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Early May , 2007


It's Our Money!

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  There is a welcome growing public acceptance that we ought to become more green and that includes using energy efficiently and reducing our emissions of global-warming gases. Clearly, costs come into play but there is nothing wrong with that, after all a strategy of Sustainable Development is a logical policy and that means spending our hard-earned cash sensibly. By similar reasoning we would argue that adopting policies which endanger health, well-being and even lives, should be thoroughly eschewed. The fact is that, in the UK and in this context, the incumbent Labour government is spending our money irresponsibly and incompetently so as to achieve the worst of all worlds. They are committing to pouring enormous bundles of our earnings into building nuclear power stations while starving the truly green alternatives of the much-needed support.
    This is not primarily a party-political issue because we suspect that the Tories would do the same and as for the Lib Dems, the Greens and other parties, while they might be more sympathetic they are fairly ineffectual. The good news is that we exist in a democracy (of sorts) and hence are able to speak freely (much of the time). So we would like to speak out and draw your attention to two reports appearing in the press on the same day; these illustrate our point. The two articles we refer to were in The Guardian, 1 October but it is likely that similar articles would have appeared elsewhere in the press.
    The first report is by David Gow and entitled "Nuclear industry pushes for early approval of new plants by warning of bottlenecks" and its theme is contained in the title. It seems that 'executives' are upset by the idea of other nations ordering specialised apparatus before us and slowing down our development. Additionally there is likely to be a shortage of project managers and therefore they are asking for decisions to be made swiftly and the planning process to be streamlined (know wot I mean?).
    What is so galling about the governments' position is that a first consultation on the future nuclear energy was so flawed that they were legally obliged to repeat the process and it is due to be completed on 10 October, but, notwithstanding, they have already decided that whatever the outcome is they will give the go-ahead for up to 10 reactors. The 'executives' are warning that without special dispensation the first nuclear power plants may not come on stream until towards the end of the next decade. In our view it is not democratic to completely ignore a consultation and effectively announce policies before the process is completed. As far as health is concerned we recently described how and why we think that nuclear energy poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of the public, here and abroad.
    The second report by Ashley Seagar shows how hypocritical the present administration is; it is entitled "Red tape and cuts see householders give up on green grants, MP says". Once again the sense is contained in the heading but the actual facts display an incompetence which could surpass Laurel and Hardy and a disingenuity to qualify for the Guinness Book of Records. The administration is so crass that the account is a gem worth searching out. In short the tale is about how the miniscule grants allotted under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme were so popular that they ran out half way through the year. Then they changed the system to a monthly basis and then the grants ran out in the first few minutes of each month. So their solution was to reduce the grants to a sixth of what they had been but the key part of this Baldrick 'cunning plan' was to tighten the regulations so that the red tape strangled the would-be green members of the public who wanted to use renewable technologies.
    The end result is that the rules made it almost impossible to obtain grants and so most potential applicants are giving up and now it is predicted that the even smaller sums of money should last for 15 years even though it was supposed to be used by mid-2008; that's incompetence for you. Disingenuity; well, the Labour Party (including the prime minister), at the end of September pledged extended action on climate change.
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 26 April, 2013