Gordon Brown: Ignorant and prejudiced

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On May 25th, we had Gordon Brown in the European parliament making “the positive case for Britain to stay in the EU”.  Most of the audience consisted of EU/Labour supporters who wanted us to Remain.  But in the second row were a dozen UKIP MEPs.

Brown gave a competent summary of the Remain position – indeed he was quite engaging – and of course he got a standing ovation from the In-Crowd.  Son on the Manse that he is, he was preaching to the choir.

When it came to questions, Paul Nuttall was brilliant.  He made a point of congratulating Brown on keeping the UK out of the €uro – which went down with that audience like a pork pie at a bah mitzvah.

But it was Brown’s comments on UKIP that caused offence.  He decided to make capital by attacking us.  He spoke of our position on immigration, saying that immigration had contributed mightily to the UK’s economic performance.  He may have a point – but it would have contributed more if we had been able to select the skills we need, and reject the less qualified.

He pointed out that the NHS would collapse without foreign labour – but no one is proposing to send doctors and nurses home.

But he became most offensive – I would say scandalous – when he asserted that Sadiq Khan’s election as Mayor of London was ” a rebuke to UKIP”.  That can only be an accusation of racism.

Neville Watson

As a famous British comedian once said “Let me tell you a story”.  Yesterday I went to a meeting of the All-Party Climate Change Group in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons.  Sitting opposite me on the Victoria line from Saint Pancras was a guy who recognised me and introduced himself.  He was Neville Watson, a UKIP member, and a former UKIP candidate, on his way to a “Christians for Britain” event with Lord Pearson in the House of Lords.  And he’s black.

During the course of my seventeen years in the European parliament, I have had a number of ethnic minority staffers in my office.  We in UKIP have had many ethnic minority candidates.  I remember canvassing with a UKIP councillor of distinctively Middle Eastern appearance, who knocked on a door to have the householder shout “Go away – I don’t talk to UKIP – you’re racist”.  Our Councillor’s name, by the way, was “Jihad”.  We spent a long time laughing at the incongruity.

Unlike our current government’s immigration policy, which favours (generally white) Europeans over (often ethnic minority) non-Europeans, our UKIP immigration policy is utterly colour-blind.  I’d rather we had an Indian dentist that an unskilled Eastern European.

Gordon Brown’s implication that UKIP is racist shows ignorance, and prejudice – or perhaps just dishonest malice and political opportunism.

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A deliberate policy to drive up energy prices

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Daily Debrief May 26th

Only 28 days – four weeks – to Independence Day!

Shock revelation: Steve Hilton says Cameron is a closet Brexiteer

Steve Hilton is one of Cameron’s closest political friends, and has worked with him for years.  In a shock announcement (and following on from Hilton’s recent declaration for Brexit), he’s now saying that in his heart, Cameron supports Brexit.  Maybe that’s why Dave has come up with such farcically over-the-top warnings – 800,000 job losses, the Third World War, plagues of locusts, skies raining blood.  Perhaps it’s all a coded message that Cameron really thinks Remain is nonsense too.

Hilton adds that Cameron’s renegotiation agenda was very modest, but even so it was treated with contempt by the arrogant apparatchiks of Brussels.  Of course we all knew that, but it’s good to see Hilton confirm and reiterate it.

“Cameron losing public trust over EU referendum”: The Indy reports that the Prime Minister is losing public trust over the referendum. No big surprise there.  Just 18% trust him on the issue (down from 35% last November).  That compares to 22% for Nigel Farage, and 31% for Boris Johnson.  Very positive news for Leave.

“Navy rescues 6000 migrants in 48 hours”

The Sun reports that the navy rescued 6000 migrants in the Med in a 48 hour period.  http://suttonnick.tumblr.com/image/144924354781. It also shows graphic pictures of one boat capsizing, saying 550 were rescued from that boat alone, while five drowned.

It’s clear that despite the EU’s best efforts, the  great migration is back in full swing.

EU/Turkey migrant deal “unravelling”

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Several papers including the Washington Post report that the EU/Turkey migrant deal is coming apart. The EU won’t confirm visa-free access for Turks until various conditions have been met, while President Erdogan is insisting he’ll open the floodgates unless the visa-free access is granted at the end of June.  With just four weeks to go to the referendum, the migrant crisis is not about to go away.

