Having spent a couple of days with the Heartland Institute in Chicago, I’ve been struck by the reaction to my recent move to UKIP. These folk are not all card-carrying Republicans, but they mostly lean that way. We’ve seen research at the Conference showing that climate gullibility goes hand-in-hand with left-wing attitudes, so it’s no surprise that climate sceptics tend to lean in a Republican direction.
I felt some trepidation, therefore, that they might react badly to my leaving the Conservatives. I’ve been to several of these conferences, and the regulars know me quite well as a Tory. But not a bit of it. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. So it’s interesting to speculate on why this should be.
Of course Cameron did himself no favours on his recent visit to Washington when he cosied up to President Obama, and declined to see Republican front runner Mitt Romney. Bad move. But Cameron seems to have a recent penchant for backing losers, as with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
I fear that Cameron is being seen in the US as just another European social democrat, naturally aligned to an arguably socialist US President.
The other possibility, of course, is that climate sceptics immediately warm to a party which openly supports their position. We’ve sent two days listening to presentations from distinguished scientists, challenging the dogmas of the IPCC, and demonstrating that the obsession with CO2 is both misplaced and profoundly damaging. They’re happy to hear from a party that agrees with their position, and fights for it in Britain and Brussels. This view is reinforced by the hero’s welcome accorded to Lord (Christopher) Monckton, who had them on their feet with applause.
I guess it’s a bit of each. It would be too early to say that UKIP would be a natural partner for the Republicans, but it’s starting to look a bit that way.