Friday 21st October 2016                 Change text size:

Tory speech archive returns to the web after brief disappearance

George Osborne 3

The Conservative party has returned a decade’s worth of pre-election speeches to the internet, including many promises on the subjects of green taxes and climate change, after criticism over their removal.

Tech website Computer Weekly reported last week that the party had erased all records of speeches and press releases from the years 2000 to 2010 – not just from its own website, but from the Internet Archive itself. 

However, the speeches are now publically accessible on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

A Conservative spokesperson had said that the move was undertaken to make sure their website “keeps the Conservative Party at the forefront of political campaigning.

Environmental campaigners, however, had argued that the deletion of the speeches was “like a criminal trying to remove their fingerprints.”

“What these speeches show is that the Tories once agreed that going green would mean lower bills for hard pressed families over time and a safer planet”, said Greenpeace energy campaigner Leila Deen.

“But since being in power, they’ve broken their promises and chosen to side with the big six [energy companies] instead.

She added, “[Chancellor George] Osborne is now running a concerted campaign to do away with green policies across the board. He’d do well to read back his old speeches – they helped win votes because acting on climate change and cleaning up our energy system matters to people.” 

Among the chancellor’s pre-election statements are “we cannot afford not to go green”, and “The Treasury needs to be at the heart of this historic fight against climate change. If we form the next government, it will.

In 2009, Osborne also said “it is a significant benefit of green taxes that they can be kept stable, and thus do not risk fluctuations in the marginal costs that could increase the total costs of mitigation policy.” 

More recently, Osborne has offered tax breaks to the fracking industry despite fears over its environmental impact and said that the UK should not lead efforts to prevent climate change.

Further reading:

A decade of Conservative party speeches disappear from the internet

Coalition’s green fatigue is a ‘betrayal of conservatism itself’

‘Sceptical’ politicians and financial crisis both factors in UK climate lethargy

Cameron’s keynote speech criticised by social enterprises and environmentalists

George Osborne: UK should not lead climate change fight

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