Wednesday, April 08, 2009

How Gordon Brown Stole Boris's Electric Car Policy

Click on image to enlarge

I'm told Boris Johnson was left scratching his head when he read The Independent this morning. Brown announced a new initiative on the promotion of electric cars. Nothing wrong with that, except that it was a carbon copy of an initiative launched by Boris in January, and since then he has been having meetings with Geoff Hoon, Peter Mandelson and Brown himself on the issue. There had been an agreement that there would be a joint announcement once officials had worked out the detail. But The Independent reports this morning...
In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the Prime Minister trailed measures to make Britain "a world leader" in producing and exporting electric cars, hybrid petrol-electric vehicles and lighter cars using less petrol. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, will announce in his Budget that trials for electric cars in two or three cities will begin next year. He added that the Government would provide incentives to help the car industry become a market leader across the world for electric and hybrid cars.
Gordon Brown has cut Boris out of the equation and seems determined to take the credit himself. That's politics, I guess. Boris is said to be far from amused. He had viewed this as an issue which could best be tackled with a joint and joined up approach. What he didn't bargain with was the political opportunism of our Prime Minister. I doubt whether it will happen a second time.

UPDATE: A source tell me this is the timeline of meetings between Boris and government ministers...

21 January 09 discussion with Hoon

27 January 09 Letter to Hoon

19 Feb Note from Boris to PM’s PS saying BJ wants to discuss EV s with PM

25 Feb Meeting with PM

6 March Meeting with Mandelson

24 March Meeting with Hoon

6 April Note to Hoon


subrosa said...

Why am I not surprised? Wakey wakey Boris, politics is a dirty business.

golden_balls said...

He was beaten to the punch by brown etc

he's far more stupid than i thought

Plato said...

What a cheap move.

Still let's hope Mr Johnson makes it plain that this was yet another stolen idea.

Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Er, Boris' idea was about promoting their use in London - fair enough. The government's one is about encouraging their manufacture (i.e. a new industry). Slightly different.

Dick the Prick said...

As Subrosa - inheritance tax anyone? Why didn't Cammo tell the lad? Hey ho - they play dirty in the Vauxhall conference.

Inspector Morse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

They are all a bunch of idiots. Electric cars do not have the range to be any use other than as little city runabouts, but we have plenty of urban public transport for that purpose.

The real issue is with battery capacity and the time taken to recharge. It is a opintless waste of real estate to have cars parked up all day being charged up with a few quids worth of electricity. Better that they should be charged up at home overnight with cheaper electricity.

Conand said...

@ Theo Blackwell

Promoting their use in London encourages their manufacture.

Anyway, naughty Boris! Boris should know by now that Brown is a disgusting pig with absolutely no morals whatsoever.
Step more carefully in future Bozzer!

AdamB said...

Taking credit for other people's ideas eh? Ol Boris would never be caught doing that!

Windsor Tripehound said...

And to think people are still asking why the Conservative Party is not publishing its general election policies!

Stan said...

I shouldn't worry - it's a daft idea anyway.

Unsworth said...

Coal-fired power stations are, at best, 40% efficient. 60% of the electricity they produce is wasted. 100% of the Carbon-dioxide and other emissions goes up the chimney.

Now the lunacy starts. Produce electric cars? So we're going to build more and more coal power stations? What, like China?

This country - like some others - is perilously close to reaching Peak Energy. When it does we can fully expect tariff changes (i.e. higher charges for the same amount of electricity) and brown-outs. Already New York and California are in trouble. If we see a hot summer in North America we'll see more breakdowns in supply there. It won't be long before Europe follows suit.

Which European country continues to build Nuclear? France.

John East said...

Seems to me like a lucky escape for Boris. If he had been included in the credits you can be sure that Boris would end up being the fall guy when, just like everything else involving Brown, the whole initiative goes tits up.

Mark M said...

Say, how are we going to generate all the electricity we need for these electric cars then Gordon?

davidc said...

another 'cut and paste' policy from nulab ?

Jimmy said...

So electric cars were Boris' idea?

Who's taking credit for blowing the Met Police pension fund?

Roger Thornhill said...

EVs are beginning to have ranges of 150, 200 and more miles, so none of this old Pony about limited range and low speeds.