Population of England “to rise by four million in ten years”

The Telegraph highlights an ONS report claiming that the population of England could rise by four million in ten years, that the population of many communities will increase by a quarter, and that London will become a “megacity”.   It reports Chris Grayling saying that “This will change the face of England forever”.  No one ever voted for this.  But on June 23rd we have the opportunity to vote against it.  The only way is Brexit.

Osborne “humiliated” over the Tampon Tax

Just a few weeks ago George Osborne was telling us that Brussels had agreed to scrap the hated “Tampon Tax”, and he claimed that this was evidence of our influence in the EU, and our ability to achieve reform.  But now John Redwood in the House of Commons has pointed out that Brussels’ new proposal for VAT reform completely ignores the issue.  So the tables are turned.  This sorry story in fact demonstrates our inability to influence events, and the EU’s inability to deliver meaningful reform.

David Davis: “Staying in the EU will destroy British Jobs”

We’ve been making this case for months, but well done David Davis for getting it into the headlines (and see the Tata Steel story below).

Gordon Brown claims that only the EU can control British immigration (!)

I heard Gordon Brown speak in Brussels yesterday, where he made wild claims for the benefits of EU membership.  But this is surely the wildest – that the EU can help us control immigration.  What planet is he on?

S&P claim that Brexit could affect the Pound’s reserve currency status

It’s difficult to see why.  As I have argued before, we are the world’s fifth largest economy, and performing if not well, then at least better than our neighbours, whereas the €uro is facing existential threats.  It seems to me that Brexit is a greater threat to the credibility of the EU – and therefore to the €uro – than it is to the Pound

WTO: “Britain would face difficult trade talks after Brexit”.

The WTO warns that the UK will face difficult trade negotiations after Brexit. They have clearly been drawn in to the establishment group-think on the issue (and expect more of the same from the Prime Minister’s current G7 talks in Japan .  There is an overwhelming economic imperative for the EU to reach a trade deal with an independent UK, whereas for the existing trade deals via the EU with third countries, it is realistic to expect that those deals will simply be “grandfathered” in their entirety into bilateral deals. That’s the win-win solution, and I anticipate that most trading partners will agree.

Allister Heath: “Brexit will make us richer”

We shall be Better Off Out, in terms of jobs, wages and growth.  This is a must-read for Leave campaigners.

Tata rescue under threat

The Times reports that the proposed Tata sale of Port Talbot is under threat.  (See above – the EU is destroying UK jobs).  EU membership has contributed mightily to the demise of Port Talbot in at least three ways: high energy prices; the EU’s utter failure to put in place anti-dumping measures (in contrast to the USA’s robust and timely reaction to Chinese dumping); and the prohibition on State Aid, which could at least have helped Port Talbot through a transition.

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VOTE LEAVE TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON

VOTE LEAVE TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON

By James H. Bush

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  • By 2023 British power station generating capacity will only be 33.5 GW if we remain in the EU, 40% lower than peak demand and less than half British capacity in 2012. So if we stay in the EU blackouts will become a daily reality, especially in winter.
  • This is because the EU is forcing the closure of our coal-fired power stations. Already 12.6 GW of capacity has been lost and the remaining 16.4 GW will be closed by 2023. From 2019 onwards we will also lose 5.6 GW of nuclear capacity as the older reactors reach end of life.
  • No new power station construction is underway and nor has final sanction been given to any new power stations.
  • Energy policy is under the control of the EU. The three key EU energy directives are:
  • Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD)
  • Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) which replaced LCPD on 1st January 2016.
  • Renewables Energy Directive (RED)
  • The renewables directive has forced the government to promote windmills, but they only produce electricity when the wind blows – regardless of demand. As the electricity they produce cannot be stored they make no contribution to meeting demand.
  • The EU’s crippling of our power station capacity is helpfully explained in an informative article at:

http://www.leave.eu/news/2016-05-06/the-three-eu-directives-crippling-british-energy-and-manufacturing

Printed and promoted by James H. Bush of 15 Sutton Crescent, Barton Under Needwood, DE13 8FE

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Speech at the All Party Climate Change Group at the House of Commons, May 24th 2016

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APPCCG Climate/Brexit Debate

House of Commons, May 24th

“Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m very happy to be here at this debate today, and I thank the All Party Group for their invitation.

