Agents of State

Wasn’t Caroline Flint at the same game as the Tories? Strange how Labour have become Conservative clones in their approach to a social progressive democratic movement to return power into the hands of the people. Vote against Us and we’ll retaliate, was the message. Forget the Union and hundreds of years of friendship.  If you mess with us, we’ll buy energy from the French instead even if it’s dearer…so there. The French are England’s traditional enemies but when it comes to saving the British state, they’ll work with anyone. We drop to the bottom of the pile.

I do wonder how some of these self-appointed bullies would react to the same treatment. After all wasn’t Caroline the woman who stood up to Gordon Brown and refused a job or something they see as important in Westminster? She wanted more women in Cabinet, I think. She clearly didn’t understand Gordon. So she’s sparky and defiant when she has to be. Perhaps she should ask herself what would her reaction be if the Scots announced we wouldn’t be exporting any more of our energy to England and they could suffer blackouts because we didn’t care about them since they introduced the bedroom tax, or some other reason. She’d shrug and say OK, would she. I’ll fall into line Scotland. Sorry, should have realised I was upsetting you. Won’t happen again.

Or would the same lady say: Fuck you. Don’t tell me what to do. Who do you think you are, threatening me? Probably adding for fun: You cheeky jocks.

What we are dealing with in all these incidents including Bob Dudley or Bo Didley as I now call him, is an attitude problem. It has removed the film of doubt over the overweening sense of importance and, worse, the superiority of the British state and its self-appointed agents in the media. They are Us and we are Them. Thus Matt Frei on Channel Four demanding to know from Swinney why “WE” should pay to bail Scotland…not the rUK, but “US”. Thus Flint saying it is “OUR” money, “OUR” subsidy to you. “WE” can remove it and give to someone else. “WE” control you. “WE” hold power and there is no distinction between Tory and Labour in their perceived overlord position, Miliband, Balls and Flint doing a Flashman just like Osborne, Hague and May. Everyone as self-unaware as each other, talking down to those they pretend are their oldest friends in the greatest Union in history.

Again her threat was gobbled up by the media, a quick Up Yours, jock and a two-sentence reply from the Scottish government tagged on the end where nobody would bother reading. I think that’s why my former colleague Haley got into bother trying to deal with Fergus Ewing on GMS. He sounded like he was strapped to a wind turbine receiving jolts of electricity every second. But what he did brilliantly was to point out that this isn’t a quick one-two of a story, it’s a complicated tale of interconnectedness and shared markets and needs and Britain’s green credentials. Forgive me but this was what the programme needed, an explainer about how the power generation and distribution in the UK works and how it is likely to work after a Yes vote. You play that and then you tell the audience what Flint is saying and get Ewing to respond. Ewing’s point is simple…that we have a power line supplying our neighbours with energy they can’t as yet generate themselves and because it comes from renewable sources, it counts towards their carbon reduction targets. It’s a double whammy for them and a win for us. Flint may not be happy at the thought of independence but her duty will be to provide the best value services for the people of rUK and to say otherwise is vindictive, small-minded nonsense. Instead of the media setting up a sane informed debate, we get flint threatening and Ewing patiently having to say why she’s wrong. Poor Haley couldn’t get a word in. The programme should have pre-recorded a package explaining the complexities of the energy arrangement and what the implications of the Flint thesis were. And why is Labour happy to subsidise French and Chinese nuclear companies for 35 years at inflated prices when they would pull the plug on a green deal with their friends in the North? Be afraid, Scotland…be very afraid.

I am increasingly convinced that this hectoring, patronising word slurry is failing and is counter-productive. The trouble is…they can’t stop. It’s who they are and it’s what they really think of us. 

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42 thoughts on “Agents of State

  1. What is becoming apparent is something which was always below the surface until now, that the BritNats have never considered us as equals and have always thought that they colonised us.
    This gives them the right to bleed us dry whilst also slagging us off since they despise us for being colonised.
    Is there any other country in the world that would allow this to happen -do we have no pride?

