So the new government’s battle lines are drawn – between the True Tories and the Continuation Cameron squishes. And already the Continuation Cameron squish camp has fired its first salvo, in the form of this outrageous provocation, on the subject of wind farms, from the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd.
“I personally quite enjoy seeing them.”
She really doesn’t have a clue, does she?
Of course, we all know what she was trying to achieve here. It was one of those “on the one hand and on the other” positioning statements designed to make her look balanced and reasonable; a way of removing the sting – for any greenies or renewable energy troughers listening – from her subsequent statement that onshore wind farms can no longer be built if local people don’t want them and that subsidies for new onshore wind farms are to be withdrawn.
But that doesn’t make the statement any less stupid or offensive or insensitive.
This is not one of those innocuous “taste: it’s a funny old thing” personal opinions on the lines of: “I’ve always been much more Aldi than Lidl” or “butter: for me it’s just got to be unsalted”.
It’s more like saying: “Oh, I dunno. I think battery chickens look kind of amusing and cool with that bedraggled, no-feathers look” or “well who really cares about Assyrian architecture anyway? They had nothing on the Greeks or the Romans.”
And the fact that she can’t see why her casual aside is so crass speaks volumes about how out of touch she is with all the rural constituencies who helped put her into office.
For those country communities who’ve been unfortunate enough to have one of Britain’s 7,000 onshore wind turbines dumped, willy nilly on their doorsteps it’s an issue a lot more serious than mere dodgy personal aesthetics. I know. I hear their piteous cries almost every day.
It’s about: having your property values randomly trashed with no compensation; having cherished views blighted for at least the next 25 years (longer, probably, given that so few of these monstrosities seem to have had their decommissioning costs factored in to the contract); thousands of pounds from your own pocket wasted on often fruitless planning law objections and judicial reviews; disrupted sleep and health issues arising from intermittency and low frequency noise; obliterated bats, disturbed livestock, eradicated birdlife; communities divided between the “haves” (those landowners in on the scam) and the “have-nots” (everyone else who has to live with the consequences as the subsidised greedheads rake in their morally tainted profits).
Rudd’s statement, in short, is not a reasonable acknowledgement that wind farms are a matter of opinion and that there are two sides to the argument. It’s a slap in the face to reason, evidence and common decency.
Our new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, it’s clear, has come from the same bubble as her late and unlamented predecessors Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey. Three supposedly different political parties: Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives. But – to coin Ms Rudd’s own phrase – with “not a cigarette paper’s difference between them” when it comes to endorsing green ignorance and stupidity.
These people are all so complacent, so buoyed up with their own certainty, they never bother consulting opinions from outside their own circle which might open their eyes to the truth of what’s going on.
As depressing evidence of this, see Amber Rudd’s frequent boast that she is a “Thatcherite” because – so she claims – Margaret Thatcher shared her views on climate change.
“I don’t know what the questions they asked were and to be frank, most MPs don’t answer polls, so I don’t know who they got replying,” she adds. “[Climate scepticism among Conservative MPs] is not my experience at all. The first world leader to speak about climate change at the UN was Margaret Thatcher and she of course was a scientist and the science is completely compelling. If I’m challenged on it by any of my own party – although I haven’t been – I would say ‘I’m a Thatcherite – aren’t you?'”
This – as she’d surely be aware if she listened to anyone informed on the subject – is a grotesque misrepresentation of political history.
Yes, as Christopher Booker notes here, Mrs Thatcher was initially gulled by her advisers – notably the Warmist Wormtongue Sir Crispin Tickell – into taking “climate change” seriously as an issue. But she subsequently recanted in her last book Statecraft (2003), in a section entitled Hot Air and Global Warming, summarised by Booker thus:
She voiced precisely the fundamental doubts about the warming scare that have since become familiar to us. Pouring scorn on the “doomsters”, she questioned the main scientific assumptions used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the chief force shaping world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels. She mocked Al Gore and the futility of “costly and economically damaging” schemes to reduce CO2 emissions. She cited the 2.5C rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer. She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda which posed a serious threat to the progress and prosperity of mankind.
Amber Rudd is no Thatcherite, more’s the pity. If she were, it wouldn’t be just onshore wind farms she’d be nixing right now. It would be heavily subsidised solar, overrated tidal, pie-in-the-sky carbon capture and storage, and eyewateringly expensive offshore wind she’d be cancelling too.