I’d like to start by addressing two of the clichés — indeed the canards — that invariably come up in any debate about the EU and the environment.

The first is: “We have to thank the EU for clean beaches” … or for employment rights, or health and safety, or whatever.

Maybe I can remind you that most countries in the world are not in the EU. Most countries in the world don’t want to be in the EU. Most countries in the world are performing better in economic terms than the EU. And most countries (or at least most advanced countries) have cleaned up their environments, and their beaches, in recent decades.

But the fact is that we gave up the right to set our own environment and employment policies to Brussels. So of course they make our rules about clean beaches. But no one can doubt that an independent UK would also have pursued similar policies.

If you doubt that, you are doubting democracy, and you are doubting the British people.

The second canard: “Pollution doesn’t respect national boundaries”. Of course that’s true. But it doesn’t respect the boundaries of the EU, either. A ton of CO2 released on Shanghai has exactly the same effect, globally, as a ton of CO2 released in Sheffield.

So the “pollution and national boundaries” line may be an argument for global agreements on these issues, but it does not argue for an EU policy.

May I also clarify one further point — because I have no doubt that if I don’t raise it, someone else will.

We in my party take the view that the impacts of human activity on global climate have been obsessively, indeed hysterically exaggerated, and we believe that the rather small changes in mean global temperatures over the last century or so are entirely consistent with well-understood, long-term, natural climate cycles.

However I recognise that this view is unlikely to be well received in this room today. So although I should be happy to defend it, I am prepared, for the purposes of this debate, to assume the orthodox position on climate and CO2.

I will therefore not argue against the theory of man-made climate change. Instead, I will argue that EU climate policies are failing in their own terms, and doing more harm than good.

I will argue that we are forcing up energy prices. We are undermining British and European competitiveness. We are jeopardising our energy security. We are driving energy-intensive businesses offshore, taking their jobs and their investment with them.

Frequently these industries move to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, thus arguably increasing emissions.

First of all, energy prices. The EU has higher energy prices than major competitors like the USA, China or India — and thanks to George Osborne, the UK has higher energy prices than most EU countries.

Energy prices are driven in large part by excessive reliance on renewables, which are intermittent and thus impose massive costs and inefficiencies onto the grid.

One of the many paradoxes of the renewables business is this: that on the one hand, they claim grid parity, while on the other, they admit that they cannot operate without subsidies.

But the explanation is simple. The electricity provided from a wind turbine may be approaching grid parity. But that fails to account for all the knock-on effects. We have the capital cost of duplicating the capacity to provide the back-up; of adapting the grid to accommodate intermittency; of operating back-up plants below capacity, necessitating a whole new layer of subsidy, called “capacity payments”.

And beyond that is the fact that the back-up (typically gas) actually runs less efficiently when it is intermittent, so that the costs, the gas consumption — and the emissions — per unit of output are higher than if they were run properly. So some of the supposed benefits of renewables are dissipated in the back-up.

Then energy security. In an important paper recently, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers estimated that the UK would have a short-fall of 40 to 50% in generating capacity be 2025. Why? Because the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive is closing down perfectly good coal-fired power stations — and because while Germany is building new coal capacity, our UK government is running scared of the green lobby.

And also because much of our nuclear fleet is close to end-of-life.

But also for another reason: regulatory uncertainty. I myself have sat in innumerable meetings in Brussels where discussion has centred on tweaking the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, with the deliberate objective of increasing the cost of energy, and making matters worse.

The rules, the subsidies are constantly changing, and are designed to disincentivise base-load energy production. Massive regulatory uncertainty is standing in the way of investment. No one will put up the capital for a new gas-fired power-plant to run at 35% capacity. We have created an environment where investment in major new energy infrastructure ranges from difficult to impossible. Think Hinkley C.

So, we turn to competitiveness. Energy prices played a major rôle in the demise of Port Talbot, though of course the dilatory approach of the European Commission to anti-dumping measures played a major part, in stark contrast to the USA’s timely and robust response to Chinese steel.

As Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has remarked, a third major factor at Port Talbot was EU State Aid rules, which she says are a problem with almost all major energy decisions in the UK.

But it’s not just steel. In the last decade we’ve seen a dozen aluminium smelters lost in Europe, with a couple in Britain. This as the market for aluminium grows. Imports are up, hurting our balance of payments.

Chemicals and fertilisers; dozens of plants have closed. Jim Ratcliffe of INEOS says there’ll be no chemicals industry in the EU in ten years if we keep pursuing current policies. And again, imports go up.

Petrochemicals refining: petrol and diesel refineries are closing, and more and more refined petroleum products are imported. Paper and pulp. Glass and cement. The glass industry showed me a map, showing plant closures across the EU — and new factories to serve the EU market in peripheral countries — North Africa, Turkey, Ukraine.

It’s the same story across all energy-intensive industries. It’s no wonder that former Industry Commissioners Antonio Tajani said “We are creating an industrial massacre in Europe”, and former Energy Commissioner Gűnther Oettinger said “Europe can’t carry on with a unilateral climate policy”.

So finally, to the proposition that I hope will make you all sit up and pay attention. We are arguable increasing global CO2 emissions. There is anecdotal evidence from the steel industry that steel made in China implies double the CO2 emissions of steel made in the EU. That is why at the beginning of my remarks I contrasted Shanghai with Sheffield.

But if you don’t like anecdotal evidence from industry, there is the report commissioned by DECC itself, from a reputable consultancy, showing that imported refined petroleum products imply 35% higher CO2 emissions than similar products refined in Europe.

We may have successfully reduced emissions within the geographical boundaries of the EU, but as we remarked earlier, pollution doesn’t respect national boundaries — or EU boundaries. The emissions for which we in Europe are responsible are actually going up.

The irony is that in the US — that irresponsible country that failed to ratify Kyoto — emissions are in fact going down. Not because of enthusiasm for renewables, but by the simple and economically effective expedient of switching form coal to gas. We could have done that, but we chose to misallocate resources on a centuries-old technology — wind.

In short, we have an EU policy which is undermining competitiveness, closing plants, forcing jobs and investment to move offshore — while actually increasing CO2 emissions.

It is a lose-lose policy.

After Brexit, we shall at least be free to adopt a more rational approach — though we will have to educate our political class to understand the problem, and the solution.”

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Daily Debrief May 25th

29 days to Independence Day!

Migrant crisis returns

Under a headline “Is this why Cameron is dodging TV debates?”, the Mail reports that the migrant crisis is back with a vengeance, after Italian authorities picked up 2600 migrants in one night (and, of course, brought them to Europe – doing the traffickers’ job for them). The paper makes a direct link between the migrant crisis and Cameron’s reluctance to debate the issues.  He has no answers to the open borders question, and he knows it’s a key issue.

“Brexit surge leaves pro-Brussels politicians very worried”

An interesting comment from the BBC’s Nicholas Watt on Newsnight: he says that pro-Brussels politicians are “very worried” about what he calls the “Brexit surge”. Certainly the weakening opinion polls seem way out of line with our experience on the ground and on the doorstep, where it can be difficult to find voters who want to Remain.  Here’s hoping that Mr. Watt has called it right.

IFS warns of “more austerity”

I had thought better of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, but they’ve chosen to join the establishment chorus in Project Fear, warning that Brexit could lead to “two years of austerity”.  Perhaps they’re trying to out-bid Osborne’s “year of recession”.

The fact is that all these diverse warnings are based on one assumption – that the Pound will devalue.  There is absolutely no reason to suppose that this will happen – and if it does, the reason will quite simply be that major figures have spent months insisting that it will happen.  If this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, a heavy burden of blame will lie at the doors of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.

We need to understand that the EU is all about costs, not benefits.  The direct EU budget costs.  The regulatory costs.  The costs of the Common External Tariff, which increases prices on imports.  The vast misallocation of resources (for example on the EU’s wind farm obsession).  And the benefits?  Clearly there is a trade benefit in duty-free market access.  But since the EU is the UK’s largest export customer, and the UK will be the EU’s largest export customer, there is an overwhelming economic imperative that trade should continue.  Which is why we can be sure that we will get a free trade deal with the EU after we leave.

