A Timely Warning
By Edward Spalton
The rise in fuel prices may well kill a large number of pensioners, unable to meet the cost of keeping warm. Yet few people look behind the reasons for the present prices. First, there is VAT, admittedly only 5% but significant. I listened to much of the debate on the introduction of this tax by the Conservatives. It was a bloody tribal battle and yet was utterly phoney.
The leaderships of both sides knew it was part of the conditions of continuing EU membership, which they both supported. I thought every MP knew that, yet Dennis Skinner and others went for the Tories in the good old fashioned way with much passion. I thought it was just a skilful charade, playing to their own supporters. Since then, I have learned that many MPs are simply unaware of the number of powers they have handed over to the EU.
So I acquit Mr Skinner and his comrades of what I thought at the time was rank hypocrisy. It was merely ignorance. I cannot acquit the Labour leadership, which promised to repeal the tax, if they came to power. They, at least, must have known it was outside their power to do so (unless they left the EU). Once control over an area of our life is ceded to the EU, it can never return to democratic control in Westminster. So the best Tony Blair could do was to lower it to the permitted
minimum of 5%. In this area, parliament has lost its power over taxation and so contributes to the energy poverty of pensioners.
Some eco-freaks and disaster mongers actually welcome the price rises because they will make us more careful in using energy. Yet Age Concern reckons that 22,000 pensioners died from cold last year. I suppose there is no more permanent way of changing our energy consumption than dying. The EU?s policy on renewable energy ? the inefficient and useless windmills which clutter our land and seascapes ? has pushed up energy costs by at least £1,000,000,000 to subsidise the
monstrosities. Over the last six years, temperatures have flattened out at 0.2 degrees Celsius lower than their level of ten years ago.
All the signs are that the sunspot cycle is changing to a period known as the ?Dalton minimum?. The last period of this sort was from around 1793 to 1830 ? a time when the Thames froze over and there were widespread famines because of crop failures. The difference now is that the world has over eight billion mouths to feed . Then there were only one billion. Still, the cold climate had one good effect. It set back the unification of Europe and chilled Bonaparte?s ardour on his retreat from Moscow.