Post-Referendum Debrief July 29th

Hinkley Point C: Electric shock (or nuclear accident?)

Yesterday at the end of a nail-biting process involving disputes and resignations, French power company EDF, backed by the French Government, finally agreed to the terms for the development of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station – billed as “the most expensive power plant in the world”.

And the British government, which has been pressing for the deal which it has said is vital to Britain’s future energy supply (and – so help us – to meeting Britain’s “climate targets”), has announced that it needs more time to think, and may decide in the autumn.  The energy industry is stunned and uncomprehending. The French and Chinese governments are shocked (though so far courteous).  Let’s think through the details.

Do we need new generating capacity? Emphatically Yes.  We have coal-fired power stations closing with the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, and ageing nuclear power stations reaching the end of their lives.

Do we need nuclear?  Yes we do.  We need a mix of energy technologies.  At the moment, with fossil fuel prices at historic lows, nuclear looks expensive.  But this is a sixty-year project.  Fossil fuel prices won’t remain low for sixty years.  While nuclear capacity is very expensive to build, it then delivers reliable base-load power at low and predictable prices.

Won’t renewables fill the gap?  No.  While claims are made for the “low cost” of renewables, these claims ignore the massive costs and inefficiencies which intermittent and unpredictable generation places on the grid, starting with back-up, and running through to grid redesign, and financial support for gas-fired back-up run uneconomically.  The higher the percentage of intermittent power, the greater the grid imbalance problems become.  One day, maybe, we shall have very large-scale electricity storage, and renewables may become viable.  Right now they’re a non-starter.  We have to have base-load capacity – coal, gas or nuclear.

Is Hinkley a good deal?  No. The strike price is eye-watering, and the project imposes massive costs on industry and households for decades to come.  But the government was forced into this position by (A) the loss of our civil nuclear capacity in the UK – we’ve allowed it to wither on the vine, with no new plants for decades, and (B) Gordon Brown selling off Westinghouse leaving us without a nuclear industry (remember Brown also sold our gold reserves at the bottom of the market).

Regulatory uncertainty: There’s another reason why it’s difficult to find investors for major energy infrastructure projects, and that’s regulatory uncertainty.  Who’d want to undertake an £18 billion, sixty-year investment when every new Chancellor and Energy Minister comes up with new wheezes, and Angela Merkel can close down the whole German nuclear fleet on a whim?  It is vital we reach a consensus on a long-term nuclear commitment (I’d suggest one new power station should be started every two years), with a consistent, stable and reliable regulatory structure.  Right now, the government finds it has only one possible supplier, and that supplier needs a massive guaranteed price to justify the regulatory and other risks.

Chinese financing: Are we happy with it?  Does it impose security risks?  No and yes.  But we have few choices.  We need the massive funding, and EDF plus the Chinese are prepared to offer it.  There is however one alternative: the government can borrow long-term at extraordinarily low rates.  I hate nationalisation, but maybe this is a project too big for the private sector (and arguably with French and Chinese government backing, it’s not private sector at all).

How do France and China feel about this new delay?  They seem to be being polite right now, but they must be shocked and perhaps angry.  We plead for their support, then kick them in the teeth when it is offered.

A government paralysed?

Theresa May started so well, stamping her authority on the body politic.  But that reputation is starting to crumble as the government seems unable to make a decision.  London’s airport decision: delayed.  Hinkley Point decision: delayed.  Article 50 invocation: delayed.  Watch it, Theresa.  You’re starting to look pusillanimous and indecisive.  This is particularly critical in the post-Brexit environment when we want to show that Britain is going places, is open for business, and is a great place to invest.  In particular we want to show that we’re keen to maintain business links with our neighbours, even though we’re leaving their political union.  Cooperation with France would be a great way to demonstrate that.  This latest wobble comes at a very bad time, and sends all the wrong signals.

Theresa May: “I’ll get the best EU deal”:  The Express devotes its front page to the Prime Minister’s claim that she’ll get “the best deal” – despite her dilatory approach to Article 50.  She places special emphasis on immigration, and trade deals.  But she needs to understand that no one will believe we are serious, and many on both sides of the Atlantic will not enter serious and substantive negotiations, until we put our cards (and Article 50) on the table.  The Americans have said that. Brussels has said it.  We can’t expect major powers to devote time and resource to major trade negotiations on a “What if?” basis.  Bite the bullet, Theresa.  Make a decision for once.

