Monday, July 28, 2008


And damn the evil capitalists

We've been shouting at the radio coverage of the mooted £9bn windfall tax on energy companies. On PM Dave Spart was given an extended BBC platform to lay into the evil profiteers who are once again grinding the faces of the poor. Some Labour MP then told us how nobody is against "normal" profits, but these evil people are taking the piss, and a windfall tax is the fair thing to do. Eddie Mair was on-hand to softball approvingly, and then to rip into the poor schmuck put up by the energy companies.

What escaped explanation altogether was what generated these so-called excess profits in the first place. The real villain is not the unalloyed evil of the power companies, but the unalloyed stupidity of the EUs Emissions Trading Scheme.

We've blogged the ETS fiasco many times of course. Hailed at its inception by eco-druids, EU bureaucrats, and the BBC, as being the path to global salvation, in practice the ETS has mainly resulted in stacks of free emissions permits being dished out to the biggest emitters (like energy companies), while we consumers and taxpayers have had to stump up to pay for them (see previous blogs gathered here). They've all made money while we've suffered.

Now, let's take as read the fact that sensible people never thought this was a good idea in the first place. But we are where we are, and changing the rules retrospectively sure ain't going to encourage anyone - least of all the companies - to make the long-term investment decisions we need for cheap and secure energy in the future.

It all puts us in mind of that other ongoing eco-policy disaster: the one over biofuels. It wasn't long ago the eco druids told us that biofuel would be a great way of reducing carbon emissions. But now, with vast swathes of agriculture diverted to its production, and with world grain prices driven through the roof, these same druids have flip-flopped. They're now saying "oh... no... slight miscalculation... we actually need to stop bio-fuel production immediately because it's actually increasing carbon emissions through the entirely unforeseen impact of increased grain production, which we never imagined would happen... sorry about that."

Why, you'd almost think these eco-druids don't have the faintest effin' idea what they're talking about.

PS While we're on the subject of druids who don't knowing what they're talking about, we can't pass up the opportunity to chortle over Mrs Marr's flipflop. Having been such a strong backer of Gordo's leadership - a key judgement for one paid to read Labour's entrails - she now simply says "I was wrong". Fine. We all make mistakes. But everybody should remember the next time she comes up with a bright idea.

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