Sir Reginald Sheffield, Bt: An Apology

Scunthorpe: Sir Reginald Sheffield, bt, listens tolerantly as a delegation of peasants comes to thank him for spoiling their view

Scunthorpe: Sir Reginald Sheffield, bt, listens tolerantly as a delegation of peasants comes to thank him for spoiling their view

It has been brought to my attention that this blog owes Sir Reginald Sheffield, Bt. an apology. In a recent column entitled Green Jobs? Wot Green Jobs? (Pt 242), I carelessly suggested that Sir Reg beloved dad of the famous environmentalist “Sam Cam”; distinguished father-in-law of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, no less –  is making nearly £1000 a week from the wind turbines on his estates.

The correct figure is, of course, nearly £1000 a day.

In other words, Sir Reginald is making the equivalent of roughly 1000 looted widescreen plasma TV screens every year from the eight 400 foot wind turbines now enhancing the view for miles around on his 3,000 acre Normanby Hall estate, near Scunthorpe.

There will be those who suggest that my mistake is a resigning matter. I do share their concern. However it is my view that if a journalist is going to resign on a point of principle these days, it has to be over something immeasurably trivial, rather than over something merely quite trivial. What I do nevertheless agree is that I owe Sir Reginald Sheffield, Bt, an apology.

A big apology.

After all, the idea that an aristocrat of Sir Reginald’s magnificence should get out of bed or indeed, not get out of bed, but just lie there flicking through Shooting Times or Burke’s Peerage or Guns N Ammo while the money drips into his bank account for a sum as pitiful as £1000 a week is patently absurd.

It is almost as absurd as the idea that Sir Reginald bears any kind of social responsibility for the privilege of owning the land that has been in his family since the 16th century. Sure there will be the odd sentimental fool who imagines otherwise. One such sentimental fool is the Duke of Northumberland, who persists in resisting the wheelbarrows-full of cash being offered by developers to build wind farms on his estates for the following reasons:

“I have come to the personal conclusion that wind farms divide communities, ruin landscapes, affect tourism, make a minimal contribution to our energy needs and a negligible contribution towards reducing CO2 emissions.”

But as Sir Reginald well understands, such antiquated notions as caring for the people who live in and around your estates or preserving the beauty of the landscape for future generations, have no place in the forward looking, post-carbon world being promoted by one’s son-in-law and one’s future king. “Noblesse oblige? Schnoblesse oblige! ” as Sir Reginald is no doubt fond of quipping to the third underbeater on one of his game shoots.

After all, if a government run by one’s son in law (did we mention this already: that Sir Reginald Sheffield’s daughter Sam is married to the current British Prime Minister, who has promised to lead the “greenest government ever”?) decides that it is in the national interest to destroy the British landscape, double the price of electricity and transfer money via renewable energy boondoggles from the pockets of taxpayers into the swollen coffers of rich, landowning baronets worth £20 million plus, then what’s a poor fellow to do other than say: “Yes please,  you frightful, oiky wind-farm developing fellow. If you wouldn’t mind leaving that wheelbarrow of notes there. And that one there. That will be all, thank you. Now get orrff my land.”

Related posts:

  1. Green jobs? Wot green jobs? (pt 242)
  2. Monbiot: an apology
  3. I’d rather my wife made land mines than worked in the wind farm industry
  4. The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)


Sorry, but Wind Farms Are Useless Even against Vampires

Flyers! The wind turbines have broken down. Again! said Caleb.

Alicia tested the blade on her throwing knife, which she could throw faster and more accurately than any man on the Watch, because that was the kind of woman she was. A strong woman. A fearless woman. Honed and lithe and taut and brilliant at rescuing you from the vampire-infested Mall on horseback with her special riding skills when all seemed lost though God knows what they were doing going into that Mall in the first place something to do with a room full of dead children which some other character in the book had been perversely attracted to, what kind of weird reason was that? The kind of strong female character, in fact, whos absolutely de rigueur for you to create if you’re an English professor at Rice University in Texas who’s slumming it in genre fiction, yet at the same time not slumming it because look what you can do you can treat the reader to SO much detail about the world you’ve created that its like reading Dickens almost, no, like Dickens with icing and cherries and hundreds and thousands on top because not even Dickens would go into so much detail about what the characters looked like, what they had for breakfast, their back story, their emotional history, their favorite color, their favorite character on Sesame Street, plus of course its got vampires, proper vampires, not your pussy vampires like the ones in Twilight but ones with so many teeth they rip you to shreds like torn up bunnies and –

Lish, get your taut, firm, desirable, simmering, as-yet-unfulfilled love interest ass over here NOW. The lights are down. The virals are over the fence. They’re aiiieeeeee.


