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Johnson wants to unite the country using his green agenda—but he can't have his cake and eat it

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Boris Johnson sees no contradiction between being right-wing and being green. At the book launch for volume three of his former editor Charles Moore’s Margaret Thatcher biography, he suggested the Extinction Rebellion protesters outside would do well to read the book – in which these “crusties” would learn that it was not Greta Thunburg but Baroness Thatcher who was the true green revolutionary.

Through the Government’s green agenda, Johnson hopes to shake off any remaining Brexit divides and forge a post-pandemic agenda. Greenery is the tool by which Johnson builds a bridge to Joe Biden and shows at the Cop26 in Glasgow in November how an independent UK retains and exerts influence on the global stage. He also plans to provide post-pandemic opportunities with the promise of green jobs.

But when it comes to No 10’s green agenda, there are several problems coming up the track. One is a push from some leaders to make Cop26 a virtual event. The larger issue, however, is how to get to net zero and take the public with you: in focus groups the vast majority of voters admit to having no idea what the term means. What’s more, when the issue of who should pay for the various measures comes up, enthusiasm for the agenda begins to wane.

Johnson is known for having an approach to politics that can be........

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