    The worst of the worst are of course the enablers in Westminster and Holyrood – ie the 3 unioinst parties who we pay to trash our country and excuse the insults that fly our way.

    Does anyone understand their mindset- we have to get away from this poison.

  2. macgilleleabhar

    “It’s who they are and it’s what they really think of us.”
    Just remember we are upstairs in Downton and you Jocks are very much downstairs is the message I get.
    As for electricity we would probably have a more ameniable customer base in selling through the Peterhead Interconnector or using it all ourselves in modern manufacturing.

  3. I’ve no idea if that is Fergus Ewing’s usual style of dealing with the hectoring of interviewers but I was cheering him on this morning. Caroline Flint was as sparky a way to start the day as waking under a week-old halibut.

  4. To be fair (never thought I’d say that) on the John Beattie news show at lunch time he interviewed a guy from Shindler Electric (wrong spelling) and did try and get an expert opinion on this Flint story and Fergus Ewing comments and it turns out that over the medium term at least the rest of the UK do need our electricity and all the interconectors are designed to work that way. He also said the Scandinavian countries work a shared grid so shortages can be picked and continuous supply maintained and I think he said the prices were equal. Now theres a surprise!

  5. Tried finding the Flint / Ewing audio on-line. eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26045709

    Surprise: the audio disnae work….

    Anyone got a (working) link?

  6. Liberal use of the words “subsidies” peppered Flint’s diatribe in relation to Scottish renewables, which further underlines the laird/serf relationship which is the lot of Scots, who have made the great mistake of living and working in England’s last colony. She just could not get away from the mindset that sees a nuclear deal with China or France as an “investment”, but which regards Scottish green renewable initiatives as something requiring Westminster beneficence.

  7. Liberal use of the word “subsidies” peppered Flint’s diatribe in relation to Scottish renewables, which further underlines the laird/serf relationship which is the lot of Scots, who have made the great mistake of living and working in England’s last colony. She just could not get away from the mindset that sees a nuclear deal with China or France as an “investment”, but which regards Scottish green renewable initiatives as something requiring Westminster beneficence.

  8. In your piece above you finished with “I am increasingly convinced that this hectoring, patronising word slurry is failing and is counter-productive. The trouble is…they can’t stop. It’s who they are and it’s what they really think of us.”

    Take that along with what Ian Bell was saying in the Herald today:-

    “The FT, internationally respected journal of business and economics, told exactly the story Yes Scotland wanted to hear. Given its share of oil and gas, GDP per head in Scotland is bigger than that of France. Even without “the North Sea’s hydrocarbon bounty” per capita GDP is higher than that of Italy. Given independence, we would rank among the world’s top 35 exporters. “Subsidised Scotland”, “the £500 question”, oil price volatility: the FT analysis settled these matters. It also left the reader, partisan or undecided, to wonder why a remaining UK would refuse a currency union with a prosperous, export-led neighbour.”

    As the wheels come off “Project Fear” here is a wee “thought for the day”

    The gemme’s a bogey
    The men in the lobby
    Cannae make us toady
    …. Any merr.

    D’ye think mibbie Radio Scotland wid run that wanae these mornins.

    Mibbie it’s time noo tae gie thum a bit’a ridicule back efter aw, as their patter becomes ever merr ridiculous they might need a wee tap up a ridicule tae keep thum gaun….. tae oblivion.

    I think this approach would chime with ordinary everyday Scottish street humour and would totally deflate their establishment pomposity. Once folk stop taking them seriously and start laughing at them they are finished. Maybe we need to lighten up a bit.

  9. Super, can’t fault any of it!

  10. Who do they think they are? Flint cannae light a fire. Bo Didley ‘Vacant coupon’ Brilliant.

  11. We are seeing signs that the Project Fear campaign is backfiring big time and I suspect that Westminster and their lackeys in the newspapers and BBC have decided to go for broke with a scorched earth policy because they realise their game is up.

    The signs of panic are all there within Project Fear e.g. Willie Rennie’s laughable intervention yesterday suggesting there could be a cast iron agreement forged amongst the Westminster parties to give Scotland much more devolution – aye that’ll be right.

