Christopher Booker: Why Is David Cameron Backing The EU’s Green Design For Energy?
The Prime Minister’s boosting ‘green’ schemes whose full implications he may not even be aware of.
The news from the EU front becomes ever more bizarre. Last Wednesday, just before Angela Merkel flew to London to tell David Cameron how desperately she wants Britain to stay in the EU, she told the European Parliament: “Of course the European Commission will one day become a government, the European Council a second chamber and the European Parliament will have more powers – but for now we have to focus on the euro and give people a little more time to come along.” In other words, the EU is still on track to become precisely that “government of Europe” that Jacques Delors was boasting about in 1989 (to which Mrs Thatcher famously responded “No, no, no”).
In the meantime Mrs Merkel and her eurozone colleagues are hell-bent on getting the new treaty they imagine is necessary to save their doomed euro, and from which Britain will be excluded. So she wants Britain to remain part of an EU from whose inner ring we will be excluded, but she hopes that this will give us “a little more time” to come to our senses and join the euro – thus signing up to the full package, including the idea that the unelected Commission should be our supreme government.
Does Mr Cameron really have any idea of what a far-reaching game he is caught up in? Another story last week – with the headline “We need wind farms to power electric cars, says Cameron” – may make us wonder. On the face of it, nothing could seem dottier than putting these two huge blunders together: the fanciful belief that we can somehow provide a third of our electricity from unreliable windmills; and the quixotic enthusiasm for electric cars which, despite hefty subsidies, remain so unpopular that their UK sales have fallen this year to just 749.
Mr Cameron’s faith in these vehicles is just as absurd as his plan, confirmed again last week by an energy minister, Baroness Verma, that every home and business in Britain must be fitted with “smart meters” within seven years, at a cost of £11 billion.
What few have yet realised is that all these schemes are part of a grand EU design for our future which even now is being tested on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic (check out EcoGrid and Bornholm on the internet).
The point about smart meters is that they do not only enable us consumers to keep tabs on our electricity use: they also (though our Government does not like to spell this out) enable suppliers to exercise remote control over how much electricity we use. The EU knows that the windmills it wants to see covering Europe are unpredictably intermittent, and cannot guarantee sufficient power when it is needed. The answer the EU’s technocrats dream of, as we see from the Bornholm pilot project for a “European supergrid”, is that they can use smart meters to micro-manage the power we receive, right down to their ability to switch off whole categories of electricity use in our homes when there is insufficient power in the grid (what they call “ ‘intelligent’ control of household appliances” , such as dishwashers or televisions).
But the windmills can also produce too much electricity when there is no demand – which is where electric cars come in. The idea of the EU grand designers is that we shall all be charging up our car batteries at night, to soak up the surplus power generated by windmills at times when demand is low – to keep the grid stable without needing to balance it from “carbon” emitting gas and coal-fired power stations.
All this is so fiendishly ingenious that one suspects Mr Cameron has been talked into promoting it without any real idea of what he has got caught up in. But equally this applies to his wish for Britain to remain part of an EU that is following Mrs Merkel’s dream of a single all-powerful government, over which we would have even less influence than we do now.
BBC allowed to keep its dirty little secret
A remarkable legal drama has been unfolding recently in London’s Camden Town, pitting a lone pensioner from Wales against all the might of the BBC, represented by an array of highly-paid lawyers. It has been a battle fought to determine the BBC’s right, under the Freedom of Information Act, to keep secret how it arrived at a major policy decision which, for six years, has allowed it to operate in breach of its legal obligations under its Charter.
The BBC Trust does not hide the fact that a “high-level seminar” in 2006, attended by “expert scientists”, led to the decision that the BBC should take a highly proactive line in pushing alarm over global warming, while ignoring or ridiculing anyone who dares question it. This was done in full knowledge that it ran counter to the BBC’s Charter commitment that its coverage of controversial issues must be impartial.
Everything about this seminar, held in secret at TV Centre and attended by the BBC’s top brass, was odd. It was organised by a little lobby group set up by the BBC journalist Roger Harrabin to promote the global-warming scare in the media, financed by public money and other climate pressure groups.
So obviously did the BBC do all it could to push the scare, from that time on, that a great many people asked to know who was present at the seminar and in particular the identity of the “expert scientists” on whose advice such a significant policy change was made. It did eventually emerge that one speaker at the seminar was Lord May, an unashamed climate alarmist who had just stepped down as President of the Royal Society, but no more would the BBC disclose.
Tony Newbery, who runs the Harmless Sky science blog from his Welsh retirement home, was so insistent that the public had the right to know the identity of those on whose advice the BBC had made such a remarkable departure from its Charter that he appealed to an Information Commission tribunal. After all, the BBC itself likes to boast of how it uses the FOIA to pry out secrets from other public bodies.
After a two-day hearing – where it became clear that the tribunal’s three members were highly unsympathetic to Mr Newbery’s arguments (one, a former Haringey councillor, has previously referred to sceptics as “climate-change deniers”; another was formerly head of Camden legal services), they ruled on Friday that the BBC is a “private organisation”, entitled to keep its policy deliberations secret. What a surprise. (For a fuller account of the hearings, see Andrew Orlowski’s blog for TheRegister.co.uk.)
The Sunday Telegraph, 11 November 2012