Merkel: No going back on open door immigration

Angela Merkel is in “Hear no evil” mode.  Ignoring the very justified concerns of the German people – including crime, terrorism and widespread sexual assaults, in addition to overcrowding and the impact on social cohesion – she insists on pressing ahead with her open-door policy.  She fails to understand that democracy involves paying at least some attention to the legitimate concerns of constituents.  She is also imposing a burden on Europe – since these immigrants will never return – so they will eventually, one way of another, gain German/EU citizenship and be allowed to travel where they choose.

“They’ll go home after the war”:  Merkel has apparently sought to reassure German voters that Syrian refugees will go home after the war is over.  Hands up anyone who finds this credible.  No one?  I thought not.

31 in a house:  Meantime back in Britain, the Express reports that thirty-one migrants have been found living in a single house in Brent.  I think this is what we call “Pressure on social infrastructure”.  It’s not an isolated case – the Express quotes a number of examples.

Financial Times economic analysis

In a piece entitled “Earnings expose stark divide in post-Brexit slow-down”, the FT moderates its normal “Project Fear” positioning to admit that there are winners and losers, and that exporters, and manufacturers of essentials, are doing well. Good to have a more balanced view from the FT.

IMF apologises for its “disastrous love affair with the €uro”

Ambrose Evans Pritchard writes that the IMF is having a fit of “Mea Culpa” after its disastrous interventions over the €uro.  Christine Lagarde and her predecessors had such blind faith in the €uro currency that they had no plan to deal with a €uro crisis, and their ad hoc response attracted criticism around the world.  Oh well – there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth.  Until the next time.  Lagarde still doesn’t understand that the €uro, and the EU project, are doing more harm than good.

“Blatant Hate”

There has been a reported rise in the level of “hate crimes” against foreigners post-Brexit – though we have to see this in the light of (A) the very broad definition of hate crimes, which now seems to include wolf-whistles; and (B) the probability of higher reporting levels in a post-Brexit context.  But the Indy has no doubt, with Adam Lusher laying the blame fair and square on Brexit, and implying that a desire for independence and self-determination is intrinsically xenophobic and racist. Let’s say it again: UKIP condemns verbal and physical abuse against anyone on grounds of nationality or ethnicity.  UKIP’s points-based immigration proposal is less discriminatory than our current UK/EU immigration policy.

May reassures Poles in the UK

On a more positive note, we welcome the Prime Minister’s reassurance to Poles living and working in the UK.  The Leave campaign always insisted that EU citizens legally resident in the UK before the referendum would be protected, and has been disappointed that Theresa May would not endorse that commitment, preferring to keep EU citizens in the UK in reserve as bargaining chips in future EU negotiations, disregardless of the anxiety and distress she was causing to millions of people.  She has now, however, reassured Poles in the UK that their residence status will be protected, at the same time condemning (as we do) racially or nationally motivated attacks.  I’m not sure where that leaves the bargaining chips.

We in UKIP have always been particularly positive about our Polish neighbours, remembering their unstinting service in the Second World War, and the Polish cemeteries in Eastern England – not to mention their 21st century reputation as conscientious and reliable employees.

Branson’s five-point plan

Sir Richard Branson has written a five-point plan for Britain’s economy.  He seems to have come to terms with Brexit, simply calling for a liberal trade settlement (with which we can all agree).  And his five points generally make perfectly good sense.  Worth a read.

“Freeze on hiring men”

In a burst of politically correct social planning, the European Commission has said that it will put a freeze on hiring men if its gender targets are not reached.

 

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26 Responses to Post-Referendum Debrief July 29th

  1. ian wragg says:

    We don’t need financing from anyone Roger. We could cancel the ludicrously expensive HS2 and use that money to build our own plant using UK companies. We still have Rolls Royce building reactors for the Navy and we could get some very fine packaged plants for less money.
    Whilst in principle I have no problem with any EU nationals staying after Brexit, anyone arriving after 23rd June wouold not be entitled and in work benefits, social housing and child benefits should not be available to non UK citizens.

    • Martin Reed says:

      Exactly. The only reason for HS2 is to suck up to Brussels’s, to their plan for a high speed rail vanity project which will have to be hugely subsidised by every taxpayer. Yet it will only be used by a tiny fraction of the population. If anything rather than revitalising the North of England it will have precisely the opposite effect and centralise the economy on the South more than ever. There are many other far more cost effective ways the rail network could be improved, although whether we should be hugely subsidising this 19th century technology in this the 21st century is a moot point in itself. Anyway if we are to say goodbye to the EU we have absolutely no need for it. Nor come to think of it other EU inspired white elephants such as smart electricity meters, and water meters – more than £20 Bn down the drain in themselves. And then there’s Foreign Aid. And subsidising uselessly unreliable wind and day time only solar which isn’t even economically viable in Spain. I could go on.