As some of you will have worked out, I spent my return flight from the US reading half way through Justin Cronin’s bestselling vampire novel The Passage. I like vampires. Indeed, as I told my audience when I spoke at the Heritage Foundation if they didn’t want to hear me talk about Climate Change I would have been quite happy talking on another of my favourite topics, viz, why vampires are the scariest horror creatures of all, especially the Master in Salem’s Lot. But though Cronin’s contribution to the genre has its superb moments, I think I may have spotted one or two flaws in it as the above excerpt intimates.

OK, so here, as I see it, is the fundamental problem. The vampires have taken over the Earth. (Something like 42 million of them in the US alone. Ri-g-h-t. So what are they feeding on once all the humans and farm animals and wild animals have been killed? Have they suddenly, like, taken up farming or something? Perhaps this question is answered later in the book. If it isn’t then I’m sorry but I count this a serious flaw in the books schemata. As indeed I would if it turns out the vampires HAVE taken up farming. Yeah right, how likely vampire behaviour would that be?). In the second part of the book we’re 90 years into the future after the vampire apocalypse, with a tiny colony of humans which have survived in their fenced settlement.

How have they survived in their fenced settlement? Why, because it is surrounded by bright lights which they turn on at night to scare off the vampires. How are these bright lights powered? Why, by wind turbines.

Look, I can just about buy the conceit that indestructible, multi-fanged, voracious leaping vampires have taken over the earth. (With those superpowers how could they not?) But what stretches the book’s credibility far, far, FAR beyond breaking point is the idea that a) those wind turbines would still be operable 90 years into the future (they last 20 to 25 years at most) and b) given that they operate intermittently and at roughly 25 per cent of capacity that they would be capable of giving the survivors colony round-the-clock electric power.

Heres the truth: wind farms do not save you from vampires (or anything else). If wind farms are really all that stands between the survival of the human species and bloody, fanged extinction then we’re doomed, I tell you, we’re doomed.


It has been brought to my attention by a very senior editor oh, all right: Damian that the Telegraph Blogs Stylebook insists that no mention of Wind Farms is permissible without a reference to Britain’s most distinguished Wind Farmer Extraordinaire, Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt. I apologise for having to rub salt into the wound of poor Sir Reginald who would no doubt prefer to be recognised as the father-in-law of the current British prime minister rather than just another of those rent-seeking landowners leeching off the back of the taxpayer by destroying the landscape with ugly, bird-chopping, heavily subsidised windtowers. But what can I do? Orders is orders.

Related posts:

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  4. Build Wind Farms in National Parks? Now we’ve REALLY lost the plot

George Osborne’s New Eco-Bullingdon Club

Grotesque and pointless quango

Green-wishes-230Imagine if a cabal of privately wealthy upper middle class and lower upper class public schoolboys got into power and began using taxpayers’ money to dole out special favours to all their rich friends: cushy sinecures for their banking and management consultancy chums from Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Logica and the Oliver Wyman Group; subsidies for landowners like Sir Reginald Sheffield (father-in-law of one D. Cameron, Esq) to blight their local countryside; investments in companies almost 100 per cent guaranteed not to make a profit but nice, all the same, for those plutocratic rent-seekers who’ve been tipped the wink by their chums in government. (H/T Barrie James)

Imagine if this were found out. There’d be riots on the street, right?


This is exactly what happened in chancellor George Osborne’s latest budget. And almost no one noticed. So thank heavens for Andrew Orlowski of the Register:

Last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new body that would make loans and issue debt. In a harkback to the 1970s, poorly performing and deeply unprofitable businesses will be the beneficiaries – and investors in them will be rewarded for their poor judgement. So much for moral hazard.

The Chancellor even found an unexpected £775m from the Government’s sale of the HS1 rail link to kickstart the venture. £3bn has been pledged: £2bn from the sale of publically-owned assets, and £1bn from taxes. This is a considerable sum that could alternatively be used to pay off the government borrowing, or pay for public services.

Or indeed, pay for a new aircraft carrier. Or buy five squadrons of F-18s. Or pay for the share of the Portugese bailout so kindly imposed on Britain (with Cast Iron Dave’s tacit agreement) by Osborne’s even-more-useless predecessor Alastair Darling. OrWell I’m sure we can think of lots of more sensible ways a Chancellor of the Exchequer could spend £3billion of OUR money. What I seriously doubt though, is whether anyone could think of a worse way of spending £3 billion, than on the grotesque and pointless quango  that is the Green Investment Bank headed by Bob Wigley.

The point to note about the Green Investment Bank is that it is based on one massive lie, promulgated by everyone from David Cameron to Chris Huhne to Greg Barker to every other two-bit chancer who wants to get on the Coalition, viz: that green investments and green jobs are the future. (See this brilliant Dilbert cartoon) (H/T Philip Foster)

They are not. The reason private investors don’t want to invest in environmental projects is not that they’re frightened of making too much money, as this chart shows:

Can you see which category of investment comes right at the bottom? The one so abysmally poor that investors lost on average 52.3 per cent over the course of the year? That’s right. Alternative Energy.

