So that's that then. The election campaign that never was has drawn to an embarrassing ramshackle halt after the prime minister declared a false start and called the race off before the competitors had even reached the first corner.
But if the whole sorry saga achieved anything besides giving the opposition parties enough political ammo to keep their armouries stocked up well into next year, it is that it has given the rest of us an insight into the key topics the next election will be fought over. Sadly for green business execs environmental policy looks set to be a long way behind the front lines.
For several months there have been indications that the environment might finally take the central position in political debates that environmentalists, scientists, and green business leaders have been demanding. Both the Tories and the Lib Dems delivered thorough, serious-minded reports on the kind of policies required to deliver a low carbon economy, while the government continued to busy itself with the proposed Climate Change Bill and even appeared to be making progress in improving the UK's currently miniscule renewable energy capacity.
It seemed that the rhetoric all the political parties had indulged in identifying climate change as one of the greatest threats to humanity would finally be followed with the bold policies required to mitigate that risk.
And yet as soon as Brown's lieutenants started laying the ground work for their abortive election campaign both the major parties resorted to their comfort zones.
Brown's conference speech delivered a few more Eco-towns and hinted that he would toughen up the climate change bill, but offered little detail on how the bill's emission reduction targets would be met. His stance on the climate change remained akin to that of a football manager who insists his target for the year is to win the league but offers little information on how this admirable ambition will ever be achieved.
Instead he focused on his traditional electoral strengths, focusing on the stability of the economy and Labour's increased investment in public sector services.
Yesterday's Pre Budget Review was no better, offering more money for flood defences and tweaking aviation taxes, but again offering no clear signal on how emission targets will be met.
Similarly, the Tory Conference and their subsequent poll bounce saw them push environmental issues to the sidelines. Sure, they announced plans to increase green taxes, reform the energy sector and introduce feed in tariffs for renewable energy, but the announcements were, if not exactly sneaked out, completely overshadowed by the focus on planned cuts in inheritance tax and a full blown assault on Brown's record.
It seemed that Cameron and co had listened to the economist Erwin Seltzer's warning that the green agenda would not play well with the majority of voters and begun gradually extricating themselves from their recent pro-green positions.
In fact, the most memorable declaration on the environment from the whole conference season came when Shadow Chancellor George Osborne openly mocked the work of his colleagues in the Tories' Quality of Life Group, John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith, by declaring he'd be "off his trolley" to back their calls for parking charges at supermarkets.
Observers of the election that wasn't were left in little doubt that when the race proper begins, most likely next year, the campaigns will remain focused on the traditional topics of tax, security, public services, immigration and the economy, stupid.
But in sidelining the green debate and returning to their familiar hunting grounds the leading political parties have again illustrated their utter failure to comprehend the truly pervasive nature of climate change and the low carbon economy.
Labour may wish to fight the election on the economy, but in that case where is the understanding that low carbon technologies could provide perhaps the biggest driver for economic growth in recent history? Where are the clear and generous subsidies and tax cuts required to stimulate these embryonic clean tech sectors, help make them globally competitive and ensure the government's carbon emission targets are met? Where is the explanation to voters that while some industries will suffer as a result of the legislation needed to deliver a low carbon economy, new globally competitive sectors will take their place; that ultimately a technology transition fuels rather than stifles economic growth and opportunity?
Equally, the Conservatives have set out a tax-cutting stall, but again they are failing to explain how emission reduction targets will only be achieved when green taxes become a critical component of the tax system. They could make the case that green taxes, when offset against cuts in areas such as income and inheritance taxes, are not only fair but would also deliver major tax cuts for those who make an effort to reduce their carbon emissions. They could, but with a few notably exceptions they have failed to do so.
This dynamic plays itself out across almost every sector of government. In terms of defence, the military are already undertaking threat studies and identifying climate change as not just one of the largest security threats we will face but also one of the major contributors to global conflicts today. In terms of public services, all of the reforms and increased spending planned by Labour must be informed by the urgent need to slash emissions and climate proof essential infrastructure and services. In terms of immigration, some of the Daily Mail's worst nightmares will become inevitable as people attempt to flee climate change droughts and conflicts for more temperate climates.
But instead of explaining and planning for climate change's pervasive impacts the political parties continue to siphon environmental debates and policies off to an individual department, while similarly keeping economic, security and public service policies largely separate from one another.
Once again the politicians could learn a lot from the best green businesses. Those taking climate change seriously have realised a fragmented approach to the environment simply doesn't work – in the case of government it is a recipe for announcing emission reduction targets while expanding roads and airports – and are attempting to drive environmental sustainability into every aspect of their organisations. They understand that if you want to cut emissions it needs to be the responsibility of not just the facilities manager, but also the financial manager, the operational manager, the supply chain manager, and pretty much everyone from the CEO down. Meanwhile, almost every business decision and new strategy needs to include carbon impact assessments to ensure it fits in with the overarching goal of cutting emissions.
But sadly our political leaders seem unwilling or unable to grasp this principle of interconnected environmental management. Unfortunately, until they accept that the demands of the low carbon economy must inform and dominate almost everything they do the chance of attaining that low impact economic model, deemed little short of essential by climate scientists, remains negligible.
Now there is something for Gordon Brown to chew on next time he thinks about calling an election.
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