Suppose you were a Conservative leader hoping to win a stonking majority in your general election campaign, which of these two manifesto propositions do you think would win the most votes?
a) Our energy policy will remain in the clutches of a cabal of vested interests ‚Äì rent-seeking, crony capitalist shysters; green ideologues with junk-science degrees in Gaia Studies from the University of East Anglia; eco-fascist lobby groups and NGOs; compromised scientists with their snouts in the trough; goose-stepping technocrats; really, really, really dim MPs ‚Äì ensuring that the landscape continues to be blighted by an ever-greater-proliferation of shimmery solar panels and ginormous bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes.
We remain committed to the Climate Change Act which will cost the UK economy over ¬£300 billion by 2030, costing each household ¬£875 per annum; and also to the Levy Control Framework (LCF) which, combined with carbon taxes, cost the UK ¬£9 billion in 2016 alone. Then we’ll pretend it’s the fault of the greedy energy companies by hammering them with a price cap ‚Äì thus driving their share prices down (bad luck pensions and investors!), reducing competition and innovation, and signalling that we intend to be a meddling, interventionist government which has no truck with free market principles.
b) We want consumers and businesses to have the cheapest most reliable energy which causes the least damage to wildlife and the environment and which best guarantees Britain’s energy security. To this end we will scrap all market-distorting subsidies, declare a moratorium on renewables ‚Äì as well as white elephant projects such as the Hinkley Point C Radioactive Money Pit and the even more lunatic proposed Swansea Tidal Lagoon project ‚Äì and go all-out to exploit Britain’s superabundant shale gas reserves.
We will, furthermore, appoint a Secretary of State for Energy capable of explaining in ways even thick people can understand why it’s all OK, the baby polar bears aren’t going to drown, nor is Lancashire going to vanish into a crevice, nor are Britain’s gardens going to turn into deserts ‚Äì despite all that toss you heard from the BBC’s resident Old Etonian eco-loon David Shukman on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning.
Well personally I’m going with b).
What we’re going to get with Theresa May’s Continuation Cameron Conservatives, unfortunately, is far likely to be closer to a).
This is a terrible shame for a number of reasons. As a lover of the British countryside, I’m most especially upset about the ongoing Scotlandification of Mid-Wales with more and more ugly wind farms. If ever you needed an argument against devolved government, there’s your case made for you. The troglodytes in the Welsh Assembly who allow this kind of destruction to pass are not fit to run a bath let alone a Principality.
But it’s also sad for political reasons. Prime Minister Theresa May has a once-in-several-generations opportunity successfully and unapologetically to demonstrate ‚Äì without any credible threat from her excuse for an Opposition ‚Äì that conservative principles of small government, personal responsibility, and free markets are genuinely the best way of creating a fairer, more prosperous and freer society.
And she’s about to blow it.
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