      • rtj1211 says:

        You are clearly so ignorant as to be a national embarrassment.

        1. HS2’s primary purpose is to address the capacity constraints on WCML, coming not insignificantly due to increased rail freight business.
        2. The effect of HS2 will be to increase capacity on WCML, including major increases in commuter capacity from Northampton and points closer to Euston.
        3. It is not an EU project and all of you who keep lying about this would do well to be sued in court to teach you that lying for the sake of lying is unacceptable. A framework for HSR was laid down by the EU, simply to ensure that if HSR were built it would be capable of transnational service, which is a simple basic piece of self-interest for the countries of Europe. There is no legal framework whatever obliging anyone to invest in HSR. If you say there is, you are a liar and deserve to be put in prison to teach you the effects of continuous lying about this matter.
        4. One of HS2’s great benefits will be to make access to the capital and to Heathrow airport from the North of England much more accessible. One way to ensure Heathrow has more landing slots is to remove the need for domestic flights through HSR. So you can consider the costs saved in limiting the requirements for Heathrow expansion through removal of most if not all domestic flights from places south of Leeds and Manchester, who currently need to access a lot of international flights from Heathrow as no direct flights exist from the North of England. You will no doubt be aware that most in the NE don’t bother with the UK, they simply fly to Schiphol.
        5. All the HS2 detractors can be split into two camps:
        i. Those that consider the North of England to be a wasteland to be abandoned as only the SE of England matters.
        ii. Those so ignorant that they blether alternative solutions which have been comprehensively ruled out years ago by the professional industry consultants who costed the alternatives and proved them to be ineffective, more expensive or incompatible with required specifications.

        Now if you lot would actually educate yourselves about the facts of HS2, it would be a help. Arguments based on facts not lies, please.

        Arguments stronger than implying that the entire 7 year construction phase of HS2 will see one small area having never-ending lorry loads passing on local roads. I know it’s very difficult to tell the truth if you live in the SE of England, but try.

        Start by telling us how many of you are aiding in money laundering, either of assets purloined by Eastern Oligarchs to be invested in London property, or those of you laundering the proceeds of the opium/heroin trade through the London legal- and financial services sector.

        Ask why you don’t demand that the drug dealers invest their money in UK infrastructure as the quid pro quo for laundering it.

        Ooh: they might launder it somewhere else…..

        Well: it doesn’t put London in a very strong negotiating position being the world’s premier money launderer, does it??

        Why should a bunch of spineless crooks demand never-ending favours??

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    “31 in a house”
    Thats perhaps a high number….so gets the headlines. However, the London councils are having to dig a lot of this out. And some of us are constantly complaining to the councils about it, so its not new by a long way…just that number.

    It concerns me because I can see it in Greenwich and its not hard to see either. I simply watch a property switch to BTL and I know whats going to happen next…a lot of people with kids turn up and not a lot of them go away. It gets very noisy…. immediately!

    Then think about the other City’s. Or watch the TV series Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away see Youtube for episodes

    But hey ho…who really gives a ****

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Hinkley stuff…here’s Paul Homewood on it: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/

    4) Finally, why do the BBC insist on including comments from the likes of Greenpeace, whenever energy issues are raised. They are not qualified to comment on such matters any more than my dog is.

    If you doubt this, simply weigh up the logic of this statement:

    “Countless experts have warned that for British families this power station will be terrible value for money. More investment was needed for renewable energy like offshore wind”

    So paying £100/MWh for nuclear power that is available on demand is terrible value, yet paying the Dudgeon wind farm £159/MWH for offshore wind power, the contract price agreed at the latest CfD auction, for power that is not even available much of the time, is eminently sensible!

    FFS !!

  4. Dung says:

    Almost all our energy problems stem from the Climate Change Act and until it is repealed, the government will continually be forced to make daft decisions on energy generation.
    Roger CO2 does not, has not and will never affect global temperature and neither is it in any way a pollutant so can we stop talking about clean energy?
    It is not possible for the UK to affect global warming in either direction, not because we are too small (although that is true) but because of decisions made by other countries about how they will power their own economies. However we are shackled to and by the above mentioned act written by a young graduate with a degree in English whose only connection with climate knowledge was membership of Friends of the Earth.
    We need a PM with common sense and balls!

