David Cameron’s Worst Nightmare

Destroying the BBC hegemony


Today David Cameron finds himself in the “awkward” position of having to back a Labour motion calling for Murdoch’s News Corporation to drop its bid for BSKyB. Of course in the current climate of almost Death-of-Diana outrage (so brilliantly orchestrated by the BBC and the Guardian), there is probably not much wriggle room for doing otherwise. But in fact it all suits him very nicely for the very last thing our pathologically Heathite prime minister really wants is for the BSkyB to go through.

Why? Because the purpose of Murdoch’s BSkyB bid is essentially so that he can set up a UK version of America’s most popular news channel Fox News. Fox News acts as the conscience of the right in the US: it’s one of the things which made the Tea Party possible. A British version would achieve the same over here, destroying the crushing hegemony enjoyed by the BBC, restoring a balance to the political debate in Britain which for decades has been so sorely lacking – whatever the BBC’s supposed charter to commitment to fairness and balance might pretend.

There’s a faction in the Conservative party (red meat Tories – the party’s ideological conscience) who are understandably desperate for the BSkyB deal to go through. It’s not because they love or even trust Rupert Murdoch but because they recognise that – ironic though this may seem – he currently represents Britain’s brightest hope for freedom of speech and the promulgation of the kind of small government, low tax, liberty-loving ideas you almost never hear expressed on the BBC except when donutted by a Lib-Dem, a Socialist, a Green and Fake Conservative telling you how dangerously extreme they are.

But this, of course, is why Cameron doesn’t want such a thing. If Cameron has any kind of political philosophy, it’s a woolly, don’t-rock-the-boat centrism combined with a vague, paternalistic notion that the gentleman from Eton knows best what is good for you. It suits him down to the ground that whenever he’s accused by his party’s right of being a spineless PR man who holds no greater ambition for Britain’s future than its managed decline he can simply wave airily towards the BBC and explain: “Sorry, chaps. But what can I do? We’re basically a left-wing kind of country whose agenda is defined by the values of the BBC….”

If the BSkyB deal ever goes through, Cameron will no longer have that option available. Worse still, he will have a new TV news channel explaining to viewers every day of the week what a limp-wristed, tofu-eating, faux-Tory abomination their supposedly Conservative prime minister really is.

I don’t think he wants that. Do you?

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  1. David Cameron skippers Morning Cloud, conducts LSO, etc
  2. There was nothing ‘illiberal’ about David Cameron’s speech on multiculturalism
  3. The Murdochalypse: bread and circuses
  4. Maybe we’d be better off if David Cameron had gone to Harrow


The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)

Heard a great story the other day from Matt Ridley, author of the absolutely essential The Rational Optimist.

He bumped into an engineer who was hoping to land one of the lucrative contracts for the massive, insanely expensive offshore wind farm programme which Dave’s new “Greener Than Anyone” administration hopes will reduce Britain’s carbon footprint while simultaneously creating that the philosopher’s-stone-type marvel that some men do call Green Jobs.

“What’s the chance of them being built on time?” Ridley asked.

“Zero,” said the engineer.

“And once you’ve stuck these things in the sea-bed, how long do you think they’ll last?” Ridley asked.

“Oh, virtually no time at all.”

“So if these offshore wind farms are going to be impossible to put up and are going to fall down as soon as you do, why are you vying for this multi-billion pound government contract?” asked Ridley.

“Duh,” said the engineer.

When Mary Tudor died, she predicted, they would find Calais engraved on her heart.

My prediction when my old mucker Dave Cameron pops off, they will find “wind farms” engraved on his. Of all the damage his lousy administration will do to this country of ours, none will be so mighty, permanent or thoroughly inexcusable as his wind farm programme.

Here’s further cause for gloom from the excellent German blogger P Gosselin, whose reports on what’s happening in Germany gives us an idea of the disasters coming our way soon.

