Alex Phillips: With a winter of discontent looming large - we really need to talk about energy

07 Alex
Alex Phillips

By Alex Phillips

Published: 07/10/2021

- 15:04

Updated: 07/10/2021

- 15:34

It’s time to cough up even more to bail out a load of Mickey Mouse energy suppliers who couldn’t even run a jumble sale

I wonder how many of you can bring to mind the opening credits of Have I Got News For You since 2009. Part of the sketch includes a cartoon of a smirking Vlad festooned in stereotypical Ushanka hat, bony hands gripping a giant tap, cackling as he turns off the gas supply to Europe. For twelve years that animation has popped up on our screens on a weekly basis.

Well, today, it’s less funny when gas prices ARE soaring as Putin plays politics with the EU over a new gas pipeline he wants to supply manufacturing monster Germany, bypassing Ukraine to avoid slinging Kiev a wad of cash as punishment for the former Soviet satellite cosying up to Brussels in recent years. If Germany signs the deal, the prices will come down. That was the message from the Russian Deputy Prime Minister this morning.

So here we are, finally outside the EU and yet caught up in the backlash of its empire building. Why? Well the obvious answer is that for successive governments, our energy policy has been driven by greeny-assuaging platitudes instead of sanguine investments in technology to make us energy efficient. Theresa May proudly announced we would be rolling out fracking, getting our own gas out, enabling us to stick two fingers up at Moscow and potentially sell supplies to the rest of Europe too, bringing major money and major political sway to Global Britain which could have been used to invest in renewable technologies to export to the world.

But oh no.

Come 2019, fracking was already banned, with the Energy Minister, one Kwasi Kwarteng saying:

“Natural gas will continue to have a key role to play as we eliminate our contribution to climate change...however, that gas will need to come from sources other than domestic fracking.

"Today’s decision will not in any way impact our energy supply. The UK benefits from one of the most active gas markets in the world, with security ensured through diverse sources - including domestic offshore production, pipelines from Europe and liquid natural gas terminals.”

That hasn’t aged well, has it?

Turns out we had a piffling four days’ worth of gas storage compared to the Netherlands with nine times more, and Germany, 16.

Then of course, David Cameron was a huge proponent of wind technology, with his father in law getting over a quarter of a million pounds every year to stick bird blitzing turbines on his land, a model replicated across the UK with wealthy landowners piling up cash from green energy levies costing you around 200 quid a year on your fuel bills.

But guess what, the wind didn’t blow much this year so you, dear reader, are out of luck. It’s time to cough up even more to bail out a load of Mickey Mouse energy suppliers who couldn’t even run a jumble sale. Well that’s ok because we’ve been ignoring the CND Marxists and have been developing massive nuclear power plants across the country which will power the vast majority of homes and businesses, right? Ah well, it was all good and well with the UK planning to build at least six new giant nuclear power plants, but three have now been cancelled, leaving only the ones some bright spark decided the Chinese Communist Party could build, which in the light of pretty dodgy behaviour, is now unconscionable.

If you really want to have a good laugh about it all, just as we could potentially fall down the wormhole into 1974 and into a three day week, we are also hosting Cop26, right here in the UK, to lead the planet on how to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

"And this, fellow greenies, is how we save the world!" Boris will bellow from the stage, as the last neon striplight flickers to nothing plunging an aghast auditorium into darkness. A solitary clap echoes around the silenced hall, as Greta’s spooky little face is underlit by the flame of a vegan candle like a scene from The Conjuring. All those giga factories churning out giant batteries might be quite hard to run without power, but seeing as Dominic Raab wants to introduce chain gangs of cons to litter pick, perhaps he can instead turn prison exercise time into powering a giant hamster wheel to keep the lights on?

It all adds up to a short-sighted, futile energy policy, which can be blamed on successive Ministers largely cowing to jute-wearing eco warriors who seem to be scared of every source of heating other than layering up mismatched charity shop knits and growing enormous facial plumage.

With a winter of discontent looming large, today, we really need to talk about energy.

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