will not be reached. CO2 emissions are actually higher now than they were in 1997. The Conservative Government managed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7.3% betwen 1990 and 1997.

At the general Election we put forward a seriosu programme of measures to tackle climate change which included action on energy efficeiency, renewable power and transport.

I beleive that increasing the energy efficiency of our nation's housing stock is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing our consumption of energy and hence carbon dioxide emissions. It would also lift many houeholds out of fuel poverty. We proposed to turn the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) into a self-funded Energy Efficiency Obligation (EEO), a more open and accessible market mechanism that would have covered both the domestic and commercial sectors. This would have been a fully tradable market mechanism which woould have made it easier for energy suppliers to meet their efficiency commiments and would have allowed householders to become more involved in improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

The EEO would either have allowed householders to get cash payments for the improvements they made to their homes or work, would have been carried out at a substantial discount, or free of charge, by an energy supplier who would then get money back through the scheme. Either way the EEO would have provided householders with a great opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Transport, which emits significant carbon emissions, would certainly have been addressed. We intended to encourage car manufacturers to make less polluting cars by using the tax system to make the grrenest cars and fuels cheaper. We planned to reduce the Vehicle Excise Duty on the cleanest vehicles in oreder to encourage biofuels through duty rebates and the renewable fuels obligation.

In light of this, I can assure you that I will continue to encourage Conservative MPs to press the government on this issue. I have also already written to the Prime Minister asking him for reassurance that the government is seriously committed to stopping climate change, and to doing so through legally-binding targets on 'greenhouse gas' emissions.

Thank you again for writing. Best Wishes. Yours sincerely. Michael Howard.


Oh ! my heart bleeds for him, I've got my hanky out and heard a violin playing as I read this. Outside of whether the policies are of any value, to me the whole tone is one of 'what you have all missed out on !' ( written whilst visiting his retirement 'castle' in the Carpathians perhaps- hope he's fitted draft excluders etc!)