The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
British Pols Running Back Green Policies

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Britain’s leading politicians are racing to jump ship from the country’s green energy policies as electricity prices continue to rise. Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband sparred during the PM’s questions in the House of Commons today. The exchange was as heated as one expects at these events, but was striking in that they were arguing over who could most swiftly undo disastrous green policies. The FT reports:

Mr Cameron, who once declared “vote blue, go green,” has found himself on the back foot amid double-digit-percentage rises in household energy bills and a renewed political focus on the “cost of living”.

Mr Cameron has now gone public on that process, blaming the Labour leader Ed Miliband for his role in introducing some green taxes when he was energy secretary in 2009. “We need to roll back costs imposed on energy bills, part of which he was responsible for,” he told the House of Commons.

Back in September, Miliband’s Labour party outlined a plan to freeze energy prices if elected in 2015. That’s a daft idea—manhandling markets to pander to populist thinking usually is—but it revealed the extent to which British households and businesses are suffering under rising electricity costs. Like the rest of Europe, the UK embarked on a mission to prop up green energy, and like the rest of Europe, its consumers are paying the price.

This issue is only going to get more attention in Britain as the Northern hemisphere heads into winter. Amid the fight to define the problem’s scapegoat, however, there’s still no long-term plan to shore up the country’s energy security. Moving ahead with exploratory drilling of the country’s 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of shale gas should be a part of such a plan.

Published on October 23, 2013 6:00 pm
  • S.C. Schwarz

    Something similar is happening in Australia with the recent defeat of the center-left Liberals. It makes me wonder about perhaps the superiority of parliamentary forms of democracy to our presidential form. They seem to be able to change direction much more nimbly than we can. Here, even if we were to elect a Republican president and a Republican congress tomorrow, it would be almost impossible to undo the various green idiocies Obama is foisting on us. Forty years experience with the USEPA shows that the ratchet turns only one way.

    • Corlyss

      I hear ya, S.C., but keep in mind, they ain’t done it yet.

      They face the same ruthless excommunist street thugs that burrowed into the Green movement as we do, for a lot of the same reasons, i.e., aggressive Green strategies that co-opted major corporations, the educational establishment, the media, scientific institutions, EU regulators, and political parties. Untangling the mess is not just about wallet politics and at this point I don’t see any glimmer of comprehension from the publics of any of these captive nations, including ours.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Corlyss says it well, but let me amplify on an important point. It really doesn’t matter much what your get your legislature to do (especially if it is contested…the biggest factor in the US is that we have such a narrow margin of power for whoever is currently in control that the minority party can effectively stymie them…whether this is good or bad is another matter…) when the bureaucrats (the regulators especially) are so deeply entrenched.
      There is a British comedy series from the 80s called “Yes, Minister” (and a sequel called “Yes, Prime Minister”) that illustrates this problem in a terribly amusing fashion. I strongly recommend it…