    What Project Fear don’t appear to have realised is that voters are now constantly asking themselves why it is that Westminster is fighting so ferociously to keep Scotland in the union if Scotland really is the basket case that Project Fear claims it is, and they have come to realise that it can only be because Scotland is too valuable economically for Westminster to give up without a ferocious fight.

    More and more former don’t knows I have spoken to have finally worked out what Westminster and its lackeys in the newspapers and BBC are up to and i can tell you they are very angry about it.

  12. This is a reply to an email from Ann McKechin EU membership where she begins by saying “It would appear that your request follows a dialogue from a blog article by Derek Bateman written in a particularly strident style” I’ve gone off on a tangent to her but I couldn’t resist the following –

    Dear Ms McKechin,

    Thank you for your reply. I do not find Derek Bateman’s style strident but informative with a wealth of experience from his years interviewing politicians across the political divide. He is fair and reasoned to all political parties and can assure you that I come to my own conclusions. What I find infuriating is that the media does not provide all the facts and it has taken the internet to allow us voters access to the facts.

    Can I draw your attention to Freedom of Information documents released from the late 70s relating to the true value of the North Sea Oil. This revealed that Scottish Labour had lied about the value of the North Sea Oil saying it had little value and would run out soon. A BBC Radio 4 programme, buried on a cold January night in 2007/8 covered this. To my astonishment several Scottish Labour MPs went on the record stating that they had lied to the Scottish people about the value of the North Sea Oil for the good of the UK. If this was the one reason I voted for Independence it would be enough for me.

    Yours
    Anne Galloway

  13. Yes, Fergus Ewing was superb – raised the level of discussion despite the odds. Have a look at the National Grid Operational data. Currently about 1.3GW going Scotland to England and much larger North to South so the connections are there. France is currently exporting about the same nuclear to England. Which will be completed first, the Beauly-Denny or the Somerset nuclear site – no race really as to which the SE of England will need.

  14. But are they? Is the citizenry coming to realise that Better Together lie and dissemble on a daily basis, that the BBC is appallingly biased, that the Daily Record has less credible political output than the Bunty? Unfortunately, I don’t think they are.

    I hope that I am wrong, but it does seem that amongst the cybernattery we are preaching to the converted; the country at large has no concept of the bias, omission and misinformation. It may seem to those of us who frequent WoS, DB, NN etc that the message is getting out there but we probably represent less than 1% of the population – and even then that 1% are the aforementioned “converted”. It’s the cybernat equivalent of the Westminster bubble or for US friends “inside the Beltway”.

    What’s the answer? The BBC is actively campaigning against independence, the MSM are not going to do us any favours. I hope to hell that there are cleverer and better resourced people than me out there in the Yes campaign who have something up their sleeve because at the moment I think we are losing.

    It’s no’ fair, but it’s reality.

    • IG, just keep circulating Derek, NN and WOS and any other useful story via email, Facebook, Twitter or one on one to everybody and anybody you can.
      As Derek has pointed out, this is already working as evidenced by their increasingly strident language and reaction. The more bitter and mean and nasty they become will signal the effect we’re all having. At some point some of them are going to panic and break to save their own careers and credibility before its too late for them; then watch the panic spread.

      Remember Ghandi – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” !

      Be steady and keep pushing forward; they will crack, nothing is more certain!

    • I’m afraid I agree with you, I G. If all you watch is BBC Scotland, Sky or STV and all you read is the trash put out in the Record, Sun and others, how on earth are you going to get any facts on which to make a reasoned judgement. No Better Together UKOK are a shambles, but if the No side wins in September, the papers are TV and radio will all be able to trumpet proudly “It’s the Sun/Record/BBC/… wot won it”.

      • But people are not islands. They may not be immersed in politics but the debate is currently and frequently coming to a hall etc. near you.
        There is talk in the supermarket queue, at the post office and picking up kids at schools. It’s coming!

