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