Now imagine you had a Prime Minister who had a first in PPE from Oxford and a Chancellor who claimed to be a classical liberal. What kind of intellectual contortions must they have gone through to persuade themselves against all evidence that it makes any financial sense to use taxpayer’s money to bribe investors to allocate their scarce resources in companies that are so inefficient they can only possibly ever turn a “profit” through massive state subsidy (paid for by imposing a national energy tax concealed in electricity bills)?

And you don’t even need to be on the libertarian right, like me, to believe that this is a crying scandal. It is, as Orlowski notes, above all a conspiracy against the poor.

Osborne’s programme really a continuation of his predecessor’s as he invented very few of the policies – is a set of deeply regressive measures at which the Left has traditionally bridled. The Left has historically thought of itself as being on the side of the poor, and opposed measures which hurt the poor disproportionately. It likes to think of itself as being on the side of the weak against the strong, and so has traditionally favoured a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Yet the policies depend heavily on regressive taxation and more expensive essentials.

Forty per cent of the cost of a carbon floor price is paid for by consumers, the Treasury’s own documents suggest. The Budget measures alone add £17 to a family’s household energy bill. As even climate Jacobin George Monbiot has noticed, green measures distribute wealth from the poor to the middle classes: FITs are “extortionate, useless deeply regressive”. Not all on the Left are happy with this. Graham Stringer MP said Parliament needed to look much more closely at the policies, and the justification for them, because the measures hit the poorest people in the country. (He is MP for the North Manchester constituency of Blackley and Broughton.)

It’s a hard one for many on the Left. The number of households in “fuel poverty” – where energy swallows up more than 10 per cent of household income – has trebled. In Wales, more than one in four households is in fuel poverty, according to Wales Online. Left to the market, energy prices would plummet: even with profiteering and heavy Government duties. Gas is cheap, and set to be even cheaper for years to come; gas requires no subsidies.

Really, honestly, I have absolutely no objection to living in a country run by people who’ve had the best education in the world and who belong to the kind of old aristocratic families which tend to take the long view on what Britain’s interests really are. What I do object to, though, is when they abuse their power by behaving like selfish, ignorant, caricature toffs out of a Guardian cartoon by Steve Bell or Polly Toynbee’s most perfervid class-war fantasy. It is precisely such weapons-grade pillocks who govern us now.

Related posts:

  1. Territorial imperative
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The Disgusting Toffs Who Are Destroying Britain

Whenever I am defending toffs one of the main points I like to make is what great conservators they are. Because they have owned vast swathes of Britain, often for many generations, they understand the importance of their role as trustees of the landscape. Certainly, this coincides with their hobbies – hedges and stone walls rather than barbed wire because you don’t want your mount’s belly ripped open while you’re hunting; copses for covert while shooting, and so on – but nonetheless I do think our landowning classes have generally had a deep understanding of what makes the British country the most beautiful on earth, and by and large have done a great deal to keep it that way.

Until wind farms came along, that is.

In the Sunday Times, Jonathan Leake – one of the few journalists in the MSM and very probably the only one who is an environmental correspondent to have ventured any serious criticism of the great AGW scam – has named some of the wealthy landowners who are on the verge of becoming even more disgustingly rich by allowing their land to be carpeted with wind farms.

Among the biggest potential beneficiaries is the Duke of Roxburghe, whose planned 48-turbine scheme on his Scottish estate would generate an estimated £30m a year, shared with developers. About £17m of this would come from subsidies from consumers.

Others seeking to capitalise on the new wind rush include the Duke of Beaufort, Sir Reginald Sheffield, father of Samantha Cameron, and Michael Ancram, the Tory grandee.

Perhaps there was a time, in the early days of wind farms, when these men could have pleaded ignorance of just how evil and useless wind farms are. Not any more. So much strong evidence has now emerged of the damage wind farms do to bird life and to the natural beauty of the landscape, in return for no real benefit to anyone except heavily-subsidised wind-farm-owners, that the only way anyone could possibly ignore it is to stick their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and go: “Nyah nyah nyah. Don’t care. My estate manager tells me it’s going to make me pots and pots of lovely dosh, so bugger the peasants who have their views ruined and the little people who have to pay for my lovely holidays in Mustique with their increased eco-taxes and inflated electricity bills.”

Sam Cam’s dad too, eh? I’m not normally the class war type. But stories like this make me so sick I begin to wonder whether we shouldn’t start sharpening our guillotines.

Related posts:

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  2. ‘Wind farms cure cancer, save kittens, create world peace’ says new wind industry report
  3. I’d rather my wife made land mines than worked in the wind farm industry
  4. Official: wind farms are totally useless