  15. I’ll tell you what we do… sell our energy in bulk to the French at a competitive rate, the French can use what they want and any left over, they can mark up at a premium and flog to London. We stay out of competition with our French friends and its win win… nearly… all round. 🙂

  16. England is currently in deep doo doo as far as electricty supplies go.
    Without power from Scotland they would be having regular shortages and consequent outages. Their VERY expensive nuclear programme is years away from coming on line and they are hoping to plug the gap with electricity from gas powered stations.Of course,should we vote No,we will be saddled with these costs as part of their better together agenda.
    The EU strategy is to interconnect individual state grids so that power can be shared across the whole community,bringing electricty from solar power in the Sahara and renewables from NW Europe.
    Cheap shale gas from the USA is temporarily making renewables look expensive but that will change.
    Recent flooding in England demonstrates that the effects of climate change are real and underlines the 99% certainty in the global scientific community that man is responsible (despite what Owen Patterson thinks).
    Burning fossil fuels to produce electricity is going to become more and more expensive as governments wake up to the costs of infrastructure damage repair caused by climatic events i.e. gas may look cheap now but will not be so in the future once carbon pricing starts to bite.
    That will leave England in a very difficult place without access to Scottish renewables.
    I am sure there will be a push from the EU to complete the interconnectors between Scotland and Norway and possibly other places in the near future and should England decide that it doesn’t want our energy,there will be other markets for it.
    The story being told by ignorant Westminster politicians will change soon after independence,we can expect to hear statements more in the way of “what good friends and neighbours we are” etc etc.
    Great stuff Derek,thanks.

  17. Was there not recent talk of a Scotland / Scandanavia interconnector?

    We are not bereft of business partners. If Westminster want’s to cut off it’s nose to spite itself we can sell elsewhere.

  18. Oops bringiton, just repeating what you had already said 😦

  19. Driving to Dumfriesshire this morning, I heard Flint and Fergus Ewing’s reply. Driving back, the Flint piece was on the news at 3pm, but without any reply from Ewing. Looks like the BBC bias continues despite Dr.Robertson’s research.

  20. It is particularly galling to have a representative from Westminster lecture us on energy policy.

    Let me explain.

    First regarding on shore wind turbines. The tolerance shown by Westminster to the NIMBYism prevalent South of the Border is nothing short of an international disgrace. Countries like Germany and Spain, would rip your arm off if you offered them the kind of on shore wind power potential which England has, but does not use. The situation has been described by leading European technologists, as being ‘like a Saudi Arabia that refuses to drill for oil’.

    Perhaps some figures(admittedly 2 or 3 years old) might illustrate what I’m talking about. Let’s look at some of England’s nearest neighbours. We are going to look at installed on shore wind capacity. To take into account the varying population size of each country, we will look at the installed capacity per every million people in the country.

    Scotland 417 megawatts per million
    Germany 358 megawatts per million
    Ireland 462 megawatts per million
    Denmark 564 megawatts per million
    Spain 449 megawatts per million

    But for England we have a glorious 15 megawatts per million. No that is not a typo, ‘fifteen megawatts’.

    The SE half of England, taking a line just South of the Wash westward across to the Welsh Border and then southward to the English channel, an area containing just about half England’s population, is even worse, where there is virtually nothing beyond token wind turbine presence. Two turbines in Essex, another two just west of Reading. The only wind farm worthy of the name is as far South as they can get it right on the Kent coast. (Where the French can see it).

    That is why we get comments of exasperation from our European partners.

    We all know that most folk are not keen to have wind turbines in their backyard, but in a spirit of ‘doing their bit’ most people accept it as something that needs to be done for a common cause, even if they don’t like it. So what is different about SE England? Too picturesque a landscape perhaps? I would have thought anything which broke up the monotonous flatness would be welcome.

    Whatever the reason, the SE of England does not mind importing electricity from all the areas around it which do have wind turbines, and it needs to. As long as it doesn’t need to do its bit for the climate. Green and sceptred Isle and all that.

    But now we have Ms Flint telling us that not only must we put up with the turbines and extra pylons required to carry the electricity Southward, but we should pay for the privilege as well, and mind our bloody manners when we pay.