Britain’s aid budget rises 144% in ten years

The Daily Mail suggests that we in Britain are becoming “the mugs of the world”, as we continue to hose ever more borrowed money around (frequently to countries that don’t need it, like India and China).  Other papers also carry the story. We are burdening our grandchildren with debt so that our politicians can do gesture politics and “virtue signalling” on a grand scale.  It’s easy to be generous with other people’s money.  When will our politicians come to their senses?

Generals for Brexit: “Britain will be forced to join EU Army”

A group of military top brass makes a strong case that Britain’s armed forces have been weakened and made less effective by EU membership.  The Express quotes a line from the Lisbon Treaty which talks about a duty of “on-going structured military cooperation”, and argues that this amounts to a commitment to an EU Army. I have no doubt that the ECJ would interpret it in those terms – this is the way that “ever closer union” comes about.  So when Cameron tries to redeem his pledge that we’re exempt from “ever closer union”, the reply will be “But you already signed up to this measure at Lisbon”.

The Mail also carries the story. Interestingly one of these generals is Sir Michael Rose, whose name was included (despite his strong reservations) in an early pro-Remain letter.

Universities urge students to vote to Remain

Several major Universities have written to students urging them to vote for Remain, apparently in breach of Electoral Commission rules requiring bodies with charitable status to refrain from campaigning.  It’s quite clear that they have European funding in mind.  And extraordinary that they can’t understand that we will have more money to invest in education and research when we stop sending £10 billion a year (net) to Brussels.

“Youth appeals from both sides fail”

Under the headline “Who EU kiddin?”, the Metro reports that campaigns aimed at young people by both Leave and Remain have backfired.  Remain has produces a right-on video (“Get votin so you can keep workin. Keep Chattin, keep Roamin, Keep Ravin””). This is rightly seen by young people as a mite patronising.  On the other hand the problem cited for the Leave campaign seems less serious – Alesha Dixon pulls out of a scheduled concert appearance.  A pity, but not a game-changer.

“Breakthrough on Greek Debt Deal”

Or as my old mother used to say, “Pull the other one”.  The EU institutions are desperate to postpone the next Greek debt flare-up until June 24th.  So right on cue, we have the assurance that a new tranche of debt has been agreed (remember this will never be repaid, so it’s deliberately misleading to call it a loan).  The EU and the IMF appear to have agreed to “debt forgiveness” (this means writing it off), but the devil is in the detail – no one has agreed when, or how much, or who takes the hit.  This story will run and run (until the €uro breaks up).

Hinkley C crisis deepens

City AM reports that the crisis over the new nuclear plant at Hinkley C has deepened. They’re saying that there is “zero probability” that the plant can be completed by 2025.  There is even some doubt that French contractor EDF can finance the deal, since the cost may exceed its capital.

And the link to Brexit?  There are many reasons for the crisis in the UK’s nuclear industry, starting with the failure of governments over decades to maintain a nuclear programme, and Gordon Brown’s catastrophic decision to sell Westinghouse (he made a bad job of selling our gold reserves, too).  But the hopeless regulatory uncertainty surrounding EU/UK energy policy has created a climate in which investment in major energy infrastructure ranges from difficult to impossible.  Hinkley C appears to be moving to the impossible end of the scale.

 

 

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Daily Debrief May 24th

30 days to Independence Day!

Cameron/Osborne doomathon provokes a fierce back-lash

Yesterday’s papers featured the Treasury report on Brexit and the hysterical claims of Cameron and Osborne about the consequences of Brexit – a recession, house prices slashed, food prices increased, half a million jobs lost.  Today, the backlash.  The Sun’s front page is punchy if not polite: “Brexit doom dossier fury: NEVER MIND THE BO!!OCKS!”, reporting that two junior ministers (unnamed) have threatened to quit.  Bernard Jenkin was cutting: “Ministers are dishonestly talking down this country’s prospects”.  Cameron and Osborne are about saving their careers, not about saving the country.

The Mail headlines “Knives out for Cameron”, adding “Tories threaten no-confidence vote over PM’s shabby scaremongering”.

