Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer made a big pitch today for ‘energy security’, promising to rip up planning rules for onshore wind power and create a state-owned green energy giant that will provide all the power the U.K. needs, as well as hitting all our targets on climate change, says Matthew Lynn in the Spectator. But on closer inspection, “it seems that Sir Keir knows barely anything about energy security”. Lynn continues:
In fairness, Sir Keir has got one thing right. Our energy supplies remain very fragile. Over the past couple of weeks the price of natural gas in Europe has risen by 50% as traders bet on huge shortages over the coming winter. We got lucky last winter, with relatively mild weather, and with plenty of LNG from the United States shipped across the Atlantic, but it may not be so easy once the cold weather is back. The blunt fact remains that we don’t have enough energy, and we can’t rely on current supplies, and that is as true of the U.K. as any other country.
The trouble is, Sir Keir clearly has no idea how to fix that. As it happens, it could be relatively easy for the U.K. to move towards self-sufficient in energy. There is still plenty of oil and gas left underneath the North Sea, and we could be drilling for that, but Sir Keir has committed himself to a complete ban on new licences. Even President Biden, hardly a Right wing climate change denier, has allowed new fields in Alaska, figuring you might as well drill for your own oil rather than importing it, but that is too much for the Labour party. Or we could start fracking, developing a huge new industry as they have in Canada, hardly a far-Right country. But instead, Labour supports a total ban on the industry.
An ‘energy security’ plan that replaces North Sea oil with windmills? Orwell would be proud.