    Also, the off shore wind projects (they don’t mind them) which are planned will produce electricity at twice the cost of equivalent on shore capacity. That policy will result in an unnecessary hike in future leccy bills just to keep Mr Angry of Surrey happy.

    Similar story for their new nuclear plant, where they have contracted to pay back unit production costs about three times more than that which the Germans agreed for their last ever nuclear plant commissioned a couple of years back. Or about twice the unit cost of on shore electricity production from wind.

    Smart, real smart.

    It really makes you wonder just what kind of fantasy bubble they live in.

    Doesn’t stop them putting us right though does it?

    • Chicmac – if you’re making the comparison, you also need to factor in population density. England (all of it, including the more sparesely populated northern reaches) is now the most densely populated country in Europe (with the single exception of Malta).

      As the industry guidance (confirmed in Scottish Government planning guidance) is not to put a turbine closer than 2 km to a settlement due to the noise pollution, that does cut down on availability of sites.

  21. Here is a response I gave to an article in the Telegraph today when I was accused of ranting, it allies with the articles sentiments:

    You have to understand the simple economics of psychology.

    The attitudes which are pervasive on commentary boards, social media and indeed much of the media, maintain the backdrop which England has developed.

    This psychological elevator music amounts to a sneering sense of superiority.

    One cannot argue a logical case with this backdrop. Coming in with self respect and vigour (which you determine as ranting) shakes people ultimately into a mode of greater respect.

    If I simply engage in argument and ignore the backdrop, I am doomed to fail as no argument will be found acceptable as the opponent already assumes the superior position because ultimately one can always claim that any point is unproven and thus speculative and as such the weight of opinion (from a psychological) perspective must go to the dominant.

    This is why devolution and listening to any kind of so called moderate voice is unwise (the former being a position where power can be retracted at any time and the latter merely the thin end of the wedge). We can listen to the moderate voice once we have our mandate and are thus in some notional (but not actual, due to my view that we will be financially and politically better off) parity.

    We have to look at the overall political history and we can see that we cannot trust any WM voice, MSM voice or the voices of those like yourselves who have been indoctrinated with the attitude I have recounted toward the Scots; their potential; views and capacities.

    But of course this psychological backdrop has an additional colour which is the factual matters at hand such as the spiralling deficit and the thick assets which Scotland owns. The central powers have the real figures at hand and will not release those. They must then use all power to stop Scotland achieving independence. All legal, economic, and practical matters are only detail. The fundamental equation is the question of asset value as this determines the resolution of all other matters.

  22. Well Derek, I suppose you’ve noticed the marked ramping up of the imbalance and the anti-independence stories since the UWS report? You’re not still trying to tell us this is inadvertent, are you? This is deliberate, and orchestrated.

  23. Morag, I have no idea of psychological terms or categories, but kinda understand and swing toward what Chris says @12.04 and also appreciate your Abdelbaset al-Megrahi article in the Scottish Review and wonder why our Scottish legal system is so stooopid – or, actually, lets openly say, complicit – and given that, what caliber of officials do we need to have, to protect Scotland’s interests after independence – are we covered, or could we be on the way again to the cleaners?

  24. Lord Flight, born with a silver foot in his mouth. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    “I am rather fed up with the Scots . . .ultimately I support the Union as a primary pillar of English policy for over 400 years”.

    Can’t find the quote source right now but will add if I can edit.

  25. The Scottish Legal system was infiltrated by Unionists – Tony Blair, illegally.
    The Scottish Legal system was supposed to be guaranteed as separate forever, under the agreement of the 1707 Union. Nothing could change that. Same ‘Protestant’ Crown, separate Church (education).

  26. @ Chicmac Not sure about the Germans ripping your arms off any more – have a look at Der Spiegel online. You’re right though, England will have noted the world weather systems and public opinion will be the driver to renewables or nuclear ( unless some new technology magically appears ) and the timeline with the latter is very lengthy.

