Sunday, 28 May 2017

Manifestos Manifest

Regular readers will know that I recently quit bartending and now I improve the quality of writing in little read corners of the internet for a living. As research for one of these projects, I read the Labour and Conservative manifesto proposals on Energy Policy. Anyhow, the article as I would have liked it to have gone out went unpublished - but reason will not be silenced! Here's what I found out.

Conservative Party Energy Policy

  • Cheaper Energy Bills for Homes and Businesses (p.22). That sounds good, doesn't it. My energy bills are expensive, how are they going to do it? The Tories are promising to put infrastructure in place to help large businesses improve their energy efficiency. Quite how giving large amounts of money to big business is going to reduce my energy bills is not further explained. 
  • A Diverse Energy Mix (p.22f). This section makes it clear that a Conservative government post-Brexit would form policy based on supply not generation. No mention of the fact that we can currently buy tariff-free energy from the EU or what their negotiating position on this will be. They say that they will stick to global commitments on Climate Change, but then go on to support...
  • Shale Gas Extraction (P.23). Don't let the language fool you. It is impossible to extract gas from shale without hydraulic fracturing. this is an explicit promise to allow fracking. Earth-tremor-causing, water-poisoning, mountain-eroding fracking. The Conservative Party propose to bribe communities with a proposed Shale Wealth Fund - this proposal includes a provision to pay individuals (read: landowners) and communities to allow fracking in their village. If global temperature rises are to be kept below 2 degrees, the majority of oil and gas deposits must be left in the ground.

Labour Party Energy Policy

(n.b. The pages aren't numbered on the online version of the manifesto - the relevant page is Sustainable Energy at the end of the section Creating an Economy that Works for All.)

  • Three Principles. Ensuring security of energy supply, reducing costs for consumers, transitioning to a low carbon economy
  • Cheaper Energy Prices for Homes and Businesses. Heard this one before. But here the plan is the opposite of the Tories' plan 'A' of handing taxpayer's money over to big business and hoping nobody notices. The Labour Party propose a cap on the price businesses can charge for energy and the setting up of locally-accountable, publicly-owned rivals to the big energy companies. Infrastructure will be put in place to assist with the insulation of 4 million homes - interest free loans for homeowners upgrading their insulation and rewards for landlords who improve the insulation in their tenanted properties. 
  • Ban Fracking. The Labour Party plan to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in line with recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change. As you'd expect - fracking is opposed as part of this commitment.
There's significantly more on energy policy in the Labour Party Manifesto than the Conservative Manifesto. I've covered the entire Tory energy policy and restricted myself to showing how Labour differ on these points. That's letting the Tories set the agenda, I suppose - but what can I say? I'm lazy. Perhaps you can cover other areas (not just energy policy) on your blogs and between us we can build up a picture of where the parties stand on key issues? 

To keep things light, here's a picture of a statuette of Apollo that I found in a charity shop and Charlie told me was an unsuitable gift for friends who were hosting us for dinner (we got them a potted helleborus instead).

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