Farewell the age of reason, welcome the idiocracy. Only George Orwell could have invented - and named - the government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) that came into operation yesterday. It is the latest in a long line of measures intended to ease the conscience of the rich while keeping the poor miserable, in this case spectacularly so.
The consequences of the RTFO have been much trumpeted on these pages. It says enough that one car tank of bio petrol needs as much grain as it takes to feed an African for a year, or that a reported one-third of American grain production is now subsidised for conversion into biofuel. Jeremy Paxman pleaded the cause of this latest green wheeze on Monday's Newsnight, while the United Nations food expert, Jean Ziegler, screamed for it to stop: "Children are dying ... It is a crime."
The transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, said this week: "The government has consistently stressed that biofuels are only worth supporting if they deliver genuine environmental benefits." Yet she must know that, at present, the opposite is the case. Kelly pleaded that rescinding her policy might impede investment and "weaken our influence over the direction of EU policy". She did not mention biofuels' threat to rainforests, food self-sufficiency and global warming generally, through needing costly fertiliser and road transport. Nor did she mention the role in her decision of such lobbies as the British Association for Biofuels and Oils, and the National Farmers' Union.
Once again, the "progressives" are keeping their streak of being wrong on the side of history a perfect 100%.
But you don't need to be a bitter, gun and god clinging, hillbilly to know that.... you just need some common sense; something "progressives" appear to lack.