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Thursday, February 17, 2011


  Lead letter in the Scotsman today - Where is the debate on electoral reform
The campaign for a "No" vote on alternative vote (AV) elections has been launched, but its leader, Margaret Beckett, is still refusing to engage in a public - let alone broadcast - debate on the subject.

It is disgraceful that we have been denied the chance to choose full proportional representation (PR) by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

AV is not PR, but it is a step forward.

Throughout my life Labour and Conservative voters have bemoaned the fact that their respective parties are dreadful, but they also say that they have no choice but to vote for them, because otherwise they would let in the Conservative/Labour Party.

The alternative vote does not disenfranchise anybody who wishes to vote for their first choice and will thus let a limited amount of fresh air into the system.

With the "No" campaign getting lots of money (presumably from the traditional big donors to the Labour/Conservative duopoly) while refusing public debate - the BBC having allegedly banned the words "electoral reform" from the airwaves - it seems to be relying on apathy and the political machines commanding some vestigial loyalty.

I support reform, but I hope that, even if I didn't, I would be opposed to preventing debate.

The BBC - as well as the other broadcasters - has a legal duty to show due balance and should insist that it will broadcast a formal debate, even if someone less exalted than Beckett leads for her side.

  Published in full. The BBC ban has been reported here. The Fair Votes letter to the No campaign inviting debatewhich they decline to accept is here.

     I missed this in the Herald yesterday, experience having inclined me not to get my expectations up.
 Wind power won’t keep us warm in a big freeze
In 10 years the Government has added about £18 billion of carbon levy to our electricity bills and directly subsidised the building of wind turbines by £6 bn.

The longer term ambitions involve putting many hundreds of billions of pounds into this subsidy to close up to 80% of our current generating capacity and replace it with windmills.

Let’s look at the results. On December 6, when temperatures dropped to –20 C, windmill output amounted to 0.2% of all our power. This meant they were producing, on average, 1/40th of their official capacity.

If such circumstances happen again in the future, when it is intended windmills will be the mainstay of our power, we will not only be paying about £10,000 a year for our home electricity bills but with the lights out at –20, we will be experiencing all the joys of living in medieval times.

Alternately, with bills at less than 10% of what we pay currently, we could be warm with unlimited quantities of nuclear power.
There is a reply today which does not dispute anything I say about windmills being useless but says we should immediately spend enormous amounts on off shore windmills & sea turbines which will do everything  previously promised for onshore windmills. I have written a reply but accept the Herald, having given both equal space, have no obligation to publish.

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