2% of people are officially stupid

2% of the public are officially stupid. That’s the only explanation for the result of a recent YouGov poll where 2% of people rate David Cameron’s government as the ‘greenest government ever’.  Or perhaps, by chance, there were 35 Tory MPs in the random sample across the GB population.

Given that David Cameron’s coalition government is only in charge of wrecking the English environment (broadly speaking) it would be interesting to know quite why the Scots and Welsh were asked the question but the results don’t suggest that it made much difference.

In contrast to the 2% who believe that DC is living up to his promises on the environment, 7% believe this is one of the least green governments ever (and I think that they are right).

Men are a bit more gullible than women about how well the government is doing, and the youngest age group (16-24 year olds) are more gullible than their elders, but social class (whatever that is) and geography don’t make much difference.

You have just over a week to cast your vote in the Nature of Harming ‘award’ poll where DC’s coalition government is doing very ‘well’ and the total number of votes cast is fast approaching 1000.


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6 Replies to “2% of people are officially stupid”

  1. I have looked at a lot of polls in my time and in my experience there is a residual 5% who either don’t understand the question, or answer in a provocatively contrary way just to amuse themselves.
    You could poll the public on whether babies should be left to fend for themselves and I would put money on 5% saying ‘yes’.

    When looked at this way, 2% is spectacularly poor…

  2. The majority of the public would not get out of bed to protect themselves from a government who looks after the rich and gives nothing to the poor. Where is Robin Hood!!

  3. I’m not sure how revealing this poll is as to those of us in tune with nature must surely rate Cameron et al as a very ungreen government. Indeed the recent history of Tory governments in terms of weakening the statutory agency Natural England under its various guises is almost a given. Fortunately with the aid of the internet and blogs like this we are able to shout out the truth but are we just preaching to the converted?

    One might think that we have some natural allies in this but both the shooting and fishing lobbies are far removed these days from the natural world by released game and fish, both damaging to the natural world plus of course their general opposition to native predators be they harriers or cormorants.

    Yes some of the population are stupid, even more are either uninformed or uncaring of the world around them. We need somehow to engage more of them.

    Whilst John has a point and one I agree with, Robin Hood is a fiction, sadly.

  4. David Cameron’s first action on becoming leader of the Conservative Party was to green the party’s image – “I made clear throughout the leadership campaign that the environment and quality of life are central components of my political agenda”.

    Indeed on the first day after his election as party leader he convened environmental leaders at the Barnes Wetland Centre and committed to ensure that environmental policy was threaded through the heart of every area of Conservative policy (Mark was there, so was I).

    The Liberal Democrats have always prided themselves as flag bearers for the environment, although we should not forget that in 2007 this led to complacency and the Liberal Democrats had fallen behind Conservatives and Labour in the quality of their natural environment policies:-

    Nevertheless, voters could be excused for thinking that a Government containing a mix of blue and yellow would indeed be, as promised, the greenest government ever.

    As we approach this Government’s second birthday the public is right to be woefully disappointed by the lack of progress with wildlife conservation and angry at the regression typified by:-

    • Defra and it’s Agencies taking the biggest proportional government budget cut;
    • The termination of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund having a big negative impact on biodiversity work;
    • The Defra/NE anti-species movement gathering pace – 85% cut in funding to conserve butterflies;
    • The prior failure of the Copenhagen Climate Change summit in 2009 made the new Government’s job much harder, but domestically reductions in funding supporting solar power, measures to reduce petrol costs and a shift towards gas power are worrying;
    • Public stances on badgers, neonicotinoid pesticides and ragwort showing a frightening disregard for ecological science;
    • The refusal to regulate away the destruction of peat-bogs despite overwhelming support from NGOs, and industry;
    • Aggressive anti-environmental statements by the Chancellor;
    • The unnerving Red Tape Challenge, that has wasted vast amounts of that scarce and precious resource – conservationists time – and remains an axe of unknown proportions hanging over environmental regulations;
    • The Natural Environment White Paper and England Biodiversity Strategy being most notable for their move away from targets for fixing biodiversity, and the paucity of new commitments or resources;
    • The process of designating network of Marine Conservation Zones getting mired;
    • The UK taking unhelpful positions in the EU relation to the EU Biodiversity Strategy and soil conservation.

    However, while this is an appalling catalogue, recently there have been some more positive indicators:-

    • Defra is taking a strong line on providing agri-environment funding through the CAP, against the wishes of other member states;
    • Richard Benyon (Defra Minister) does appear to be trying hard to make the fishing industry more sustainable;
    • The Nature Improvement Areas have captured some real big society type enthusiasm and if properly fostered and assessed in terms of outcomes for species and habitats could develop into an initiative that does significantly help our beleaguered biodiversity;
    • The review of the SSSI series committed to in the NEWP is critically important for biodiversity, most of which was not captured when the site series was established in the 1970s on the basis of birds, flowers and rocks.

    Most recently of all the Defra “Habitats and Wild Birds Directives Implementation Review” http://www.defra.gov.uk/habitats-review/ is a good piece of work and when implemented should reduce the conflict between Government and wildlife, and improve the consistency of regulation and the quality of work done by ecological consultants. Like much good work it tends to go largely unreported by the press, but the NGOs have been pretty impressed:-

    Caroline Spelman and Richard Benyon seem comfortably on top of their brief, Defra is making some political capital and other Government Departments are starting to take environmental and sustainability issues more seriously.

    Indeed I interpret the Chancellors statement “Environmentally sustainable has to be fiscally sustainable too.” as a retreat, it was not long ago that conservationists had to remind economists that sustainable development didn’t just mean economically sustainable.

    Perhaps we are starting to see the green shoots of an environmental recovery?

    All eyes now turn to the National Planning Policy Framework out on Tuesday, will this be a step towards or away from environmental sustainability, and in particular will Government have reacted maturely to calls to protect green spaces, or will it give the disappearing wildlife dependant on Open Mosaic Habitats on Previously Developed Land a kicking in response to the hard time Eric Pickles and his team have been given in the national press?

    Watch the wildlife sector’s red lines on the NPPF here:-

    Matt Shardlow
    Buglife CEO

  5. A great account, Matt – just one thing missing, the attempt to sell the Nation’s forests. This remains important because the Independent Panel is still running and if it’s final report lives up to the spirit of its interim report it has the potential to deliver a sharp shock to the Government’s drift towards environmental vandalism.

  6. Deliberately didn’t mention forests, Rod. It was not clear at the time that taking forests out of government ownership would have been bad for biodiversity, it would have depended how it was done. As you indicate the political heat and close call for the FC has the potential to create a better national forest estate for wildlife. We shall see…..

    See more of my comments on the forest sell off proposal here:-

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