IT’S been another crazy week in British politics.

Just as Suella Braverman was sent packing, David Cameron, the disgraced former prime minister who brought you Brexit and the Greensill lobbying scandal was elevated to the Lords and appointed Foreign Secretary.

At PMQs, Labour MP Kevin Brennan asked Rishi Sunak to name Cameron’s finest policy achievement.

The Prime Minister's blushes as he attempted to answer were spared by the loud laughter that broke out on both sides of the House.

Then just as the political agenda was rightly dominated by the major foreign policy issue of whether to support a ceasefire in Gaza, Westminster was rocked by the UK Government’s comprehensive defeat in the UK Supreme Court over its Rwanda policy.

I’m looking forward to writing about that on another day but today I want to make the point that it’s a shame that this week’s news agenda has prevented a greater focus on the shocking absence of any policies or legislation in the King’s Speech to tackle the two biggest challenges the Government currently faces at home – climate change and the cost of living crisis.

As the debate on the King’s Speech continued in Parliament this week, a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that two million people across the UK have turned off their fridges and freezers as a response to the energy crisis.

Where's our green new deal, Rishi? 

It is a disgrace that so many cannot afford to pay their energy bills particularly in Scotland, an energy-rich country with so much potential.

With vision and a green new deal, the UK Government could tackle both the climate crisis and the cost of living crisis and transform the way our economy works so that it benefits everyone.

The phrase “green new deal” was first coined in the USA and advanced by politicians on the left of the Democratic party as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also tackling social problems like poverty and inequality.

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The Biden administration has gone some way to putting it into action with an industrial strategy involving the world’s most generous package of climate incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The National: Joe Biden

There is nothing similar in the UK and no sign of a plan for the much talked about "just transition".

Instead, the UK Government has a newfound enthusiasm for drilling the oil and gas in the North Sea.

However, oil from the Rosebank oil field will not increase energy security for the UK, nor will it lower our energy bills – it will be sold on the international market, and we’ll have to buy it at the same price as everyone else.

It will make the oil companies Equinor and Ithaca a lot of money, but UK taxpayers will pay for it.

The Tories would rather give tax breaks to oil companies than lower energy bills. The £4 billion that UK taxpayers will fork out to the developers of the oil field, would have been much better spent insulating homes as a start to lowering energy bills.

The Tories didn’t even bother to attach net-zero carbon conditions on the new field licence.

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There is no sign of them planning to do so for the future licences promised in the King’s Speech.

Of course, it is important that we protect the jobs created by the fossil fuel industry, but this should be done through a comprehensive and pragmatic just transition which values these workers' transferable skills and expertise.

Their talent will be a huge part of our renewable success going forward. Retaining that talent and addressing skills opportunities could make our domestic green energy sector a true global leader.

Remember when our oil was going to run out? 

What the UK Government’s newfound enthusiasm for drilling the oil and gas in the North Sea does make very clear is the extent to which Unionists were prepared to lie to win the 2014 indyref when they claimed that the oil and gas in the North Sea was running out. But we knew that anyway.

In Scotland the Common Weal policy think tank have produced some excellent work on what a green new deal would look like. During the pandemic they produced a comprehensive plan called Our Common Home – A Green New Deal for Scotland.

Their blueprint would involve a comprehensive process of public works, delivered by public bodies and paid for out of the public purse. It would cover energy, agriculture and housing and it could bring huge benefits of employment, prosperity, and skills.

The crucial thing to understand is that it is a plan not just for our environment, but for the whole of our economy and society. 

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One example of how it might work is in tackling the problem of the cold draughty homes in which almost all of us live. We need to insulate. Insulating new buildings is easy. The real challenge is retrofitting existing buildings. Common Weal argues that doing this could supercharge our construction industry.

And that it could be combined with a programme of transformative land reform to allow for reforesting to produce the wood needed for this construction work.

Reforestation done properly would also assist carbon capture and expand biodiversity.

Once the buildings were insulated, Common Weal wants them to be heated by district heating systems providing heating by a combination of solar, thermal and geothermal systems.

Inter-seasonal heat storage could be used to store heat from the summer for use in winter.

All of this would cost less and could feed into the grid much quicker than new nuclear power. It would also be a more communitarian solution than the individualistic focus on expensive heat pumps put forward by the Scottish Greens.

It would be a huge engineering feat, but other countries have done it successfully as Lesley Riddoch’s new film Denmark – The State of Happiness will show when it’s released. Like others, the Danes are now reaping the benefits. The journey to get there would create well-paid jobs and the results would be long lasting.

Tory MP Chris Skidmore’s report on net zero identified that "going green" is good for the economy as well as the planet but this sort of thinking was wholly absent from Sunak’s programme for government.

Of course, we should not be at all surprised that the Tory government has turned its back on the green agenda for perceived electoral advantage after one freak by-election result caused by Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the Ulez scheme to greater London.

Nor should we be surprised by the Tory government’s lack of care for those struggling because of the cost of living crisis.

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry has heard evidence about how during the pandemic privileged government figures could not comprehend the lives of the people for whom they were making decisions.

The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor are all very rich men. They will never need to make decisions like turning off their fridges or freezers to save money during an energy crisis.

Only an independent Scottish Government could deliver a new green deal for Scotland.

Meantime, we should be working on more communitarian solutions to the challenges we face. The Common Weal have some really well thought through ideas.

I am hopeful that the SNP government under Humza’s leadership will be more willing to listen to them than his predecessor.

So far as I can see they have a much more comprehensive solution to the climate crisis than anything put forward by the Scottish Greens.