Hayes, Fallon, Deckchairs, Titanic

Shaking up green ideologues

You know what? There was a time – perhaps as recently as six or twelve months ago – when I would have been seriously heartened by the news of Cameron’s latest mini reshuffle. I’m a massive fan of the tough, free-market-minded Michael Fallon. Appointing him as the minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change is a bit like sending in King Herod to shake up the Judaean Child Services Unit. But it’s a symbolic gesture, nothing more. Fallon’s predecessor in the job – John Hayes – was just as old school Tory, just as much a conviction politician, just as opposed to the insanity of wind – and look where it got him: absolutely nowhere.

While DECC’s departmental boss Ed Davey may not be quite as sinister a machiavel as his predecessor Chris Huhne (whatever did become of my old mate Huhney by the way? He has been curiously absent from the Westminster scene of late), he has certainly got DECC stitched up. What Fallon will find – as Owen Paterson has found at DEFRA and Hayes definitely found at DECC – is that it’s very hard to push forward robustly Tory policies when your entire department consists of green ideologues and where even your own press office briefs against you. On day one of his job, Hayes had planned to announce a moratorium on onshore wind farm building – which would have been a hugely popular gesture in the Tory-voting shires. Unfortunately, just before he delivered it he was rumbled by DECC’s spies and Davey ordered him to water it down, while insisting there were no plans to halt the growth of onshore wind. By the end of his six months at DECC, Hayes was so enfeebled that he’d almost gone native: even to the point of finding himself on the wrong side of an argument – with David King, of all people – on biofuels. Amazingly, despite copious evidence to the contrary, Hayes could be heard declaring on Radio 4 that they were a good thing.

So you see now why I’m not as impressed as I might be by the tiny slivers of red meat Cameron has just tossed to us True Conservatives. It’s not enough to feed us; just enough to make us more tormented and ravenous. Which is why, as I explain in this week’s Spectator, I have completely abandoned every last vestige of faith I had in the current Tory party to do anything useful or sensible, and why I’m throwing my lot in with the one party out there with genuine political principle – UKIP.

Related posts:

  1. Five reasons why the Conservatives deserve to lose the next election
  2. In praise of Lord Tebbit
  3. Arguments for wind power are just hot air
  4. Tory sleaze is worse than ever: Yeo and Deben must go!


The Orgy of Greed Spoiling Our Countryside: Why I Campaigned in Corby

The troughers at Ovenden Moor

From Thursday’s Daily Telegraph

The Yorkshire moorland that inspired Wuthering Heights is about to be blighted by nine 377ft wind turbines, each one the height of Salisbury Cathedral.

Do you need to be a rabid, bat-crazy, monomaniacal, classical liberal loon to find this upsetting? I hope not, I really do. The vandalisation of Ovenden Moor, near Haworth, in the heart of Brontë country should concern us all, regardless of which way we vote or what newspaper we read.

Caring greenies ought to be dismayed by the widespread environmental havoc it will wreak: the kestrels it will slice and dice, the protected bats it will cause to implode, the huge concrete bases, the poisonous rare earth minerals mined under the most atrocious conditions in China. Bookish Left-leaning wimmin in glasses with large, red plastic frames ought surely to be concerned by the blighting of the landscape which inspired Emily – and Charlotte, and Anne.

Red meat socialists ought to be spitting blood at the injustice the Great Wind Scam perpetrates against the common man. It takes money from the poor and funnels it straight into the pockets of greedy, often toffy landowners and rapacious, mostly foreign-owned energy companies.

Here, roughly, is how the spoils will be divided among the troughers at Ovenden Moor. The landowner will be paid £401,000 pa, index-linked, for the next 25 years. The developer will get an income of around £2,679,300 pa, index-linked, over the same period. The vast bulk of this will come straight from the taxpayer in the form of compulsory subsidies, payable even if the turbines produce no power.

And the energy that will emerge from this orgy of greed and destruction? It will be neither green, clean, abundant or useful. Wind power requires full back-up from fossil-fuel-powered stations. It doesn’t save CO2, nor provide energy security, nor contribute anything to the base load power Britain so badly needs to keep the lights on.

These are just a few of the reasons why I consider the Great Wind Scam to be the biggest political scandal of our generation, and why I accepted an invitation by local wind-farm protesters to stand as their candidate in the Corby by-election.

As I said right from the start, the very last thing I wanted was to be an MP: my wife would divorce me. But what I didn’t want to do either was to let down my cause with a really crappy showing on election night. That’s why my strategy was to play the whole thing by ear. If I thought I stood a chance of becoming one of those Martin Bell-type outsiders who sweeps the board, well, whoop-di-do, I’d risk the divorce and spend two years in Westminster doing what I like best – really peeing my enemies off. If I could achieve more with a tactical, last‑minute withdrawal, well that would suit me too – not least because I’d no longer be letting down my friends in Ukip.

I love Ukip. There’s barely a single one of their policies I disagree with. Inevitably, there was much upset among my Ukip pals when I announced I’d be standing against them: they were worried that I’d take away votes from their excellent candidate, Margot Parker. This I didn’t want to do.

Equally, though, I had a lot of sympathy for my local Conservative MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, whom I got to know and like at a Tory conference in Windsor in September and who is masterminding the Tory campaign in Corby. Chris is the kind of Conservative who would have me voting Tory again: small-government, anti-EU, massively anti-wind. He, too, was worried I’d steal Tory votes – gosh how nice it is to feel important! – and was keen to show me that his party was at last seeing sense.

For example, he was the one who drew my attention to the anti-wind speeches made by Owen Paterson and the new energy minister, John Hayes, at the Tory conference. It was newspaper reports of some even stronger anti-wind remarks by Hayes which gave me just the excuse I needed to withdraw from the election with honour, claiming victory.

The timing was perfect. Obviously, I totally love the idea that the Coalition rewrote its entire energy policy because of me – and if the Guardian and Greenpeace wish to credit me with such mighty powers, as they did yesterday, then great. But politics is a bit more complicated than that. George Osborne is known to be fiercely anti-wind; Cameron, it is rumoured, appointed Hayes and Paterson quite deliberately to placate all those shire Tories mortified at the bat-chomping eco-crucifixes ruining their views and wiping out their property values. So while I’m proud to have played my small part in the war to defeat the great wind menace, I think it’s more likely that I was only ever a humble Sancho Panza rather than the true Don Quixote.

Related posts:

  1. We’re destroying our countryside – and for what?
  2. Corby: should I stand?
  3. Wind farms: even worse than we thought…
  4. Wind farms kill whales: blubber on the green movement’s hands