    • ian wragg says:

      Hopefully that’s what Mr’s. May is displaying. lets hope she cancels the whole shooting match and gets some CCGT plants on stream within 2 years and leases them to operating companies.
      Let’s hope she is just as robust with Brexit meaning Brexit.

  5. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Alcohol crackdown at UK airports after boozy Brits wreak havoc…..in the name of what, oh common sense – well, I never?
    https://www.rt.com/uk/353882-alcohol-airport-drunken-passengers/

    And I guess the idiots are still flying it in the holds?

    Was at Brum Airport last week. The very overcrowded version. People sitting outside the Terminals eating and I suppose drinking stuff. Almost like a day at the old Fairs. Not clever really, apart from the alcohol was the heavy stink of jet exhaust they sat amongst. Aircraft are about 80 mtrs away on the other side of the Terminal building…la.la.la.la.la!

  6. Dung says:

    Colin

    I hold an opposite view, 250,000,000 people fly from or into the UK every year and only a few hundred cause a problem. It is wrong to stop all those who drink just because a few hundred cause the problem, better to toughen up the sanctions on the guilty IMHO ^.^

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Dung,
      I understand that. I come from an Air Force background and which obviously did not permit it on safety grounds. Same as smoking on the flights. Came to me as common sense.

      Its said that air travel has been made available to the masses because its cheap…oh ok then. The problems start right there and eventually will bring an outright ban. Penalties…do they work really?

  7. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Iv’e mostly thought London was the main problem. Its the mentals in Brum now or the spread from London likely:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/islamic-street-preacher-arrested-after-8519203#ICID=sharebar_twitter

    Think the police (and us) got it wrong here:
    “People absolutely have the right in law to freedom of speech and visitors to Birmingham city centre will regularly hear people offering their opinion on a wide range of topics”

    The business of mouthing off in public I don’t think is a right. Hardly speech is it? People need to go about their business without that cackle directed at them. Choudary and his idiots do that in S. London particularly where families are shopping etc. You always feel you need to get away quickly which messes with what you are trying to do.

    They should hire some hall or field (whatever) and spout off there.

  8. Dung says:

    Colin

    Hiring a hall or a field is ducking the issue, the problem is that Islam is incompatible with our way of life and I do not care how politically incorrect it is to say that. Government in the UK is off the rails completely on this issue, government is not elected to tell us what to think, Democracy is about the Government reflecting our views not trying to change them.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      I’ve reported it before in S. London to a Tory MP who is suddenly a Trade Minister. He ducked that issue and attempted to get me to go filming this stuff. Despite the fact I linked him to the street cackle game on Youtube. It was harassment of a UK cop by Choudary and his street cackle brothers.

      Ducking it is not really my game…being made aware of lack of support as above I have to step back a bit. I have to…. and while they laugh at us constantly.

  9. Roger Turner says:

    I`ve read all the comments above re the Hinckley Point delay and there`s a lot of sense in all the comments, including Roger`s assertion that St Theresa is showing classic signs of dithering.
    When I first heard the news of the delay, before I read Roger`s article, my first reaction was
    Oh Goody!, she has established a negotiating position with the French government on BRexit; if they want this contract so much, then they will have to be a little less frosty about our negotiating requirement of TOTAL BRexit, particularly cross border migration and our continued unpenalised membership of the single market.
    I`d also be looking into this aircraft carrier and defence stitch up as well!!!

  10. Tony says:

    I very much wish it was true that May had guaranteed the rights of Polish and other EU citizens living in the UK. Unfortunately all she said was that she wanted to do so but would not until she had confirmation that UK citizens living in the EU would be guaranteed their rights too. In other words she still proposes to use people as bargaining chips.

    I know several EU nationals living here who are now terrified for their future and feel extremely unwelcome in the UK. And there are around 3 million others. I don’t know specifics about the hostility that it may have stirred up but I can imagine, unlike some of those in the Westminster bubble. It doesn’t take too much imagination for example to see how this could be taken up by children, who can sometimes be particularly vicious, as a playground taunt about deportation.

    To clarify, I’m a member of UKIP (though not a spokesman) and I absolutely agree with UKIP and Leave that they should be given a full guarantee.