Originally estimated to cost €189 million, the Alpha Ventus park has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. In late summer and autumn of 2008, bad weather made installation of the first 6 turbines impossible. Then the equipment to install the monster turbines was not available. Next there were major problems with the transformer facilities.

A few weeks ago the temperature of the bearings in the turbine made by Areva Multibrid was too high and thus they had to be taken out of operation. Now the turbines have to be removed from their 500+ ft. high towers and the bearings have to be replaced. Repair works will take weeks and extend into late summer. It’s still unclear if the other four of the Multibrid turbines have a problem. The remaining 6 turbines are made by Repower and are reported to be running smoothly. There are no reports on how high the costs for the troublesome dismantling and repair works will run.

And if that weren’t bad enough, the construction works on the massive Bard Offshore 1 commercial windparks have been delayed as a 300-foot foundation column crashed onto the construction ship Wind Lift 1 three weeks ago. Now other turbines have to be thoroughly inspected. The Bard project foresees the installation of 320 five-megawatt class turbines over the coming years. The cost for the first 80 Bard turbines alone is climbing far beyond original estimates. First they were estimated to cost over €500 million. Now it’s estimated costs will exceed a billion euros. German online newspaper projects the costs will even reach €1.2 billion.

The promoters of the offshore projects cannot say they weren’t warned of the risks of installing windparks in the North Sea’s harsh conditions. The Nysted offshore windpark and Horns Rev park in Denmark are examples, and have struggled with big problems. For example in 2007 a transformer malfunction occurred at Nysted just 4 years after being commissioned, causing a months-long shutdown. At the Horns Rev windpark there were problems with the turbines only 2 years after they had gone into operation. World leading turbine manufacturer Vestas had to remove all 80 turbines, haul them onshore and perform extensive repairs. Luckily these turbines were only of the smaller 2 to 2.3-MW class, and so much easier to do repair works. Repairs and maintenance on the 5-MW monsters will be much tougher and expensive.

But as long as windpark companies continue to have the full backing of wasteful governments, costs won’t matter.

Amen, brother.

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  2. Wind Farm Fanatics Are Bankrupting Us With Their Hot Air
  3. Official: wind turbines are an iniquitous assault on property rights
  4. The best article on wind farms you will ever read

6 thoughts on “The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)”

  1. crownarmourer says:18th June 2010 at 8:32 pm@James D why are you no longer replying to peoples comments on the DT Blogs is there a new policy in place not to talk to the plebs, they really have ruined your blogging and a lot of people are still staying away. Why not pop over to http://libertygibbert.wordpress.com/ and have a little chat with us dissenters we will not bite and since we are not dealing with trolls the conversation has gone a little upmarket. Unless your already over there in disguise.
  2. Pennyroyal says:18th June 2010 at 8:50 pmI see Monbiot’s torn Ridley a brand new one again – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jun/18/matt-ridley-rational-optimist-errors
  3. Peter Sterling says:19th June 2010 at 12:40 pmThere is enough wind offshore from the UK to power the entire country and the cars 4 times over.

    The solution to the very high cost of todays old technology wind turbines is to replace them with sterling accelerated wind turbines. These jet-speed turbines will operate for twice the annual hours and make 3-4 times the power. Thus making wind electricity cheaper than any other power plant….. and they can’t kill birds.

    Intermittent wind energy can easily and cheaply be stored in conventional pumped-hydro schemes in Scotland’s hills and valleys. These can be made to improve the natural environment and make wildlife flourish.

    See; http://www.zero-carbon-energy.com/pumped-hydro.htm

    If you actually took the time to study it you would see that accelerated wind is the world’s answer to cheap, clean, forever energy independence.

    Wind farm developers merely have to move from the propeller age to the jet age to save England from the tyranny of fossil fuel blackmail.

