Leading Article: Labour Is Right to Be Nervous of Its Record ; ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
While the Blairs sun themselves in Egypt, and the Government dozes, the Tories are busy. Mr Blair's opposite number, David Cameron, has used the Prime Minister's holiday to pull off one Christmas coup after another. Hot on the heels of the media-savvy decision to lure Bob Geldof on to the Tories' commission on global poverty " unusual territory for them " Mr Cameron has set his sights on another fortress in the Labour camp: the environment. In the new year he is to deliver a keynote address at the 60th anniversary of the Soil Association, an organisation close to the organic food lobby.
Whether this new interest in green matters marks a change of heart in the party of big business and laissez-faire economics is open to question. But Mr Cameron has clearly earmarked the environment as vulnerable territory. Before dismissing this as a publicity stunt, consider the words of the Tories' new man in charge of environmental policy, Zac Goldsmith. In interviews that must be raising hackles among many Tory supporters, he says he has no intention of becoming a 'mouthpiece' for business, condemns what he calls government cowardice on genetically modified food and supermarkets which bully farmers, and rails against 'building ever more roads, ever more airports'. These are strange days in the Tory party.
But why not try out new clothes and see if they fit, especially when it is so clear that Labour has fallen out of love with the environmental activists who backed the party in 1997? …