"In July, housing minister Grant Shapps made what seemed to be a crystal clear commitment:
'This government are committed to ensuring that all new homes post-2016 can be zero-carbon.'
You might have twigged by now that what seems to be crystal clear and what is crystal clear are, in the kaleidoscopic world of Coalition politics, not quite the same thing. Slipped into the same statement was the following killer caveat:
'This will involve a flexible approach.'
Flexible, as you might also be aware, is a key Coalition term, a bit like partnership was under New Labour. It’s one of those sachets of lexicographical magic dust which, sprinkled over words or numbers, turns them into whatever you want them to be. The flexible spell is so powerful that, in just four months, it has transmuted that unreconstructed, old-fashioned figure 0 into a thoroughly modern, fit-for-purpose 56%."
- George Monbiot, Ground 56%, monbiot.com, 26 Nov 2010.