  27. Scotland is a net exporter of energy. We run at a surplus.The woman is clueless in the extreme. But since when did the no side ever care about research. Whatever their agenda is they make up the story to suit it:”Both Scotland and Wales are net exporters of electricity, with England importing electricity from both countries and from continental Europe(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65841/7345-elec-gen-2008-2011-et-article.pd)

  28. I don’t think the renewables issue has been a high-point of the debate. Many don’t, or choose not to, understand the nuances of the situation.

    For a start, neither the Scottish nor the UK governments own electricity generation – it’s in private ownership, including the transmission network, and shareholders and investors will be a major factor, along with customers and governments, in ultimately dictating the shape of the sector.

    Currently we have a single market, and the “Scotland” sector is a net exporter of electricity, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t also import electricity at times ( http://www.jmt.org/news.asp?s=2&cat=Campaigning&nid=JMT-N10555 ). Scottish policy is to phase out nuclear and coal (unless carbon capture and storage is proven to work) and replace with renewables so we might expect a greater dependence on base load electricity coming in from outside Scotland to balance wind intermittency.

    The implications of independence for rnewables generation are currently being discussed behind the scenes, and I think the sense is that existing subsidy regime commitments will be respected but that future developments would be on a case by case basis.

    Anyone’s guess as to how that will play out. Danish companies (with lower ambitions than Scotland) are currently thought to export electricity at a loss due to having to trade on the continental spot market. But UK has entertained discussions to meet targets by drawing on Irish wind generation. On the other, other hand the renewables targets that drive the subsidy may disappear, so difficult to plan for: http://www.irishexaminer.com/business/eu-threat-to-case-for-wind-farms-255163.html

    • The planning permissions for the wind farms in Scotland were in place years and years ago. The only thing which has changed is the number of turbines (because of the greater capacity of each with technological development).

      The Science Committee in Westminster years before that, long before devolution, had concluded that they would not be acceptable in England.

      It is not, despite appearances, a Scottish government initiative. Although, like an ‘English Parish Council’ they did have the ability to prevent developments (e.g. Lewis).

      Westminster via the DTI and National Grid were in charge.

      Companies accept what is on offer.

      A certain amount of wind power is reasonable and morally responsible but only if there is a market for it domestic or elsewhere.

      But really, an independent Scotland would not actually need more than its own EGR.
      We have plenty other things to export.

      There is only going to be one loser in this Mexican stand off and everyone knows who is holding all the cards.

      The sensible renewables policy for Scotland is a mix of tidal and pumped storage. A conservative estimate for the Pentland resource puts it at about half of Scotland’s EGR. Tidal is not weather intermittent and is really an inexhaustible rather than a renewable.

      Even Westminster’s Science Committee many years ago published an open letter asking why this resource was not being developed.

      The Scottish Government have been instrumental, albeit with very limited funds, in kick starting it. Even though a small project was started at the very last gasp by Westminster/SG when it became clear that they were likely to lose the SGE.

      That is the way to go.

      Hopefully, if Cadarache goes as well as most physicists expect, full fusion and hybrids will both clean up the fission legacy and make energy politics a thing of the past, for a few thousand years at least.

      Technologists make a difference, politicians and bureaucrats only effect how much the implementation of that difference is slowed down.

  29. roddymacdonald2014

    Isn’t it strange how independent Ireland used Sterling for decades with nary a whimper from the UK (or Dublin) and it would be a disaster for both Scotland and the former UK if iScotland used Sterling. Now, Scottish independence would be a catastrophe for power generation in the territory of the former UK.

    Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea: Ireland to build ‘giant’ wind turbines to power UK homes

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21147279

    • Ireland adopted its own currency in 1928 (Irish Free State gets going in 1922) which was pegged to the pound at 1:1 – at least up until the 1970s when UK inflation made the relationship harder to maintain and Ireland joined the new European Monetary System in 1979. Interesting history of the commercial Bank of Ireland providing many of the central bank functions up until the creation of a central bank in the 1940s. Might be a solution for Scotland, though EU may prefer a central bank from the beginning.

      The Irish wind farm scheme is only a memorandum of understanding at the moment. The group are to report shortly on the feasibility of the plan, so no actual concrete poured.

