A Timely Warning

Edward Spalton

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.

3 responses to “A Timely Warning

  1. Edward:

    When I think of the rise in fuel prices, just about the last thing thing I think about is VAT, let alone the EU. When Geoffrey Howe ramped up VAT to 15%, I was not impressed. Of course, it’s convenient to blame the EU, but fuel has always been taxed.

    The EU has many energy research projects underway. In a world of cartels and power blocs, it’s cold outside.

    Why not look at the underlying supply and demand picture, and see who’s benefitting? Simplistic “free-market” analysis doesn’t work when the determinants are political and covert.

    The “pensioners” argument is a red herring. Pensioners already get a UKP 200.00 winter fuel allowance, and could easily be given more.

    I think that the world’s population is nearer six billion souls than eight billion.



  2. Tony,

    I think the point Edward was making here was that generalised state control of energy “policy” (and the EU is nothing but a large state whether it pretends or not) is so vulnerable to well-funded and well-filmed pressure groupies of pre-capitalist barbarism, that this is the main problem.

    The dudes I mean are, for example, Al Gore’s mob, and such actual “scientists” listed the UN-IPCC list who DID actually believe what they were signing – as opposed to the majority who asked to decline and were still left on the list!

    The Sun burped and belched a bit at the beginning of the 20th century, but seems to have gone off the boil a bit now.

    Another aspect not taken into account here, oe even elsewhere, except in John Gribbin’s grand book “the Strangest Star” (published about 1979) is the unknown aspects of the Solar System’s passage through dust clouds in this galactic arm – such clouds may not be of uniform or even predictable density, and may have angular velocities different from the Solar System. due to their different ages and variable mass.

    Physicists better than I am could work out the likely degrading of the Sun’s radiation flux density at the distance of the Earth’s orbit, caused by different amounts of interstellar crud sweeping past us like clouds.

  3. Hi, Dave,

    I certainly don’t dispute that the EU is a large State, albeit a less than wholly oppressive one. Its population is 330 million, and its economy is larger than that of the US by a trillion dollars a year. This is quite an achievement since the ruins of post-war Europe (which my hero Dick Bissell helped to rebuild via the Marshall Plan before moving on to direct CIA — I have a treasured photo of an SR-71 Blackbird in serene high flight which he signed for me, on my living-room wall).

    My point was simply that in a world of cartels, blocs and Crony-Capitalism, it’s better to participate in the biggest available cartel rather than be silently eaten alive isolated in the bleak world of Power.

    What I’m suggesting is that we look at the total revenues (including back-handers) for the entirety of world oil sales, and watch where all the money goes. Who gains? And who loses? There’s more than enough oil in the world to meet world demand. So why are we now being threatened with “$200 a barrel” oil later this year?

    There are far more of “us” than there are pressure-groups and politicians. We get to elect the politicians in the end (unlike the Americans).

    I’m all for smashing the energy cartels by means of technological advance. There are deep coal reserves _millions_ of times greater than the entire rest of the world’s known energy resources under Norway’s oil and gas reserves.

    And there are fully-researched and functional “cold fusion” processes available right now.

    What is lacking is — as always — _the will_.