Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clegg Whispers Those Three Little Words

It may surprise regular readers to know that I actually quite enjoy it when the party launches another new energy policy. Not because they're good; I know full well they will be moronic, technologically illiterate and suffused with the very worst in pseudo-religious Church of EnvironMentalism dogma. Nevertheless, there is great humour value in our pontifications; rarely is so imbecilic a policy promulgated with such high-handed earnestness and faith in the one true way of viridism.

So I was fully prepared to leave today's press stunt well alone and was fully willing to give it nothing more than a cursory glance amidst the triple jump final at the Bird's Nest. But then my cursory glance alighted on three little words that were missing from the press coverage. Because despite the spin, the paper absolutely does not say that we want to make Britain energy independent by 2050. Instead, it adds a vital and, frankly, offensive caveat, because what it actually says is;

Britain needs to set itself an ambitious goal - to become energy independent within the EU by 2050.

Let's leave aside for a moment that by using “independent within the EU” we're cribbing lines off Plaid Cymru and ask ourselves one simple question.

Why on Earth would you need to apply that specific caveat?

I mean, I'm all for reducing our dependency on dictatorships like Russia and Saudi Arabia, but is it really necessary to define the world of stable democracies as being those countries that pledge fealty to Brussels? Haven't you just told the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and the rest exactly where they can shove it? Isn't such an attitude nothing short of despicable from the party that more than any other shouts its internationalist credentials to the rooftops?

What's worse, there's actually a lot to like in this policy. Neither Labour nor Tory has yet grasped that delivering even the renewables targest we have now will actually at some point require HMG to actively do something instead of going around telling everyone how nice it would be if somebody else did something, so to see us getting on board is very welcome.

But then it's all let down by the headline and the three little words. The real tragedy of it all is that, without the caveat, we could have put forward the first realistic energy independence policy of any British political party. For while the renewable dream we've put forward today is the worst kind of technologically illiterate bullshit, with Canada and Australia in the mix we could push on with a truly revolutionary nuclear-renewable mix that really would end our dependence on the Putins of this world.

The headline isn't wrong; we really do need the sort of technological revolution that mankind has so far only managed to fuel through the worst of wartime hatred. I fear however that it is not so much an Apollo that we need, but a Manhattan.

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