Bill Carmichael: Welcome voice of sense on ‘green blob’

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HURRAH! At last a senior politician has finally plucked up the courage to tell the truth about the Government’s climate change policies – they are ruinously expensive, they won’t keep the lights on and they are deliberately designed to punish the poor and further enrich the wealthy.

In a speech this week, former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson criticised what he called the “green blob” of Ministers and civil servants who are blindly pushing forward the climate change agenda in the face of mounting evidence that it isn’t working and is driving millions more into fuel poverty.

Some of us, this columnist included, have been banging this drum for a number of years now. The only pity is that Mr Paterson waited until after he was sacked from government in the summer before joining the band.

Government policy, driven by well-funded environmental lobby groups, is to take money from the very poorest in society by way of “green taxes” on fuel bills, and give it to the rich in the form of subsidies for so-called renewable energy.

As a direct result of this, more than 31,000 mainly elderly people die every winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

So let’s be clear – poverty-stricken pensioners shivering over a single-bar of an electric fire are forking out so that fabulously rich people – including Jude Law, Mick Jagger and Gary Neville – can receive public money to cover their multi-million pound mansions in solar panels.

As Mr Paterson said, this is the “single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham: the coerced increase in electricity bills for people on low incomes to pay huge subsidies to wealthy land owners and rich investors”.

That is bad enough, but I am afraid it gets worse. The policy is not only regressive it is also failing in terms of improving energy security and reducing carbon emissions.

As Mr Paterson pointed out, onshore wind produces “paltry” amounts of energy and offshore wind power “is proving a failure” despite the enormous amounts of public cash.

Solar power “is a non-starter as a significant supplier to the UK grid and will remain so as long as our skies are cloudy and our winter nights long”.

Tidal and wave power is “too expensive and impractical” and burning biomass does little to reduce carbon emissions.

Using any criteria you care to mention the current policy is proving to be a miserable failure.

What we need is an urgent and radical re-think of our energy needs. The useless Climate Change Act and its entirely arbitrary and damaging targets should be scrapped. The punishment of the poor and subsides for the rich should stop.

We need massively to increase fracking to reduce our reliance on foreign gas from unpleasant regimes, such as Russia.

A combination of gas, coal and new nuclear plants should form the basis of our energy supplies for the foreseeable future with renewables making a minor contribution. The current policy is not just failing and plain wrong, it is also positively wicked because of the devastating impact it has on the most vulnerable in our society.

The naked truth

I MUST be getting old. I read the news and increasingly stories have me completely puzzled.

Take the current craze of people sending naked “selfies” of themselves to perfect strangers.

Honestly, what is that all about?

As a married man, I’ve been out of the dating game for a considerable number of years, but back in the Stone Age, when I was a lad, if you liked a girl you might try to chat her up with varying degrees of success.

My best mate always said that if 
you got her to laugh in the first five minutes you were on to a winner. 
Trouble is my wife has been laughing at me ever since.

If things went well, you might take her out for dinner or to the theatre or cinema.

None of this is particularly sophisticated, but it is charm itself compared to modern mating rituals.

Today it is a case of “Oh hello, nice to meet you – and here is a picture of my wedding tackle”.

Are the girls impressed? Wouldn’t they prefer a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates?

Utterly baffling!