As I predicted on Sunday, Michael Heseltine’s response to the silly briefing against him by Osborne and Co has been to crank up rather than wind down his interventionist ideas to get growth going.
Still able to command attention when he wants, his report ranges far and wide, covering transport, energy, planning, regional development, skills, immigration etc etc etc. It amounts, dare we say it, to a plan for growth, something conspicuously lacking from Messrs Cameron and Osborne. There it contained within it a sense of urgency also lacking from the government, not least with regard to the need to get on and make a few bloody decisions about aviation policy.
Cameron’s opportunist opposition to Heathrow expansion in the run up to the last election will stand as one of the best of the many examples of his short-termism dominating his mindset.
Yet elsewhere in the news, we find an example of where difficult arguments can be won, provided politicians show a bit of leadership and engage in arguments over time. I refer to the relatively low key announcement that Hitachi are hoping to build four new nuclear power stations in the UK. If the last government had absorbed all the anti-nuclear lobby arguments, as Cameron did over Heathrow, there would not have been the slightest chance of getting to this position.
Meanwhile, back in Toryland, the new energy minister, John Hayes, who replaced the excellent Charles Hendry, has come along to prattle about building Jerusalem and announce the end of tie wind farm. Cue easy applause from the NIMBY brigade. As for not having a long term energy policy, Hezza is spot on again.