Posted by: secretperson | December 9, 2007

Politics Show on Energy Policy

John Sopel on the Politics Show has just been talking to John Hutton, Labour’s Enterprise Minister, and his Tory opposite number Alan Duncan. Hutton was outlining a plan for up to 7000 offshore wind turbines. Now that works out at roughly one every half mile of coastline. I find it very hard to support a change that will change our beautiful seaside forever, but something is necessary.

Now I am a climate change sceptic. But John Hutton raised an important point, one that I have been hoping the government will recognise for years. Energy security. As Hutton pointed out, we should be worried about relying on a foreign power for our energy. Especially, I might add, when most oil comes from the unstable Middle East and Putin’s Russia, which would have no qualms about using it as a political tool. He also said nuclear energy must be part of the solution. We can’t be squeamish about the word nuclear, safe nuclear technology is one way to tackle a lot of ‘climate change’ (although I guess we still import uranium).

Alan Duncan, seemed to broadly agree, but pointed out the Tories emphasise micro-generation, turbines and solar cells on homes for example. This is also good, we need to reduce our need to change the countryside as much as possible. Reducing demand in this way is good. He also emphasised market solutions. However when confronted on meeting with Gazprom (a Russian gas company in which the Russian government owns many shares) Duncan stalled and looked awkward. He mentioned the mutual interest in us buying their oil, but Gazprom has already (allegedly) been used against Belarus. I’d rather we weren’t relying on it.

So, a rare win for Labour in my eyes (I am political party independent but normally agree more with the Tories). Unfortunately for Labour, Hutton was quizzed on party funding and came out with ‘recent events show we need change’. Maybe we need change, but all recent events show is that Labour broke the rules. Despite receiving £180,000 to train on new rules, they consistently broke the letter and spirit of the law. We broke the rules, this shows we need new rules, just will not wash.

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