    See; http://www.all-natural-energy.com/

  4. ozboy says:20th June 2010 at 4:49 am@James, ditto crown’s remarks. He tells me you’re a little busy right now; fair enough (me too) but you’re always welcome Down Under at my place http://libertygibbert.wordpress.com/
  5. Tom Forrester-Paton says:22nd June 2010 at 3:29 pmJames, in case you’ve missed it, there’s a lovely blue going on at http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/06/21/the-climate-experts/#comments – over a fathomlessly stupid paper that’s just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. I make a brief spear-carrying appearance as TomFP, but Currys, Fullers, Tobins, Pielkes et al are – very politely so far – going at it like ferrets in a bag.
  6. Tom Forrester-Paton says:23rd June 2010 at 5:30 amJust read your excellent excoriation of the “Galileo” List (as it is being dubbed, although I prefer “The Cardinals’ List” – but then I preferred “Fabrigate” to “Climategate” and look where that got me).

    You write “And might this have anything to do, perchance, with the fact that – as the Climategate emails made abundantly clear – “unconvinced” scientists were deliberately shut out of the peer-review process by the “convinced” ones?” – and of course it does, but IMO it goes deeper – “Climate Science” (as distinct from meteorology, climatology, etc) is a field invented by and for AGW believers who either choose not to call themselves meteor-/climatologists, because that’s not where the grant money is, or who in addition may not do so because they are in fact neither? It should therefore neither surprise nor greatly impress us if they “overwhelmingly” endorse AGW. It’s just what “climate scientists” do.

    I note you hat-tipped WUWT, but do go and have a look at the discussion at collide-a-scape. It’s got lots that you won’t find on the usual denialist* blogs – committed warmies horrified at what they rightly see as a great disservice to their cause, scientifically literate sceptics ripping the methodology to bits, and the estimable Judith Curry deploring the very idea behind this pabulum. And the entertainment is enhanced by the fact that every post defending its publication provides further evidence of the forensic bankruptcy of CAGW theory.

    *Bored with the argument, I’m now routinely identifying myself as a “denier”, although if I think my readership will be largely American, I may append a few redundant syllables – e.g. “denialistician” to make the poor dears feel more at home. If I’m posting at the Guardian I use “deniar”, for similar reasons. All part of being unfailingly polite, no matter how cretinous your interlocutors.

Comments are closed.

Enough Eloquent Eexcuses, Dave: Tthe Only Place for a Conservative Britain in Europe Is Out

Today David Cameron is going to explain plausibly, reasonably and, for all I know, convincingly just why it is that he has no option other than to welsh on his promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. And lots of clever commentators will pile in, as the imminent Lord Finkelstein has already with his characteristic wit, charm and insight, to confirm that, no really, Dave Cameron is as rabidly Eurosceptical as any of us, but that he is also a pragmatist; and that what you have to understand is blah, blah, blahdiblah di blah.

And do you know what? I do not ****ing care. And I’m guessing that an awful lot of you reading this – those that aren’t still drinking the Cameroon Kool-Aid and repeating your consoling mantra about how “look, the important thing is to get Brown out, anything else is just icing on the cake…” – feel exactly the same way.

Is this a childish response? Quite possibly. But what it is, more importantly, is an honest and visceral response. This is the glory of the blogosphere. You don’t have to dress up your argument in supersubtle nuance. You can just cut to the chase and tell it like it is: the European Constitution has stolen British sovereignty; it will make us poorer, more highly regulated, less democratically accountable and less free. You cannot run an effective Conservative government within a Socialist Europe. You can’t. It is simply not possible.

Yeah, sure. If I sat down at a table right now with a bunch of lawyers, and wonks from Policy Exchange, and members of Cameron’s shadow cabinet, I’m quite sure that within the hour I would be won over. “Dear boy,” they’d persuade me in that wonderfully patronising mandarin way, “Of course we feel your pain and your rage. Everything you say is quite true. But in the real world….”

Ah yes, of course. That old saw about politics being the “art of the possible” – the weasel get-out of compromised politicians everywhere. Well I’m sorry, but that to me is not the language of realism. It’s the language of surrender and failure.

The reason I’m interested in politics is because I’m ideological. The reason I’m ideological is because I’m interested in what’s right and what’s wrong, what works and what doesn’t, what ultimately is going to make us all happier, richer and more free.

