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Sketch: Rishi Sunak is the Net Zero Hero

Credit: Iain Green

Sketch: Rishi Sunak is the Net Zero Hero

Amid predictions of a dystopian future in which the UK will be subject to meat taxation, compulsory car sharing and – heaven forbid – seven bins, one man steps forward to save us all.

Rishi Sunak, the Net Zero Hero.

He alone will stop that nightmare scenario from coming to fruition. He is not the hero the UK needs, but certainly the one it deserves.

“I know people in our country are frustrated with our politics,” our hero says, proving he is definitely not out of touch with public opinion.

“People are tired of the false choice between two versions of change that never go beyond a slogan,” he insists, while the slogan underneath him screams: “LONG-TERM DECISIONS FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE”.  An apt choice of words, as all those wildfires on the horizon will certainly brighten up the place.

Decisions have been “influenced by special interests”, Sunak continues without a hint of self-reflection.

Still, our hero – undeterred by his own party’s record – goes on. The UK has “stumbled into” a direction which “no one seems to be happy with” – unless of course you include those people, like his wife’s family, who have benefited from that stumbling.

“We do not have to be powerless,” says the most powerful man in the country. Having spent the year “bringing back stability” (not that he mentioned where the instability came from, that must have slipped his mind), he pledges “sensible green leadership” from now on.

But he’ll need your support to do it.

“Can we be brave in the decisions we make, even if there is a political cost?” asks the Net Zero Hero.

“Can we be honest when the facts change, even if it’s awkward?” he shouts, rallying people to his anti-green, sorry, sensible green cause.

“And can we put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment, even if it means being controversial?” Can he count on you, dear reader?

This man means business. And by business, I mean a booming oil business because he also won’t end North Sea oil

But our hero knows the path he has taken is not an easy one. With great power comes great responsibility, after all. And he is facing a UK “stuck between two extremes”. Those who want to abandon net zero and those who don’t. Those who are happy to watch the world burn and those trying to save it. Those who don’t take climate change seriously and those who do.

But, you understand, there is another way. A middle way. A third way, if you will.

Sunak says he is not planning to abandon any targets or commitments. He’s simply shelving some of the policies that might actually help deliver those targets or commitments in any way.

And as for that nightmare scenario he painted earlier? Net Zero Hero has already started to fight back.

“The proposal for government to interfere in how many passengers you can have in your car? I’ve scrapped it.

“The proposals that we should force you to have seven different bins in your home? I’ve scrapped it.

“The proposal to make you change your diet and harm British farmers by taxing meat, or to create new taxes to discourage flying or going on holiday? I’ve scrapped those too.”

This man means business. And by business, I mean a booming oil business because he also won’t end North Sea oil extraction.

His mission statement is simple. “Consent, not imposition. Honesty, not obfuscation. Pragmatism, not ideology.”

Now that’s a heroic catchphrase. Young boys the world over will soon be yelling that at each other in the street, dressed in a sharp suit and Italian loafers. ‘Up, up, and away’. ‘My spidey senses are tingling’. ‘Consent, honesty, pragmatism’.

Meanwhile in Scotland, the archnemesis of the UK Government – the Scottish Government – is planning retaliation. Guardian of the Green, Mairi McAllan, accuses Net Zero Hero of an “unforgivable betrayal of current and future generations”.

Labour’s Sarah Boyack points out the inconvenient truth about the Scottish Government missing several of its own climate targets, to groans in the chamber from McAllan’s acolytes.

The framework in Scotland is the “most stretching”, insists McAllan.

And yes, the government has “missed some targets” but it’s also “met some targets”, and even those that were missed were only missed by a little, she insists without pause for breath.

As we all know, good intentions alone will pave the way to net zero.

But what Labour is failing to do, McAllan argues, gearing up for – you guessed it – a constitutional power punch, is recognising her government is “having to make up for Westminster failure”.

“The sooner that Labour wake up to that fact and join us in the realisation that Scotland can only tackle climate change when we’re a normal, independent country, the better.”

Yep, that’s right, you heard it hear first. Once Scotland is independent it will entirely solve the problem of global climate change. Saor Alba.

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