David Cameron has been accused of allowing a secret rightwing agenda to flourish at the heart of the Conservative party, as fallout from the resignation of Liam Fox exposed its close links with a US network of lobbyists, climate change deniers and defence hawks…
For months we have been running pieces on how shady funding networks from hard right American anti-planning and anti sustainability think tanks have been influencing bodies such as the Policy Exchange, which originated many of the dodgy ideas behind the NPPF and how alumni of the the Policy Exchange have entered into high levels of government to drive this agenda through. The Observer reports:
Fox’s organisation, which was wound up last year following a critical Charity Commission report into its activities, formed a partnership with an organisation called the American Legislative Exchange Council. The powerful lobbying organisation, which receives funding from pharmaceutical, weapons and oil interests among others, is heavily funded by the Koch Charitable Foundation whose founder, Charles G Koch, is one of the most generous donors to the Tea Party movement in the US. In recent years, the Tea Party has become a potent populist force in American politics, associated with controversial stances on global warming.
Via a series of foundations, Koch and his brother, David, have also given millions of dollars to global warming sceptics, according to Greenpeace.
Labour said it wanted to know how, in 2006, when David Cameron travelled to Norway for his famous photo opportunity with huskies to promote his new-look party’s “green” policies, his senior colleagues were cosying up to US groups that were profoundly sceptical about global warming.
Indeed the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), funding Foxes government within a government has proposed a model bill which :
would repeal ALL land use planning and zoning for rural counties by both county and state governments. Under this bill, property could be used for any purpose, without regard for single-family, agricultural, or industrial zoning, or environmental land use restrictions.
This would prevent a local government from controlling development, from choosing to support small businesses rather than big-box retailers, from limiting certain businesses — like nude bars — near residences or schools, and would prevent local governments from keeping polluting industries out of their community.
Without zoning laws, neighbors who were concerned about a particular property would have to bring individual lawsuits to protect their rights against nuisances like smells or pollution from factory farms. They would not be able to act democratically to set rules for zoning in their towns. Land use could only be restricted by contracts — but not restricted in perpetuity — which would require individuals to spend their own money to protect community interests, thereby putting community growth in the hands of the wealthy few.
Indeed High Wycombe MP Steve Baker advocated precisely such a contracts based system at this years conservative party conference.
The Koch brother who fund the ALEC, together with fellow climate change deniers Exxon, also provide large scale funding through the Cato institute, who through funding of the Europe wide conduit known as the Stockholm Network also fund the Policy Exchange, as well as one of the few other ‘think tanks’ backing the NPPF the Adam Smith Institute.