So! The Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has called out both the Conservative and Labour parties for their “Conspiracy of Silence, in not acknowledging the scale of choices and trade-puffs that will face us after the election”. He then goes on to say, “If I am sceptical about Mr. Hunt’s ability to stick to his current spending plans, I am at least that sceptical that Rachel Reeves will preside over deep cuts in public service spending” (The Spectator, March 8).

Unfortunately, there is no sign that the Liberal Democrats at a national level will do anything different, and I bet Reform and the Greens won’t do it either. All the political parties are frightened of us, the electorate.  As the top economist, Sir Dieter Helm says, “We want our cake and eat it”.

Helm has written a very important book, Legacy – How to Build the Sustainable ECOnomy.  Since he is the Oxford Professor of Political Economy with a specialism in Energy, we need to listen to him and read what he says.  His book concerns another topic, which at the party-political level, probably again for fear of the electorate, is also treated with a sort of Conspiracy of Silence (“pussyfooting” might be a better description).  That topic is the Climate Crisis, and the problem, which gets in the way of our dealing with it, is our Consumption. For it is our personal consumption that causes other countries to burn fossil fuels to manufacture goods and services that please us. Obviously, this is a world-wide problem, most clearly illustrated by the fact that in 2023 80% of the globe’s energy was produced by fossil fuels, the very same percentage as in 1992 (Statistical Review of World Energy pdf – Foreword, Key Facts, p 3).

Some people may think that the Letters Column of a local newspaper is not the place to discuss this topic.  But it so happened that Helm gave a talk in Winchester in June 2022 on this very subject in a hall packed full of students from across the city.

Jock Macdonald,

St Cross Road,