So Miliband has failed. And who are spoken of as possible successors? Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper. Mrs Balls was a hopeless minister and Andy Burnham was the minister who refused request after request for a public enquiry into the Mid-Staffs hospital which killed hundreds of patients. He now weeps crocodile tears for the NHS.
Allister Heath tears into contradictions in a policy area which didn't surface in reports on the Labour conference, energy:
The pledge to make electricity carbon-free by 2030 is at best ridiculous and at worst fanciful. It would cost a fortune to implement. It would necessitate attracting large global energy investors, railroading planning applications and a combination of massive subsidies (paid for by taxpayers) and even higher prices (paid for by consumers).Sadly it doesn't beggar belief one bit. But if this is the best the main Opposition party can do months before a general election, heaven help us.
Given that all of this is meant to go hand in hand with a price freeze on energy companies, and a generalised war on their profits, the chances of the target being met are zero.
Miliband remains stuck in the mindset he used to have while serving as Secretary of State for Energy in the previous government, when he promoted the disastrous dash for green energy that ended up fuelling the cost of living crisis and imperilling our energy security. It beggars belief that a party committed to lower energy prices would dream up a policy guaranteed to increase them.
The world hasn't warmed since the late 1990's. Estimates of "climate sensitivity" are falling, suggesting a possible temperature rise by the end of this century might be 1-2C (if temperatures rise at all). So cutting "carbon" (actually carbon dioxide) is simply not a policy priority now. If temperatures do start rising seriously (and who knows), and if carbon dioxide does turn out to be a major cause (again, who knows), the world can tackle the issue with the benefit of the technology leaps we will doubtless have seen by then.
It's not only Labour who want to "cut carbon". The oddly named Liberal Democrats have plans for a Zero Carbon Britain Bill.
As Bishop Hill reminds us, the problem for energy policy is keeping the lights on. A problem caused wholly by politicians convinced they know best how to regulate society.
Labour want to control. It seems any target will do. Even the essential carbon dioxide, pilloried by science which is now outdated.
"Carbon" is not the enemy. The enemy is the know-all, controlling politicians stuck in the past.