Toby Neal: There are big green elephants in the room

£45K OTE.

It was advertised on the back of a truck I was following this week. I can't tell you the rest because it would have meant getting so close that I might have run into the back of the lorry, and then I wouldn't have got the job.

OTE, I have found out since, stands for on-target earnings. In other words, what you can expect if you meet your targets.

I'm pleased for the lorry drivers that they are getting paid what they are worth.

But there are a lot of elephants in the room, big green ones.

Lorries are virtually all powered by planet-destroying diesel, so is not driving lorries off the road a green gain? What is Greta's view?

The crusade to save the planet is throwing up a lot of contradictions.

It raises the question of whether things that are being reported as bad news, causing empty supermarket shelves and rising household bills which lead to misery and hardship among ordinary people, should not instead be reported as triumphs in the battle against global warming, albeit accompanied by the sacrifices and compromises in our lifestyles that we are being called on to accept for the benefit of future generations.

This glimpse of the greener future is arriving unexpectedly early. We haven't had time to adjust.

Look at gas prices. They've gone up sixfold due to soaring demand. In a normal capitalist model if you can sell a lot of something it means you can bring the price down and gain competitive advantage, but energy is an anomaly in which it works in precisely the opposite way.

And as the UK is a producer which has all those natural gas rigs in the North Sea, why does that not make a difference and help insulate Britons?

On the other hand gas is a planet-destroying fossil fuel so I imagine Greta thinks gas as a primary energy source is a bad thing, and if it is a bad thing soaring gas prices are a good thing. That's because they will apply economic pressure to force people and firms to find renewable energy alternatives.

A little while ago some energy chief, and if I could remember who it was I'd tell you, said something along the lines that energy was too cheap and we'd have to get used to more expensive energy. So you can't say we weren't warned.

The opening up of foreign travel, including now to America, is being reported in celebratory tones. But that is a green loss, with lots of jets criss-crossing the Atlantic. The green lobby wants to cut the amount of flying, and have all the airline staff found greener jobs, rather than facilitate more flying.

Carbon dioxide shortage, good thing or bad thing? Carbon dioxide is listed as a planet-destroying greenhouse gas, although a reader rang me this week to insist that it isn't, and is actually only a greenhouse gas in the literal sense as he said it is used in greenhouses to grow tomatoes and the like. I couldn't possibly comment. I don't grow tomatoes. We did once and it was more trouble than it was worth.

On the political front, Sir Keir Starmer has written a 11,500 word essay explaining what he's all about and his vision. You can read it for yourself, but I did have a skim.

Britain is at a crossroads, he says. He also says Britain is at a fork in its history. Sir Keir and Labour will find us the right path, he assures us.

So it seems that Sir Keir's pitch to the British people is along the lines of a famous quote by baseball legend Yogi Berra: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"

Talking about memorable quotes, there was one by Dominic Raab in the Commons this week: "Our plan is working."


It can't be long now before Toby Neal Day, which is my self-declared attempt to gain immortality by having a day named after myself.

TND is the day after which the ground never dries out until the following spring, you always, always, have to wipe your dog's paws after taking your pet for a walk, and after which you rue all those jobs you could and should have done while it was still dry and you had the chance, but will now have to put off for months.

Future historians noting the progression of global warming will plot the increasingly late arrival of Toby Neal Day, until at some point it does not arrive at all and we shall have dry autumns and winters.

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