  30. yerkitbreeks
    Maybe would have is more accurate.

    I suppose I was mostly talking about up till recently.

    You might find the following map of some interest.

    there are many points of interest on that map, but concentrating first on Germany, you can see that technically, their commercial potential for on shore wind is significantly less than that of England. Indeed they are just about on the commercial viability cusp between on shore wind and solar for their most cost effective renewables electricity production.
    And solar has performed rather well at times with up to 40% of Germany’s daytime electricity demand being met by it, occasionally, in the Summer.
    Not surprising then that renewables targeting there has been adjusted more recently with a significant drop in wind generation targets, and a commensurate increase in solar, in order to meet their self set overall target of 35% of EGR.
    The reduction has also been prompted by perceived risk, increasing concerns over the viability, technical and commercial, of off shore wind production and which has put up the credit costs for the required capital.

    Politically, Germany was, and still is probably, as you know, the most Greens influenced country, large country at any rate, in Europe. However the green support has moved from a more radical base to a rather more bourgeois one over the last 30 years, which tends to be more fashion fickle and, although I doubt they would admit it, more conservative by instinct.
    The Alliance-Greens also suffered their first serious reversal at last year’s election, losing about a quarter of their support. But, no doubt most of that could be down to the ‘recession’ backdrop, rather than changing demographic. Especially given the high green tariff driven cost of electricity in Germany relative to most other European countries.

    There has also been a reported rise in ‘nimbyism’ although it is rather unfair to describe it thus, given the commitment already undertaken in on shore wind power deployment there. ‘Nomoreism’ might be a fairer description.

    Basically my summary would be. Germany has picked most of the low fruit in terms of on shore wind but is concerned with the risk and cost of off shore, meanwhile solar looks more attractive, the backdrop being less support generally for green issues fuelled by economic considerations.

    However, they did what they have achieved so far, like everyone else has, the sane way. On shore first, then if at all off shore. England is (or was?) effectively doing off shore only which will greatly add to British bill payer’s electricity cost, as you can see from the map.

    Germany has also concentrated on shore wind in the low lying centres of population, avoided national parks and areas with more mountainous sheltered terrain similar to much of Scotland, for a mixture of aesthetic and commercial reasons. Again sanity prevails, unlike the UK which has done pretty much the opposite.

    And UK irrationality on energy is not confined to wind, as I said previously, the new nuclear build in England is a joke in regard to the contractually agreed production pricing when compared to the recent one Germany signed off. Another major leccy price hike for the future.

    And would Germany have ignored the tidal potential in the Pentland Firth and elsewhere in Scotland and the UK? I very much doubt that. If anything the UK government has discouraged that idea, something which IMV has been politically motivated.
    Just like the way they ignored their own independently sought expert advice which advocated sub sea cables from Peterhead to Norway and Peterhead to SE England. Instead they intend to run one from England direct to Norway. They even stopped the Scottish Government negotiating a cable with the Norwegians, issuing diplomatic warnings to Norway in the process.

    Other points of interest from the map. The two main factors which drive commercial viability is terrain and ambient wind speed, in that order. It can be clearly seen, from the distribution of dark red and purple on the map, the primary effect of terrain.

    The British Isles, including England and Ireland of course, is slap bang in the middle of the highest commercial wind power potential corridor in Europe, along with Denmark and Southern Sweden.

    Comparing Scotland and England. Scotland has a more polarised potential than England, again largely driven by terrain, from not commercially sensible at all in Highland regions to a few notably better regions (Galloway, Buchan peninsula, Lewis and Northern Isles). Over all, about the same potential.

    A real anomaly is Spain, which you can see should not really be into wind production apart from the far NW. But it is, and very much so. Only reason I can think of is the cultural programming via Cervantes’ Don Qixote which is so iconographic there that one wonders how much it makes nimbyist lambast against windmills a tough sell. Not sure I’m entirely being serious on that last point 🙂 but cultural iconography is a powerful thing.