    Andrew Neil has previously been very sharp on the issue (e.g. Daily Politics Friday 8th July). So was Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph on the 7th July, who rightly pointed out that this sort of policy is BNP territory. He reckoned that Civil Servants had advised May and her team on the basis that no leverage should be thrown away prior to negotiation. Valid no doubt in abstract game theory but wrong headed in the real world. As well as probably being in violation of various treaties, it would cause such an outcry in Britain that it could never be used. So it is a bluff and only an idiot would march into negotiation brandishing such an obvious bluff. Of course the UK should support UK nationals abroad too but that should be kept separate.

    There is also a danger that as the revulsion sinks in I suspect people will, quite wrongly, associate this with Brexit and UKIP. And at least some sections of the press will be all too happy to go along with the narrative in order to sabotage Brexit.

  11. It’s a bad deal, full stop.

    …. Build mini modular distributed nuclear generation instead, in this country, and of course gas power stations.

  12. Francesca Macfarlane says:

    By the time Hinckley Point is up and running it will be out of date. China expects to be be generating its own electricity using the much safer and cheaper thorium molten salt reactors by 2030. See https://www.technologyreview.com/s/542526/china-details-next-gen-nuclear-reactor-program/

    • Martin Reed says:

      This is of course absolutely tragic. Oak Ridge originally pioneered this technology for the nuclear powered aircraft. When that was dropped they pushed for a civil power reactor programme but politics got in the way and it was shut down (disastrously) in favour of the fast breeder – which came to nothing. The Chinese were handed Oak Ridge’s work on a plate and are taking it to the next level, which is what the West could have done half a century ago. Yet the West continues to spend billions on the fusion project which is still, after fifty years of research, fifty years from commercial operation. But it’s a far greater technical challenge than the molten salt reactor running on thorium will ever be. Oak Ridge were well on the way to sorting out the basics of the nuclear engineering with a molten salt research reactor running successfully for years.

  13. mike5262015 says:

    I wonder what so many of the Government are doing with their time, because it is not their work !
    How is it possible for Muslims to establish ‘ No go areas.’ ? How come they have brought about their form of Courts ? How is it that there is even an Islamic Parliament ?
    I am a Christian, and very honoured to make that statement. My wish is for harmony and friendship with all faiths, but unlike all other faiths, Islam is fully out of step with us all. If you check the Qu’ran you will see many items from our Holly Bible, but there is one item you will never find in their book or on their lips. – ” I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father ( God ) but by me. ” John 14 vs 6. – So where does that leave Muhammed ?
    Guilt abounds in so many of us, for having Christianity in this Nation, but not turning that to real faith, and if we continue in this way, we will have our birthright torn from us. I’m not going to preach. – Go to Church for that. We have our Nation now out of the dominion of the E.U. – Would it not be sensible to go the distance, and bring back our Christian faith and honour ?

  14. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    Social insanity gripping the world today began with the 1945 decision to save the world from nuclear annihilation by hiding NEUTRON REPULSION, the source of energy in atomic bombs and in the Sun:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Good-Bad_NEUTRON_REPULSION.pdf

    Precise atomic rest mass measurements at Brookhaven Nat’l Lab of the 3,000 types of atoms that compromise all matter provide clear and irrefutable evidence for three powerful nuclear forces:

    1. Short-range, NEUTRON-PROTON ATTRACTION at Z/A ~ 0.5

    2. Long-range, PROTON-PROTON REPULSION at Z/A ~ 1 (Coulomb)

    3. Short-range, NEUTRON-NEUTRON REPULSION at Z/A ~ 0

  15. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    DREAMS & FEARS of nuclear energy in the last paragraph of F. W. Aston’s 1922 Nobel Lecture:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Dreams-Fears_NUCLEAR_ENERGY.pdf

  16. Richard111 says:

    Why won’t the dumbos in charge consider liquid thorium reactors? They tick all the boxes except protection from greenie luddites.

  17. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    Any competent nuclear scientist can confirm that NEUTRON REPULSION in the Sun’s pulsar core controls human destiny and Earth’s climate:

    http://www.omatumr.com/Photographs/Suns_core.htm

  18. rtj1211 says:

    I think what Branson says is sensible, however there appears to be significant pressure in the Right Wing SE to ensure that the North is abandoned in terms of rail infrastructure. They want their Crossrail II and all future infrastructure spending to be concentrated down here, after all.

  19. John Poynton says:

    The best regulatory basis for long term infrastructure investments is cap and collar profit regulation, for example 5% +/- 2.5%. That both gives the investor protection from loss (subsidy to make good returns below the collar) and the consumer protection from excessive profits (price cuts imposed if profits exceed the cap).

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