The debate is timely, not only because of the strong public response to the consultation on the Government's proposed bill, which we all await with interest, but because of the host of issues that are now high on the political agenda. From the Westminster proposals on carbon quotas—which show that political parties across the spectrum are catching up with the Greens, again—to the current furore over fuel prices, energy issues have never been further up the political agenda. The UK Government's approach to so-called green taxes is attracting a justified degree of cynicism from many people across the country.
The minister referred to the Government's annual report on progress on climate change, which it published last week and which lists a number of steps that are being taken in the right direction. The trouble is that the Government has left out all the steps that are being taken in the wrong direction. It lists the positive moves, but ignores a host of moves in the other direction. For example, the report makes no mention of aviation or road building schemes. Alison McInnes mentioned the huge increase in spending on roads. She also claimed that the Liberal Democrats are
"the greenest of ... the main parties".
I think that that was the phrase that she used. It is a great phrase. The Liberal Democrats should keep on using it, albeit that the claim is as credible as someone claiming to be the butchest drag act in town. I will enjoy hearing that line time and again. I am always happy to know that others wish to steal our crown. In claiming that they are
"the greenest of ... the main parties" and criticising the road building programme, we have to remember that the Liberal Democrats supported that programme. In fact, they put much of it in place—one of their members was the Minister for Transport.