George Osborne has been repeating his claim that Brexit would especially impact the lower-paid.  He seems blissfully unaware of the wage compression caused by EU immigration, or the job losses happening right now because of EU policies.

The Leave Campaign responds. Arron Banks described the forecasts as “laughable and beneath contempt”, adding that “The Treasury will pump out whatever its master asks for”.  Distinguished economist Patrick Minford said: “At the heart of the Treasury calculations lies a serious attempt to deceive the British people”.

Pretty much all of these claims are based on the proposition that the pound will fall sharply after Brexit.  I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: the Pound looks to me a much better bet that the dysfunctional €uro.

Remain edging ahead?

The Telegraph has an “exclusive poll” showing a lead for Remain, and worryingly suggests that key demographics who have supported Leave – older people, men, Tory voters – may be softening. It would hardly be surprising if the apocalyptic headlines of recent days had not had some effect.  We have four weeks left to help the public understand quite how hysterical and unreal the Remain threats have been.

…but housewives swing to Leave

The Express reports a Netmums poll showing a 46%/37% lead for Leave, with mothers expressing concern over the impact of the EU on family life – wage pressures, immigration impact on schools and hospitals – as well as worries over security and terrorism.

UK’s EU presidency after Brexit vote!

In the course of the EU’s farcical revolving six-month Presidency (which is partly responsible for the hyperactivity of the EU institutions), the UK’s turn in the Chair is scheduled for July/December 2017. This raises the intriguing possibility that the UK could hold the Presidency after we have voted to leave – since we shall remain members for the two years of the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 negotiating period.  The government, in any case, has a team working on plans for the UK Presidency.  Somehow I don’t see us doing the job after a Brexit vote.

Austria: Freedom Party pipped at the post

After an amazingly close election, the Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hoffer has failed, by a few thousand votes, to gain the Presidency of Austria. Hofer was ahead by 3.8% after the ballot boxes were counted, but the postal votes, counted later, just barely swung it for his opponent.  Nonetheless for an anti-Brussels party with a robust policy on immigration to come so close is a remarkable achievement.  Austria may never be quite the same.

“A marriage made in hell”

Roger Bootle is a distinguished economist and  Chairman of Capital Economics.  In Monday’s Telegraph he writes a telling critique of the EU’s €uro project, describing it graphically as ” a marriage made in hell”. He outlines the damage it has done in southern Europe, with a lost generation of young people out of work who may never have employment opportunities.  But he adds that the €uro has done no favours to Germany, which has run up an enormous current account surplus, obliging other eurozone states to run corresponding deficits.

He argues that the UK will be impacted by monetary union if we vote to Remain.  If the €uro survives, it will require members to move to full fiscal and political union – leaving the UK in an anomalous position, a permanent junior partner.  If the €uro collapses, we’re bound to be caught in the cross-fire.  We can’t rely on promises that we won’t be involved in a bail-out.  What if Brussels simply increases the EU budget to cope with the crisis?  His conclusion: “In the event of a euro collapse, we would be better placed if we were outside the EU”.  Amen to that.

New Greek loans?

The BBC reports that EU Finance Ministers are meeting to finalise plans for new Greek loans. But everyone knows that Greece can never repay its debts, so there will be no “new loans”.  Any money advanced will be, in effect, a gift.  A grant.  Or is you want, call it a bad debt.

The EU institutions are desperate to delay the outbreak of “Greek Crisis” headlines until after June 23rd.  I wonder why?

Turkey sending only “sick and ill-educated” Syrians to Europe

A remarkable report in the Telegraph claims that Turkish authorities are deliberately selecting sick and uneducated Syrians to send to Europe, while keeping capable and educated migrants in Turkey. We already understood that the EU/Turkey migrant deal was disastrously counter-productive.  Now it gets worse.

Green light for shale gas

Many of the papers report the decision in favour of shale gas prospecting in Yorkshire.We must be aware of public concern on the issue (fanned by black propaganda from publicly-funded green lobby groups), and must ensure that the industry is properly regulated and controlled.  Nonetheless shale gas could play a key rôle in supporting energy security and economic growth in an independent Britain.

 

 

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