I still don’t see Cameron’s Pragmatic, Compassionate, but not that Conservative Conservatives offering us any of those things. (Obviously Blair/Brown’s mob didn’t either, but a) one never expected it of them and b) they’re really not worth writing about any more because they are toast). And their nuanced position on Europe – negotiating various opt-outs in certain key areas – is a case in point.

Not only is this mere tinkering at the margins (I notice for example, that they’re not even thinking about trying to extricate us from Europe’s crippling carbon regulations) but it’s most unlikely to work. As David Davis rightly (and rather bravely, given Cameron’s Stalinist line on dissent) argues in the Mail today, the EU “engrenage” machine is grindingly effective at crushing all attempts by constituent members who want to claw back tiny gobbets of sovereignty.

The Europeans are past masters at the permanent negotiation that makes up the federal project. They know all the tricks of isolation, pressure, delay, coalition, vague language, and institutional and judicial expansion.

Here’s the bottom line: until the day when, by whatever means, we can renegotiate our position in Europe so that it is little more than a friendly trading bloc, Britain is screwed.

If Cameron doesn’t understand this – and act upon it – then let us pray he’s replaced sooner rather than later by a leader who does.

Related posts:

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Evil, Snarling, Red-Faced Tory Toffs Want to Bring Bback Fox-Hunting!

That’s how the libtard bunny-huggers are going to spin it, anyway, when – as is expected – David Cameron tries to repeal the hunting ban after the next general election. Already, their house journal the Guardian is starting to get anxious about the prospect, as we see from a report today on donations by “bloodsports”enthusiasts to Tory agriculture spokesman (and committed ban-repealer) Nick Herbert.

So how are the Tories going to stop this (uncharacteristically, for Cameroons) highly principled decision being used against them?

My friends at Spectator Coffee House have considered the problem:

“As the Norwich North by-election showed, Labour will have a go at turning this into an election issue—hoping that it will aid their attempt to paint Cameron and Osborne as people most interested in looking after their wealthy friends. Norwich North suggests this attack won’t have that much cut through. But once elected, the politics of repealing the hunting act will be tricky. It would look a bit odd if the Tories were to immediately devote substantial parliamentary time to it given all the other problems the country is facing.”

And they have come up with a cunning solution:

“However, there is an idea doing the rounds in Conservative circles as to how the party could get around this problem. Rather than a bill devoted exclusively to repealing the hunting ban, there would be one that would  concentrate on a whole host of civil liberties issues including ID cards. Hunting would merely be a section of it, with a free vote on the issue. This way the party would avoid the appearance of spending a considerable amount of time on the relatively fringe issue of hunting and would get to frame repeal of the ban as a civil liberties issue.”

Needless to say, I’m in full agreement. Though I don’t go hunting very often, I do happen to think it is the greatest sport ever invented and probably ought to be made a compulsory experience for every child between the ages of 16 and 25 – as a way of teaching them discipline, courage, self-respect, how to read terrain, about horsemanship and hard drinking, as well as steering them away from dangerous tendencies like vegetarianism or obsession with Elf n Safety. (The porkers would have to be farmed out to somewhere like the steppes of Mongolia, I suppose, where they could chase jackals on shire horses).

I feel as strongly about the civil liberties bit as I do about the fox-hunting bit. One thing I’ve long felt to be agonisingly absent from the policy thinking of Cameron’s alleged Tories is any understanding of the notion of liberty. Au contraire, they have hitherto demonstrated almost as much belief in the primacy of the state (and the inevitable suborning of individual freedoms) as New Labour.

In future blogs, I shall be coming up with suggestions as to one or two of our stolen freedoms which the Tories ought – at little or no expense – to be returning to us as soon as they get into office. Perhaps you can suggest a few yourselves.

I still have little if any faith in the ability of Cameron’s Conservatives to rescue ruined Britain. But at least this glimmer of light re foxhunting is better than no light at all.

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