British election results show climate change denial is not a vote winner

Last week’s election results in England, Scotland and Wales demonstrated that climate change denial is still not a vote winner, and remains an issue that lies at the extreme fringes of political debate.

Both the UK Independence Party and the British National Party included explicit statements of climate change ‘scepticism’ in their manifestos, unlike the main political parties that secured the overwhelming majority of votes. A consistent tactic by both parties was to link opposition to wind farms with climate change denial.

The Scottish manifestos of these two right-wing Parties included strong expressions of denial. The British National Party devoted an entire section to ‘Global Warming’, claiming “the cult of ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ is a pretext to impose international governance and the imposition of taxes on the necessary use of fuel for domestic and industrial purposes“.

It railed against “the fraudulent activities of the IPCC, including the falsified data employed to facilitate the impression of climate change in the same year that recorded the coldest UK December since 1890”.

The BNP Scottish manifesto uses the tactic of linking opposition to wind farms with climate change denial, alleging in its section on ‘Global Warming’ that “huge expenditures on inefficient wind farms, to the detriment of essential winter services, have cost lives on Scottish roads, and caused the death of thousands of Scottish pensioners from hypothermia”.

Of course, being a political manifesto, it was also devoid of any supporting evidence to substantiate these dubious statements.

The UKIP Scottish manifesto was even more vitriolic about “wastefully-subsidised, useless, bird-killing wind-farms”, and promised to “spend no taxpayers’ money on the non-problem of man made climate change until a Royal Commission has heard both sides of the scientific case and has reported”.

The BNP’s Welsh manifesto opposed “the establishment of wind farms, which are inefficient blights on the landscape”, and claimed that “bogus ‘global warming’ is costing the UK £20bn/annum and hits the elderly hardest, with unaffordable fuel bills“.

Meanwhile, its manifesto for the English local elections promised to “end bogus ‘climate change’ expenditure on salaries and advisors (nationally, this is costing the UK £20bn/annum)“.

In Wales, UKIP pledged “no more wind-farms in [sic] the hill-side” and “a Royal Commission to investigate ‘global warming'”, while in England it promised to “ban new windfarms” and “to stop all payments to the IPCC and other UN climate-related agencies”.

Notwithstanding these ‘radical’ proposals, neither UKIP nor the BNP managed to attract much support in the elections. In England, the BNP won only two council seats, while in Wales it secured just 0.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent of constituency and regional votes, respectively. In Scotland, it won a paltry 0.8 per cent of regional votes.

UKIP performed little better, with only seven councillors in England and no seats in the Welsh Assembly, gaining just 4.6 per cent of regional votes. It did even worse in Scotland, with no seats at Holyrood after gaining a feeble 0.1 per cent of constituency votes and 0.9 per cent in the regions. This was a personal blow to Christopher Monckton, the eccentric climate change ‘sceptic’, who headed UKIP’s regional list in Mid Scotland and Fife.

Of course, it seems very unlikely that the explicit denial of climate change was a major contributing factor to the electoral failures of the BNP and UKIP. So despite these dismal results, it seems unlikely that UKIP and the BNP will ditch climate change denial. Both Monckton and the BNP’s leader, Nick Griffin, have a track record of voicing their ‘scepticism’, having previously claimed that climate change is a left-wing plot.

However, the results do highlight once again that the political proponents of climate change denial attracts rather less support from the electorate than ‘sceptics’ like to claim, and remains most zealously embraced by the supporters of fringe right-wing parties.