JENNI MURRAY: Sorry Boris, we can't all afford green virtue signalling

JENNI MURRAY: Sorry Boris, we can’t all afford your green virtue signalling

  • Boris pledged to reduce UK’s carbon emissions by nearly 80 per cent by 2035
  • Critics have accused the Prime Minister of ‘shameless virtue signalling’ 
  • Jenni Murray shares experience of upgrading her home to necessary standard

Naturally, none of us wants to be responsible for the destruction of the planet, but the Prime Minister’s pledge to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by nearly 80 per cent by 2035 has sent me into something of a flat spin.

There is so much work to be done and so much money to be spent if we are all to comply with what will be required to meet the climate target. Critics have accused the PM of ‘shameless virtue signalling’.

It’s no surprise Boris leapt in early with his proposals, given today he’s attending President Biden’s first climate summit. Is he out to impress his fellow leaders and his eco-savvy fiancee?

Boris may be keen to leave a legacy of positive change, but how aware is he of the extraordinary cost to all of us of pursuing the world’s most ambitious targets?

Jenni Murray shares experience of upgrading her home, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) pledges to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by nearly 80 per cent by 2035

I have some experience of what a big job it can be to upgrade your home to the necessary standard. My brilliant engineer husband was on it early when our home was a 16th-century farmhouse in the Peak District. First came insulating the loft. The disruption caused by fixing the roof and keeping out draughts was significant.

There was no gas in such a remote area. Oil heating was the only option until he discovered the wonders of the air source heat pump. Installed some 15 years ago, it cost £11,000. I never did quite understand how it worked, but it sat outdoors and rather resembled a large air-conditioning unit.

It was described as working in the opposite way to a fridge. It sucked in cold air from the outside and turned it into heat.

Considerable adaptations had to be made to connect it to the radiators and hot water. More disruption. But it saved on the cost of oil and electricity and worked perfectly. We felt we were doing our bit.

Then we moved. We needed to downsize after the children were gone and it seemed to be a good idea to move south, away from the cold and wet of the North-West.

The new house is much smaller and there’s very little space outside. The gas boiler is relatively new and works well and the insulation seems adequate, but if oil and gas boilers could be banned in the next few years, maybe we’ll need to crack on with a low carbon boiler or even, if we can squeeze it into the garden, another air source heat pump. We’ll be talking at least £10,000 to get the standard of energy efficiency that’s needed.

Then there’s transport. Sales of fossil-fuelled cars, including hybrids, are set to be banned by 2030. I have a petrol Mini, my husband’s is also a Mini — diesel powered, bought long ago when we were told diesel was safer than petrol. That advice was a big mistake.

Jenni (pictured) said the pledge will cause considerable anxiety for the next generation and funding to help those who can’t afford it must be put in place 

A small electric car for pottering around locally is likely to cost £15,000. A bigger electric car which might get me from the coast to London without re-charging is currently priced around £44,000. And where are the charging points locally? I have no idea. Gosh what a worry it all is.

I’ll be 85 by the time the targets have to be met and we’ll do our best to manage, but it will mean considerable anxiety for the next generation. Funding to help those who can’t begin to afford it must be put in place.

Meanwhile, I’ll do what little I can. No more flying for exotic holidays. I hate airports and time on a plane anyway, so that’s easy. No more eating meat every day. Going meat-free two days a week will, apparently, cut the emissions from farming. But cutting down my milk consumption? No! Three quarters of a pint of skimmed each morning is vital for my two café lattes.

If I drop that I’d be green. Not the kind of green the PM intends, but green with fury. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Robert De Niro’s paying…

Robert De Niro has been forking out vast alimony payments to his wife, Grace Hightower, since they separated in 2018. Pictured: Robert and Grace

I have always wondered why a great movie star like Robert De Niro has made such terrible films as Dirty Grandpa or gruesome adverts for bagels and cars. It now turns out he’s been forking out vast alimony payments to his wife, Grace Hightower, since they separated in 2018. He’s 77. He works and works.

She’s 66 and spends and spends.

For goodness sake, woman, give him a break and get a job!

Nul points! But it wasn’t Abba’s Waterloo

Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus is still smarting at the nul points awarded to them by the UK jury for Waterloo in 1974’s Eurovision Song Contest. Maybe the UK was trying to give the best chance to Olivia Newton-John’s now forgotten Long Live Love.

Jenni said she’s seen the stage production of Mamma Mia ten times. Pictured: Abba in their heyday

The jury was wrong and Waterloo won. It was the best song in the contest and it’s understandable that Bjorn is still miffed.

It’s not his best song, but Mamma Mia, it set him on the road to success. I know. I’ve seen the stage show ten times and the film every time I’m fed up.

So, to all of you in Abba, all the points possible all these years on. Thank you for the music.

Why Call The Midwife is good for your health

I’ve often been teased for my attachment to Call The Midwife. ‘Oh, do we have to watch that?’ I’ve heard many a time. ‘A load of nuns on bikes going out to deliver babies. Sentimental claptrap. What’s the point?’

The point is it’s an enduring series about women and the real lives they have lived through the middle of the 20th century in the East End of London. It has never avoided the difficult issues of incest, thalidomide and, in the lastest episode, the dreadful experience of a former soldier, his wife and their stillborn infant. The baby was born without legs and it was discovered the father had been present at the Christmas Island nuclear tests a decade earlier.

The series is tough, gentle and kind. I don’t know how they manage to film the actors seemingly giving birth, but I know they borrow real new-born babies from a nearby maternity hospital. Nevertheless, I can’t watch any of those ‘pretend’ births without a tear in my eye. Long may it last.

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