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Monday, 20 April 2015

Environment Debate

This is what is taking place on The Daily Politics at this very moment. Although I have strong opinions on the subject, I have switched it off – it is too depressing. From the way the leftists (Labour, Lib/Dems and the Greens) talk, we are complete idiots on the subject – and I fear they may be right. Even the UKIP spokesman paid lip service to renewables.

What’s not to love about fracking? It is cheap energy with relatively low carbon emissions. It provides affordable heating for the old and infirm. By reducing industrial costs it encourages employment. It reduces our dependence upon nasty and unstable regimes. Fracking rocks. The bed-wetters (as Monckton calls them) would have us panic over seismic effects. The ‘tremors’ caused by fracking have variously been compared to what you would notice if you dropped a bag of sugar, or if a bus passed your front door. There are scare stories about ‘inflammable’ water. This phenomenon occasionally happens naturally. I have seen it with my own eyes. If it can be demonstrated that water supplies are contaminated by the fracturing process, then the perpetrators must be made either to desist or to pay compensation. We need no new legislation for this to happen.

Credible stories about deleterious effects on health are very rare. The solution is in place: stop or pay up.

The number of people killed in the process is still nil, making fracking far safer than pretty well any other source of energy.

Wind farms are staggeringly inefficient – which is why they only ever get constructed with massive subsidies. Many people find them ugly. Actually I rather like them (or would if they were not economically absurd). They slice birds and bats into pieces. For me, this would be a price worth paying, if the damned things actually produced affordable energy.

Is there ever a case for subsidising industries? I suppose there might be; but the presumption should be against it.

Burt Folsom is very good on the subject: The Myth of the Robber Barons

We are stupid. The logic (and the history) of government interference are plain. It is bad news. This whole campaign is about what the government can and should do about education, health, welfare, industry and practically everything that affects the individual. The news about healthcare and education standards is never good. You know me to be a fan of Tesco. Actually, there aren’t any supermarkets I don’t like. Any which failed to please me would forfeit my patronage. People don’t complain about supermarkets. Would that Tesco or Waitrose were in the healthcare and/or education business.

The most hateful bleat of all is: People before Profits. This is an incandescently stupid thought. When is a profit incurred? When people make an exchange. They only ever do when both parties perceive themselves to be better off. I get my fish fingers, Tesco gets a pound. What’s not to rejoice about? Tesco (and they have been going through a rough patch of late) have to stay on their toes to make their profits. When a supermarket fails, the executives and management have occasion to tremble. When a school or hospital fails, money is injected. Bureaucrats are routinely rewarded for failure. Those who squeal about fairness should ponder this dismal indictment of our system. Many bureaucrats in the NHS are paid huge salaries. If Mr Leahy gets millions, it is because he is worth it. Tesco shareholders cheerfully pay his salary. Are taxpayers cheerful about inflated bureaucratic salaries? Are they fish?

Will the tide turn? I think it probably will, in a generation or two. But it will take a revolution in moral and economic thought. The BBC never challenges the candidates on basic principles: Why do you think that government should have anything to do with energy policy, with education, with healthcare?

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