We have become increasingly used in recent years to being governed on the mushroom principle — our leaders keep us in the dark for most of time and occasionally allow us a brief glimpse of light while they shovel shit on us.
There has hardly been a better example of this in recent days than the outright mendacity that underpins what is laughingly called “energy policy”.
Readers of this blog (thanks to both of you!) will know that I am no great believer in the hypotheses of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, or CAGW as it is often known. While I have no problem with the global warming bit I am less convinced that much of it is anthropogenic and there seems no scientific evidence (that I have seen) that points towards anything catastrophic in the lifetime of anyone currently living.
That aspect has all the characteristics of a scare story and is being milked for all it’s worth by the alarmist tendency — mainly the green lobby and all the other fringe environmentalists whose main aim is to drag us all kicking and screaming back to the Stone Age. Or perhaps only as far as the 17th century which is just about as bad.
Unfortunately for us all the major political parties are signed up to this particular idiocy though quite on what grounds it is difficult to ascertain. What is not difficult to see is the effect this is having on the lives of ordinary people, most especially the poor and the elderly.
In my post last Christmas see here I used the phrase “heat or eat” as the lethal decision facing many old people (and not just old people — anyone on a tight budget could find themselves in the same bind) and with the chances of another “once in twenty years” winter just around the corner starting to look increasingly likely — making it the fourth in a row — there is no respite on the horizon, the more so since increasing energy costs have this month pushed the Consumer Prices Index to 5.2% with RPI at 5.6%.
Fuel bills rose by a staggering 18.3% in the year to September and anyone who thinks this is not going to push more pensioners into fuel poverty this winter (and kill quite a few of them probably) is not living in the real world.
And what are the government and the energy companies doing about it?
Well, basically, they’re telling lies. Or at best refusing to tell the truth.
Take a look at the five year price for natural gas. After a spike in 2008, the price is now little above where it was five years ago. So this would seem to put paid to the myth of ever increasing wholesale prices. But it’s not quite that simple. What the UK pays for its gas depends on a variety of other factors, not least the ability to take advantage of price fluctuations and, just as there are limits to how much the housewife can put in a freezer or larder, so the country is also dependent on storage space.
Which unfortunately it doesn’t have enough of which, being a net importer, means that the country is at the mercy of the market to a greater extent than much of mainland Europe.
So it looks as if a continued increase in the price of gas is inevitable.
But wait a minute.
In an interview with the BBC yesterday, British Gas MD Phil Bentley said (according to a report in the Daily Telegraph):
In my opinion unit prices will only go one way unless someone discovers huge amounts of gas and imports it into the UK. The international price for gas, I am afraid, is going up.
Which, I’m afraid to say, leads me to the inevitable conclusion that Mr Bentley is either a fool or a knave.
Because, as is now fairly common knowledge, a company called Cuadrilla Resources, prospecting in Lancashire, has discovered around 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, arguably enough to make the UK energy-sufficient (on the gas front at least) for at least the rest of this century.
If Mr Bentley is not aware of this then I can only conclude that he is a fool and if he does then his comment that gas prices will fall only if “someone discovers huge amounts of gas and imports it into the UK” marks him out as a knave. Perhaps he is only trying to preserve BG’s profits (as a good MD should) but I doubt that the old and the poor who are going to freeze this winter — and every winter to come — give a rat’s ass about BG’s profits.
And neither should this government which, with Cameron’s idiotic aim of being “the greenest government ever”, is at least partly responsible for the level of fuel poverty in the UK as it jacks up fuel prices in its insane assumption that windmills can ever make a meaningful contribution to anything other than the income of the lucky landowners (and that includes the PM’s father-in-law) who are happy to install these expensive and pointless monsters.