Yet, if you advocate improved energy efficiency standards, but leave your TV on standby; if you advocate better public transport, but drive everywhere; if you support any policy to do something about environmental problems, but don't engage in sufficiently proportionate self-denial, then it seems you are a hypocrite.
When the European Commission announced plans to improve vehicle fuel efficiency, some of the British journalists responded by asking the commissioners what car they drove. That answer - none of your business, what does that have to do with anything - would not be heard from a British politician.
And yet if the commissioners were hypocrites, so are the people who eat turkey twizzlers or fail to donate extra money to the treasury.
We are not, after all, talking about preaching to people. Yes if you preach a 'don't drive' message and drive yourself, that is hypocrisy. But preaching is the job of pressure groups not politiicans. Politicians should do what the people tell them to do and not the other way round. Governments certainly shouldn't be spending taxpayers money preaching at those same taxpayers.
I don't care what my MP or PM eats, drives or how he lights his home, I care what his policies are.
And yet environmental preaching is expected everywhere - it threatens to make prigs of us all.
I suggest that the innapropriate politicisation of enviornmental preachiness is causing considerable damage to the clarity of thought that environmental policy might otherwise enjoy. While not using standby or plastic bags are good suggestions, they would be bad laws. With the preaching in focus inevitably the kinds of policy measures that come to mind are micromanaging. It might be tolerable if so many of the measures didn't have such trivial impacts. And that is before we consider any unintended consequences - if you ban one behaviour people may find an alternative that is even worse. You might ban standby, but the TV can still be left on.
The policies that will make a big difference to the environment don't involve micromanagement: Generate lots of renewable energy, build efficient buildings with amenities within walking distance, make the polluter pay with a simple upstream carbon tax. I will vote for that whatever the candidate drives.