10 years ago the Toyota RAV4 EV had 150 mile ranges and motorway performance until the patent owner on the Panasonic NiMH batteries (Chevron...tsk) refused their use in automobiles! (they are used in laptops...hmmm).

If EVs had small on-board generators of approx 250cc, 100mpg making them technically plug-in series hybrid, the charging network will not be critical and can grow organically while the vehicles will have 500-1000mile range if needed.

strapworld said...

It just proves what type of man this Prime Minister is.

Absolutely no morals whatsoever. No Style, No gravitas. Empty, Star struck. Believes his own publicity.

I just pray he will get his due desserts and lose his seat to boot.

I hope, then, that Cameron denies him a seat in the Lords. Why should anyone who has ruined this Country be honoured with a seat in the Lords?

Boris has shown that the Tories are not the Nasty party. He has shown he has principles and standards words that Brown would not understand.

Yet, will Cameron make anything from this. An open door to embarrass this incompetent,prime minister. Will Cameron go through it?

Not a sheep said...

Boris trusted Gordon, not a sensible thing to do. Remember Gordon hates Tories, especially posh ones, and he will always do the dirty on them if he can

hcjvr said...

But surely the most important thing is that a good green policy is being adopted on a national level? Boris has a while before his next election, perhaps he could just enjoy the satisfaction of his policy being taken up on a wider level!

parsifal said...

Gordon Brown is the most malignant front bench politician, of either party, in government or in opposition, that I can recall.
I'm afraid one of the reasons he keeps making an arse of himself, is because, while no doubt highly intelligent, he thinks everyone else is his intellectual inferior. This applies to colleagues ( a vague concept for Brown) or opponents.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

A Sinclare Car-style idea from a Sinclare Car-style government.

Conand said...


'while no doubt highly intelligent'

I think I'm being far too kind if I call him an idiot savant.
I agree that he is totally malignant and arrogant.

So the centerpiece of this 'Green Budget' is nicked from Bozzer!
It really would make a cat laugh. Still I guess it will cover up some total iniquity which is buried in the small print.

Matthew said...

Iain, sorry to puncture your illusion here, but this post is complete and utter nonsense.

A policy announcement like this is not something that can simply be rustled up overnight. Officials have been working on this policy for many, many months, and Number Ten has been instrumental in driving it forward. Electric vehicle manufacturers were in detailed discussions with Number Ten last year.

It is of course great news that Boris Johnson is in favour of decarbonising road vehicles, and I hope he and the Government can work closely together to deliver that objective.

But it is naive (and factually wrong) to take Boris Johnson's letter as evidence that he was the first politician ever to dream of electric vehicles. He wasn't.

There is a lot more to this than the childish question of which politician takes the credit.

Bird said...

Better call Trollbusters Iain.
You're infested with the buggers.

Conand said...


You're horrid. You make me want to die. Please go and 'Roll out' some crap announcement about an 'initiative' that never actually happens.
Or buy a job lot of Nokias. Something, anything! Just leave us human beings alone.

Mr John Cooper said...


I hate to disagree with you but feel I must. The letter from Boris J does nothing except support moves, no doubt exploritory, by Geoff Hoon to examine and expand the uptake of EVs.

Key paragraph for me is the last one on the front page explaining Boris's support for a 'significant funding increase'.

Surely you would wish to have key decision makers onside before announcing anything - therefore to have consulted suitable mayors makes perfect sense.

With Regards


Anonymous said...

Main problem with widespread electric vehicles is the supply of the weird materials they require, already Toyota have had to slash forecasts of Prius production because there isn't enough lanthanum being mined.

Jack Lifton is the main man on this kind of stuff, this article gives a flavour - read some of his other articles on that site to get a more detailed view of the issues.

neil craig said...

No loss Boris.
There is far too much of politicians telling engineers what engineering decisions to make. Electric cars are a political boondoggle, even moreso as oil prices fall & the stuff becomes ever easier to get hold of.

If politicians would just get out of the way we would have a booming economy.

Simon Gardner said...

“Which European country continues to build Nuclear? France.”

Ukraine, Finland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and I reckon UK.

Lexander said...

I would love to impose a lifetime order that Permy Clarkson must always ride around in one of these 10 mph vehicles (especially in the Cotswolds).

ACB said...