    Even France, which we should recall has about 80% of its EGR generated by nuclear power, produces many times the on shore wind generated electricity per head than England does.

    To be absolutely fair to off shore wind production, since a large proportion of the capital investment costs are due to the foundations which need to be built, if these are done properly, it is possible that future generations of off shore wind turbines could also make use of them. Thus over the long term, off shore relative production costs from renewed or refurbished turbines would come down and because of the higher and more consistent ambient wind conditions at sea, might even, utlimately, be cheaper than on shore.
    However, this would require a time scale of several decades at least, so not a benefit the current generation of electricity bill/tax payers would ever see.

    On that basis some, especially strongly anti-wind, folk might think that the Westminster/local English authorities are just being sensible, just taking the ultra long view. But any such thought should be considered against their own pressing need for electricity production and their willingness for others elsewhere on these Islands to be bestrewn with wind turbines to provide it.

    Meanwhile, the more cynical amongst us are more likely to be thinking ‘Oh here we go again’ as the SE Bubbleites seem to have found yet another way to frack the rest of the country.

    The UK’s democratic process has been thoroughly transformed into a regionalist tyrrany.

    • I don’t think it is sensible to compare England with wind turbine installations in Spain or Germany – unless you also factor in population density. England is much more densely populated that either of those countries and that alone limits installation given noise pollution. After that you could factor in aesthetic preferences, blade flicker, environental disruption etc. which are more subjective.

      Germany’s renewable energy adventure is worth a whole blog bu itself. But points to note: electricity is only one element of power demand (transport and heating are both larger), the Germans (sensibly one might think) prioritised solar in the expectation that this would create an industry of the future – which Chinese producers have actually outperformed and eaten alive, and Germany’s carbon footprint is STILL increasing as it’s only sunny or windy some of the time. With the post-Fukishima phase out of nuclear, Germany is embarking on a programme of building coal-fired power stations…

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/researchers-alarmed-at-rise-in-german-brown-coal-power-output-a-942216.html

      The post-mortem on the German Greens suggests the high-tax and social spending, moving away from the core environmental message, killed off existing Green voters without winning any new ones. That, plus their paedophilia scandal, sealed their fate.

  31. Couple of things, England does have the highest population density (except for tiny anomalies like Malta) but how relevant is that? OK take Germany, England is approx 1.5 times the density but Germany has about 25 times the installed capacity per head, does it really change the argument?

    And, the other thing to realise is that population does drive the thing anyway. In terms of the amount of taxpayers wallets available to fund projects and too, in terms of the demand for electricity as well.

    Another thing is, if you look say, at Norway or Northern Sweden, the terrain is such that wind power is completely infeasible, so factoring in gross area, which is what you do by using population density would lead to a completely distorted assessment of countries like that so doesn’t make sense.

    If you calculated the area where wind power made engineering sense for each country, then that would mean something in terms of assessing how much of that countries’ potential was not being fully utilized, but that is bit of a a long and arduous task, and by and large the number of people living there usually does that job anyway since populations tend to inhabit areas in which wind power makes sense.

    But even if we did that, then I fear England would come out even worse because it has even more quality wind power potential than say Spain or Germany despite being a lot smaller in area.

    Per capita is a more sensible way to look certainly than population density.

    But I agree that in England’s case, because it has about twice the population it should (based on how much food and drink it produces) the per head figure is lower than it would otherwise be (European food and drink production over all is just about parity with what it needs).

    So you could argue that the figure be doubled to 30 megawatts per ‘head’ even if that were not reflected in a true cost per person.

    The basic point though, is that England is one of the best on shore wind power potential resources in Europe but is the most under utilized.

    • “Per capita is a more sensible way to look certainly than population density.

      ? Obviously not, otherwise we’d be saying Malta or Luxembourg were hoplessly slow at building wind turbine installations!

      • Are you denying that
        1. England has one of the best available on shore wind power resources in Europe?
        Or
        2. It is the least developed?
        Or
        3. If they installed on shore to similar levels as their neighbours instead of off shore, as they are doing, that that would save British electricity bill and/or taxpayers billions of pounds?

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