Saturday, 14 April 2012


This is called "protecting an unspoilt landscape". Unfortunately, someone decided to spoil the landscape by building houses in it. That was a while ago, now. The building above is a tied cottage on land where there is a proposal for a windfarm in the Scottish Borders. So, in order to preserve their mythical "unspoilt" landscape - and yes, with the usual tiresome regularity, opponents of the development do keep using that grossly delusional word - the anti's have decided to commit acts of vandalism.

It's not as if there aren't any windfarms in the area already. No, up in the Borders the protesters have moved onto Phase II of the nimby madness (much as "Save the Dales" are doing in Yorkshire). The first phase involves fighting aggressively and dishonestly against a wind energy development where there aren't any around for many miles. When that fails, the nimbies proceed to Phase II - stop any more windfarms happening.

They may not have the advantage of local ignorance - i.e., in places like the Lenches, where very few people had ever seen a windfarm, the evil nimbies of VVASP could spread all sorts of idiotic stories about wind power - but the Phase II nimbies are no less devious and misguided in their opposition. Their argument just shifts subtly from "we must never allow anything to mar our so-called unspoilt landscape" to "we mustn't allow any more of those things that we've already got to mar our still, apparently, unspoilt landscape".

One of the main problems up in the Borders region seems to be a body calling itself the Lauderdale Preservation Group. Now, preservation societies are all well and good - part of the checks and balances of a modern society. But they all too easily forget a very important fact: today's heritage was yesterday's "eyesore". Not many people liked Sir Christopher Wren's St Paul's Cathedral when it was first constructed. Guy de Maupassant was horrified and outraged by the Eiffel Tower when it first reared up above the unspoilt Parisian landscape.

And there's the problem with certain preservation groups. They are incapable of looking beyond their own narrow, selfish, short-term interests. They seem to believe that they are the last generation that will ever inhabit a particular area (which, for some unknown reason, they imagine is "unspoilt"), and so they appoint themselves guardians in perpetuity of a landscape which has changed many times in the past but must never change again!!! Why? Because these people now live in it - thereby proving that it is anything but unspoilt - and they are intolerant of progress, modern notions of sustainability and anything that will make them think of themselves as a bit less special.

The Lauderdale Preservation Group walks straight into the standard nimby trap. They are, they insist, "not opposed in principle to any renewable energy scheme, including wind power". Having established their forward-thinking green credentials, they then do their absolute best to rubbish wind power, especially where they might be able to see it.

Now, let's be honest. If we were to alter just one or two words of their argument (one repeated by self-serving and deluded nimbies up and down the country) it would run something like this:

We, the Nice People Living in Exclusive Rural Areas Committee, are all in favour of cultural diversity, including racial integration, where this is sympathetic to the local community and appropriate to the landscape and local environment. However, as recent articles published in the Mail and Telegraph newspapers prove, coloured people do not work, and in fact, integrating them into unspoilt places like ours actually does nothing at all to reach targets, imposed on us by Brussels, for racial tolerance and diversity. The organisations which seem determined to foist these ethnic eyesores on our communities have no interest whatsoever in cultural cohesion or ethnic diversity, but are motivated solely by profit and the gargantuan subsidies dished out for racial schemes which do nothing to protect our green and pleasant land from the menace of other people. Enough is enough.

Yep: the idiocy and dishonesty of the campaigns against windfarms are about as morally acceptable as that sort of thing. They sound just the same and stem from exactly the same blend of intolerance, bigotry and inflated self-centredness.

In the case of the Lauderdale Preservation Group, however, it's difficult to determine how many people are actually involved. As we have seen elsewhere - the Lenches being a case in point - occasionally an individual crops up who insists on repeatedly objecting to a reasonable proposal by acting as the "voice" of other groups, as many in fact as he can dream up. And, again as with the Lenches, this person intentionally uses their background as a scientist in order to twist the facts and mislead other people. Which is not what science is for. Such people are betraying their scientific training in order to force their own selfish obsessions down other people's throats.

Now, to reiterate: there are already windfarms established and successfully up-and-running in the Borders. And yet the landscape has contrived to remain "unspoilt", although a few more wind turbines anywhere nearby will naturally "destroy" it. All the usual false assumptions, utterly lacking in evidence, are cited (e.g. negative impact on tourism, yadda-yadda-yadda) and the familiar, and slightly racist, right-wing arguments are deployed in order to insist that we shouldn't bother doing anything about sustainability or low-carbon technologies because China is so big (it is also the global leader in wind energy, although the nimbies don't mention that).

But when you've got someone with a bit of a scientific background, and they're foolish enough to be "not opposed in principle" to renewables while steadfastly opposed to any visible form of renewable energy, they see their campaign as a marvellous opportunity to see how far they can turn scientific analysis into a great big bogus lie.

The individual who appears to be almost singlehandedly voicing the "opposition" of several preservation and conservation groups has made an extraordinary effort to try and prove that windfarms don't really work (and even if they do, what about China, eh? Eh??) He twists the data, not to mention his own thought-processes, into what he no doubt believes is a damning indictment of wind energy as something that can neither generate electricity nor reduce any of our carbon emissions (not to mention the Yellow Peril out there ... Did I mention, I'm not racist, but ...). And then he completely blows it.

Having put so much effort and energy into dishonestly "proving" that windfarms are a waste of time, the Borders nimbies let slip that "Electricity produced from wind farms in the Scottish Borders is enough to supply all of its households 9 times over, therefore this area exports 8 times as much electricity as its residents need."

Ooooh-kay ... so what they're saying is - "windfarms don't work - inefficient - don't work - load capacity - windfarms don't work - no CO2 reductions - China - windfarms don't work ... and the ones we've got here already produce 9 times as much as we need! They don't work, of course, but the main reason we don't want any more is because wind power is already generating enough electricity in the Borders to power all of our households 9 times over! So we've done our bit. It's somebody else's turn."

Does anyone see the insanity of their position? They don't want windfarms because they don't work, besides which the ones that are already there work so well that the region is "exporting" eight times as much wind-generated electricity as the area actually needs!

Which is evidently why the "unspoilt" landscape of the Borders, with its nine-times-more-efficient-than-we-need-them-to-be windfarms, must be forever pickled in aspic. Because one individual of advancing years is terrified that he might occasionally catch sight of a wind turbine or two. Which don't work. And they're already producing 9 times as much electricity as he and the rest of his region needs.

When you have an anti-windfarm campaign that's as mad as the one mounted by the Lauderdale Persecution Group and its several offshoots, it's hardly surprising that properties get vandalised (see photo above) - and all in the name of "preserving" an "unspoilt" landscape against the needs of the next generation and the heritage of the generation after that.

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