Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Being an anti-wind nimby must be a bit like queueing for the bus.

You wait ages for one biased and inaccurate report from a right-leaning think-tank and then three come along all at once!

First, there was the gormless report from KPMG which was leaked to the Sunday Telegraph (who else?) late last year. This report made the bold (i.e. ludicrous) claim that it would be a lot cheaper to build new nuclear and gas-fired power plants than to invest in extra wind power capacity. Somehow or other, Germany, Denmark and Spain have managed to reduce electricity prices by investing in wind power. But the gonks at KPMG really were trying to say that nuclear would be cheaper (when has that ever happened???)

Next came the astonishingly fatuous report from the right-wing Civitas group, which tried to make out that wind power is "inordinately expensive" and that - yes, you guessed it - nuclear and gas would work out cheaper in the long run. It so happens that Civitas, and the report's author, don't believe in climate change and are fundamentally anti-renewables, so one has to wonder whether their findings were skewed in any way. Oh, and some of their source material came from those slippery anti-wind lobbyists of the Renewable Energy Foundation. QED.

Now, we get another way-out report from the right-of-centre Policy Exchange. Anyone want to hazard a guess at its findings?

Yep. Green policies are "unnecessarily expensive". The report's authors have dreamt up a figure ("Oooh, what shall we say? £400? An extra £400 per household by 2020. Does that sound scary enough?") and, on the basis of that we-just-made-it-up amount, argue that the "power of market processes" should be allowed to "innovate and discover" the best routes to a low-carbon economy.

You know, somebody really should tell the twits at Policy Exchange what the "power of market processes" achieved just four short years ago - the near total collapse of the global financial system. That's what happens when you leave everything up to the "power of market processes".

At last, though, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has had enough of all these wet-behind-the-ears hoorays publishing their useless "reports". They've pointed out that the figures produced by Policy Exchange are plain "wrong". Other groups, such as WWF-UK and, unsurprisingly, RenewableUK, have also lined up to point out just how stupid the Policy Exchange study is.

Of course, all these think-tanks exist to influence policy. It's interesting, don't you think, that three right-wing think-tanks have all produced what amounts to the same report - more nuclear, more gas, leave it to the market - in what is clearly a co-ordinated attempt to advance the interests of Big Carbon, the scary old nuclear industry and the lunatic climate sceptic fringe.

It's a good thing the government is striking back against these blatant efforts to derail the development of a decent renewables industry. Because, too often, governments are all too susceptible to this sort of mendacious posturing and misleading PowerPoint nonsense. If you want to see how both the previous and the present governments were tricked into supporting the construction of ten - yes, TEN - new nuclear power stations in the UK, just have a quick look at this document:

That's the problem when lies are used to influence policy. You end up with policy decisions based on misinformation. Which is a Bad Thing, obviously.

For an even more startling example of the bullying, blackmailing, throw-your-dollies-out-of-the-pram approach of the political right, one need only look at Donald "Syrup" Trump. Just yesterday he was granted planning permission to build a five-star hotel on his grotesque golfing playground for the rich and the folicly-challenged on the coast of Aberdeenshire. Today, he has announced that he's stopping work on his Golfyland nightmare until he gets his way over stopping the European offshore wind development centre which is planned for the sea off the Scottish coast.

Now, Trumpy had previously admitted that the global financial downturn had impacted on his plans to make Aberdeenshire safe for self-obsessed idiots in silly trousers who are quite happy to see a natural habitat converted into a godawful golf course. And he's been opposing the £200 million pound offshore windfarm project from the start. Because, in Donald's warped view, what the world needs right now is not advances in clean, green energy. No. It's expensive golf courses and overpriced hotels. He's not thinking about the planet, he's thinking about his pocket. And now he's trying to hold Scotland to ransom.

As the saying has it: Trump by name, trump by nature.

Do people like Donald "Goofy" Trump, the climate change deniers at Civitas and the Telegraph, the raging anti-wind power monsters at the Mail, the not-exactly-honest pressure groups like Country Guardian, REF and Lawson's treacherous Global Warming Policy Foundation ... do they really believe we can't see what they're up to?

They're putting their narrow-minded and discredited ideologies, their personal greed and their reactionary fanaticism ahead of the local, national, international, longterm need. They're expecting us to believe their lies, demanding that we believe them, even though they're lying through their eye-teeth and only a fool would believe a word they say.

Some, maybe, are beginning to see the light. Take Karen Lumley, new-girl Tory MP for Redditch. Early last year she let the side down badly. She had been prepared to be photographed in front of the VVASP Lorry of Lies and didn't think to question why large sections of the VVASP artwork had been blacked out (because the Advertising Standards Authority had forbidden them to keep making claims about windfarms that were untruthful and couldn't be substantiated). She then stood up in the Wychavon planning meeting for the proposed Lenchwick Windfarm and read out VVASP's figures on local opposition to the scheme - figures which bore little relation to the actual surveys carried out by the parish councils. She had allowed herself to be used by the maniacal leaders of a dishonest, discredited protest group.

Interesting, then, to read what Lumley had to say on the ConservativeHome blog about the controversial High-Speed Rail Link (HS2). She accused those who were campaigning against HS2 of using statistics and propaganda that were "unfounded and deceptive". "Clearly the anti arguments need to challenged", she wrote. "The myths need to be proven wrong."

She then pointed out that a report produced by the Institute for Economic Affairs (another right-wing think-tank) was "not so much a report, as a repackaged and padded-out version of a Taxpayers' Alliance 'research' paper ... discredited in public by leading rail figures.

"The authors are far from dispassionate: one has a record as a long-time advocate for roads, the other is an active member of a local activist group with a house on the HS2 route. Both fail to declare their interests."

Karen Lumley then proceeded to debunk the myths published by the anti's and their pet "experts" in the right-wing-opinions-for-hire think-tank.

What prompted this Damascene conversion, we might well ask. At what point did Karen, former puppet of a nasty nimby group, realise that some vested interests might try to pull the wool over everybody's eyes? And when, exactly, did it occur to her that proper research by experts should be given more credence than the rubbish spouted by self-serving nimbies?

Ah well. There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, etc., etc.

Now Karen Lumley just has to persuade the rest of her Tory confederates and their Lib Dems allies that certain think-tanks, certain reports, certain claims and certain American billionnaires really should be flushed down the toilet. As she herself wrote of the Anti-HS2 campaign: "The attitude of the antis seems to be one of 'throw enough mud and some will stick'. This trivialises a debate of national importance."

We couldn't have put it better ourselves.

(PS: we will shortly be publishing a study of our own. Actually, that's a lie. We shall be posting excerpts from a university paper which analyses the impact a proposed windfarm can have on a local community. This report has been graciously passed on to us by the author, who has witnessed the same old nimby nonsense at first hand. TTFN.)

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