I can’t stop worrying away at Wogan’s nonsensical pronouncements about climate change. It’s unhealthy, I know. But almost a week ago now he was whining about a burgeoning industry in “global warming” (he hasn’t got the memo yet, clearly) that was, he complained, sure to drive his taxes up. It’s funny how millionaires worry a lot more about tax than most people I know: I certainly couldn’t tell you off the top of my head precisely what fraction of my monthly paycheque is sequestered as tax.
My employers have recently tried to tap into the vast reserves of money that Wogan seems to think green industries are siphoning off his hard-flanneled wealth. It turns out that, among all the promises, hope and applications, there isn’t actually a lot of hard cash out there. Someone somewhere you knew has managed to jump through a ten-page hoop for the first stage of EU funding, only to find an eighty-page hoop awaiting them after it; someone else might have heard that an electricity company is trying to greenwash its reprehensible behaviour by devoting a tiny fraction of its profits to something, but they haven’t been able to find out what. But broadly speaking, the sums people talk about are like urban myths, happening to a company that dealt with a company that dealt with a friend’s company a while ago and….
There’s comparatively little money in green technologies yet. Indeed, the money the government is spending on green initiatives is a fraction of that it’s spending on road widening alone.
Really, the old Terry should really be worrying about a far greater drain on taxpayers: the aviation industry. Tax breaks for that sector mean that plane companies, disproportionate consumers of fuel, pay no tax at all on that consumption to clean up after their mess. Hence we as taxpayers must make up the difference, assuming the money has to come from somewhere (which, broadly, it does). In fact, the greatest scandal in UK taxes so far this year might well be Heathrow Terminal 5, which is also coincidentally an unwanted environmental and organizational disaster.
Funny how the curmudgeons, the tax-whiners and the environmental industry would, if you looked at the figures, be in complete agreement about T5. Because you’d never guess if you only ever woke up to Wogan.