Theo Blackwell and Matthew are right - development of EVs, in terms of both their usage and production, has been progressing apace for some time. And, guess what, not in London (sorry to burst your Westminster bubbles)! EVs will be built in the UK before very long - in the North East, principally at Nissan. Electric
4x4s are about to go into production in Northumberland. The North East is also well on the way to developing an EV infrastructure across the region and has already got a significant number of local authorities and multinationals on board to support this work. Just because Boris thinks of something doesn't mean he has a monopoly on the idea.

The Grim Reaper said...

Does Brown actually have any policies which he HASN'T stolen off someone else? The magpie of British politics lives up to his name.

I hate Red Ken and Fatty Brown said...

Sorry but Boris has it wrong. Electric cars suck big time. They are useless. The future is in Hydrogen fuel cell cars. If Brown really wanted to help the car industry out he should order all Government departments to start replacing conventional vehicles with Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Garages should be ordered to start installing Hydrogen refilling points and big discounts offered on Hydrogen fuelled vehicles like the current Honda.

That would give the car industry a big boost.

Jonathan said...

Surely people were touting electric cars on Tomorrow's World in the 1970s? (In those days we were all very worried about overdue iceage.)

Always quite fancied a Sinclair C5 myself. Wonder what happened to them all?

Politics is politics though. Any politican worth his or her salt will try and get the credit for any apparently good idea they can, especially pre-election.

yellowbelly said...

Taxi for Quick!!

Anonymous said...

I see Labour have taken to spinning the Mrs Brown Lifetime Mortgage on the Flat Brown claimed expenses on as paying for Mrs Brown’s rented clothes!

Pathetic! Brown lined his pockets at tax payer expense. If the flat was valued at £700,000 as was reported at the time - Sarah could well have taken £350,000 in Equity out of it! Remember how much the flat cost originally and the number of years Brown has been claiming for it! Brown must think the electorate stupid!

Old Holborn said...

Iain Darling

Still waiting for an update on your Review of the papers where you missed the killing of an innocent man by the Police.

The MSM have picked it up, the blogosphere picked it up. Yet you "missed" it whilst reading the papers on TV.

A second autopsy? Don't they trust the Police Coroner?


OH (PS, don't forget how many readers I send you each month)

Iain Dale said...

Twat. I led with it in the paper review. If you;d been watching you'd have seen. I wrote that Tweet before the Guardian arrived.

cassandra said...

Pointless time and cash wasting publicity stunts that do nothing to help,cost the earth,turn out to be rubbish and useless white elephants, take your pick folks!

Why is it that the political classes are so in love with these stupid stunts? Do they sit around all day making up crazy ideas that look good on paper and are very costly?
Still its only money isnt it? its not like millions of people have to work bloody hard to pay for all these crappy stunts eh? I mean tax money is there to be lavished on the commissars pet projects and five year plans, the tax money just grows on trees doesnt it?
Polititians should never be given the power to spend our taxes, they are in fact retarded imbeciles with no conception of good housekeeping or thrift, ooooh apart from the armed services of course, the commissars always seem very keen on saving cash when the forces need equipment that actually works properly!
No wonder the commissars are hated so much, the Westminster villiage idiots are so out of touch that it beggars belief, instead of actually spending LESS money they think up more ways to waste it WTF?

Earth calling all thicko commissars, its not your money so stop bloody wasting it you morons.

neil craig said...

"Why is it that the political classes are so in love with these stupid stunts? Do they sit around all day making up crazy ideas that look good on paper and are very costly?"

Yes. The papers they look good in are newspapers. Particularly when the car/windmill/sustainable house/nodding duck is an artits interpretation & the real result won't be sen till he has moved on.

We should have a commitment to refucing spending & ultimately to a constitutional Act preventing any budfet increases until governement is spending less than 25% of GNP. That woyuld concentrate their minds on the things fovernment can usefully do.

Chalcedon said...

It's the sort of underhand stuff we come to expect from this government and politicians in general. saying this just shows how ordinary people, which is why I am, have come to regard politicians. Chancers, liers and knifers-in-the-back. How will they ever reclaim the moral high ground after the past few weeks, nay years?

Chalcedon said...

The first car to hold the land speed record in 1899, 57.6 mph, was an electric car.

All we need are decent long life, quick charging batteries........and this technology was announced in the US a couple of weeks ago.

Electric cars are dangerous though. They are silent. They will have to have some kind of noise maker so deaf people and ipod users don't get run over.