By Ruth Davis | 09 October 2011, 16:55 BST
George Osborne's speech to the Conservative Party Conference today hit a lot of bases.
It was childishly boastful, claiming victory for his department earlier in the year in a row over higher UK climate targets, when in fact he and his officials were very publicly overruled by David Cameron.
It was embarassingly inaccurate, contradicting the government's own analysis that hikes in fossil fuel prices, and not green policies, were to blame for recent rises in energy bills. There was no 'green government' in Osborne's speech today. None at all.
But above all, it was willfully ignorant - it was a speech in which dogma replaced evidence, and a rag-bag of vulgar prejudices was offered up in place of a credible policy on economic recovery.
Unfortunately, this is becoming a familiar pattern of coalition policy making, as the same Treasury officials who brought you the banking crisis, spell out their own unique recipe for increased growth.
There is no evidence that weakening the planning system, allowing retail parks and luxury homes to be built over greenbelt, woodlands, allotments and playing fields, will deliver economic growth. But there is lots of evidence that it will degrade the quality of life for thousands of communities all over England; and put up carbon emissions. Yet a radical assault on planning policy is coalition dogma.
There is no evidence that raising the speed limit to 80 mph will deliver a net benefit to the UK economy, but there is lots of evidence that it will increase the risk of death on the roads, increase the pressure on our emergency services, increase air pollution, and drive up carbon emissions. Yet the Conservatives have just promised a consultation on putting the limit up.
There is no evidence to show that tough climate targets have driven businesses out of the UK. But there is lots of evidence to show that new jobs would be created, and new investment secured, in home insulation, renewable energy technologies, and the construction of low emissions vehicles, if the government gave a clear signal that the UK was open for green business. Yet George Osborne has just declared war on climate policies.
Today, the Chancellor made it clearer than ever, that he would back growth in any colour, so long as it's not green. The tragedy is that whilst he might succeed in inflicting irreversible damage on our countryside, wildlife, and the climate, he has no evidence whatsover to suggest that in doing so, he will create a more propserous economy.
Only someone possessed of a truly cultish zeal would continue to pursue such a policy of aggressive de-regulation, in the teeth of the evidence, and in the face of the catastrophe created by de-regulation in the banking sector. Yet spurred on by his coterie of High Priests inside the Treasury, it seems George Osborne has that zeal.
For the sake of our economic well-being, as well as the protection of the planetary life-support systems upon which all depend, we must hope that the Chancellor can stilll be brought to his senses by the Prime Minister. Otherwise, we are facing the fight of our lives - a fight to guard the legacy of environmental protection and ambitious action on climate change, which is one of the proudest acheivements of our generation.