Staff Cuts are Not the Problem at the Environment AgencyWhistleblower: "Management Just Want to Expand Kingdom"

With slithering Chris Smith fighting for his job, the gloves are off and the cuts are being blamed for the fact that the Environment Agency is an over-staffed, badly managed graveyard for Labour figures of little note. 10% of the Environment Agency’s staff were cut, but that still leaves them with 11,200 pen pushers. Equivalent quangos in the rest of the world are much smaller, the Environment Agency for England alone has more staff than the Canadian, Danish, French, German, Swedish and Austrian equivalents. Combined. Only the US Environmental Protection Agency has more staff, (15,913 versus 11,200) hardly surprising given the US is some eighty times larger than the UK with six times the population. Last year this billion pound lefty-fest spent £395 million on staff (£592 million including pensions) compared to £219 million on capital projects, and just £20 million on maintaining rivers. More was spent on PR last year than on dredging – £2.7 million.

So what are the bosses up to? Well most of the board manage less than half-a-dozen days a month for their filthy lucre. Usually non-execs on boards have grey hairs and relevant knowledge and/or experience, yet this rule clearly does not apply to the EA. What is it that makes former Culture Secretary Chris Smith a suitable boss? When he’s not in charge of rivers and forests he’s a part time lecturer on the creative industries. Perhaps he could commission a play or a poetry reading to cheer up the people of Somerset. When he’s not wasting taxpayers money at the EA, he’s meddling over at the Advertising Standards Agency. Token Tory Peter Ainsworth was not a very good Shadow Defra minister and seems to be loitering around here while he holds out for that coveted Peerage. And what in Larry Whitty’s experience at the General Municipal Boilermakers & Allied Trade Union or as a former General Secretary of the Labour that qualified him for his seat on the board?

What exactly do all these staff do? One whistle-blower claims:

“it doesn’t help that 99% of the staff, mostly Environment and Flood Officers, refuse to do standby or volunteer to assist with flooding emergencies. This is despite it being in their contract. It leaves us undermanned and ill prepared, but managers won’t do anything about but claim they need to employ more staff. Really, management just want to expand their kingdoms”

As the Speccie leader this week says:

“Steadily, the Environment Agency has become a law unto itself. The idea behind its creation was to allow it to operate free from political interference. They now form a deeply politicised government in exile, with an incompetent but self-revering hierarchy that voters cannot dislodge. Nothing has more vividly conveyed the failure of the Environment Agency during this crisis than the lamentable public performances of its current chairman, the former Labour culture secretary Lord (Chris) Smith. His weak, half-shifty, half-arrogant interviews have shown him up to be a man wholly out of touch with the reality of the havoc his agency’s policies have wreaked. His blatherings about a choice between protecting ‘front rooms or farmland’ sums up his failure to understand the countryside, and the fact that most people have looked after both for generations. He is due to step down shortly, which is a shame: he ought to be fired for rank incompetence. But the reckoning should not stop there. It is now clear that the Environment Agency has become a threat to the countryside it was set up to serve. It ought to be dismantled, and its responsibilities shared out among smaller bodies which are much more obviously fit for purpose.”

It’s the drip, drip, drip that will get him.

Tim Yeo’s Greatest Hits

From leadership contender to loser in nine years, Tim Yeo bites the dust. Guido has been exposing his absenteeism and conflicts of interest for the best part of a decade. As far back as 2007 Guido reported his hypocrisy in lobbying for an end to unnecessary air travel as he flew around the world on golfing jollies. In 2010 Guido accused Yeo of using House of Commons banqueting facilities to wine and dine a group of environmental investors, while at the same time raising money for AFC Energy, a company of which he is the chairman. Yeo’s denial to Guido on Newsnight that it was “absolutely outrageous” is particularly amusing today.

Later that year Yeo put his name forward for the chairmanship of the Energy and Climate Change select committee. Guido warned at the time, “MPs look set to elect a man completely tied up with an industry that he would be responsible for the checks and balances on”. They didn’t listen.

By 2012, Yeo’s conflicts of interests were adding up. He was now earning over £100,000-a-year from his green investments as he lobbied the government to stop green cuts. Then there was Yeo’s dodgy taxi firm dealings – he resigned from the company when Guido started sniffing round – and his call for extra flights to China just as one of his companies signed a huge deal in the country.

2013 saw Yeo stung by the Sunday Times, offering to become a paid advocate for a fake firm for £7,000-a-day. The cops took an interest but Yeo survived. Though not for long…

Read all Guido’s stories on Tim Yeo, dating back to 2005, here.

SKETCH: Unsettling the “Settled Science” of Climate Change

The committee for Energy and Climate Change must be in line for an award. Its performance this week was exceptional.

The mental level of Yeo’s committee is – well, the climate debate is so rancorous let’s try for decorum.

Suffice it to say that John Robertson’s questioning would have been a credit to a clever dugong. Albert Owen nearly grasped the idea that that a Greenpeace activist in charge of an IPCC Chapter might lack objectivity. And Tim Yeo’s chairing was as good as a golf club captain in a Saturday night lock-in.

The committee had just received three mainstream climate workers and now, to say they had looked at all sides, they had three sceptics.

No doubt their sceptical remarks are contentious, their facts arguable and their conclusions unusual – but the three of them certainly gave the lie to the claim that “the science is settled”.

Continue reading

Yeo: Judge Me By My Record

Tim Yeo grimaced his way through an interview on the BBC News channel this morning, saying through gritted teeth that he was “quite happy to be judged on my record”. Worth taking a look at his career highlights then:

  • Forced to resign in disgrace in 1994 over a second love-child scandal, this time with a Conservative councillor, after he had told constituents: “It is in everyone’s interests to reduce broken families and the number of single parents. I have seen from my own constituency the consequences of marital breakdown.”
  • Failed in his bid to become Tory leader.
  • Golfing correspondent for Country Life and the Financial Times.
  • Became chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee despite company directorships at energy firms TMO Renewables, AFC Energy and ITI Energy, lobbying the government on green energy policy while earning thousands each month from green energy companies.
  • Hosted events on the Parliamentary Estate for green investments firms without properly declaring interests and refused to say if he took  a cut:
  • Exposed by an undercover Sunday Times investigation offering to coach an energy company boss for an appearance before his committee.
  • Spends all his time playing golf, ignoring his constituents in South Suffolk.

Judge away…

Vid via @liarpoliticians

Guy News Special: Al Gore’s Ice Crap Prediction

In 2009 Al Gore said the polar ice caps would melt away in five years time. In 2014 the main threat to the polar ice caps appears to be icebreakers rescuing stranded ships. 

Tee Time for Toby & Tim Observer Pol Ed Helm's Shared Love of Yeo's Green

Guido bumped into his old friend Tim Yeo last night who had ‘absolutely no comment to make to you’ about his dying career. He did however confirm something rather interesting about last week’s Observer. Political Editor Toby Helm penned a vainglorious piece about Yeo’s deselection, claiming it was all part of a wider conspiracy to turn back the clocks on Tory modernisation and silence the green agenda:

“It is known that some local Tories in Suffolk dislike Yeo’s enthusiasm for green issues and his support for gay marriage. He is also less strongly Euro-sceptic than some in the party, and makes the argument that the UK’s best interests lie with remaining in the EU.”

The flaws in the piece were immediately obvious. As a former Major minister (of the back to basics variety) Yeo was hardly the poster boy of Dave’s new model army and he only really cares about green issues that feather his nest. Had Helm picked up the phone to anyone in the South Suffolk constituency he would have known the reasons behind the deselection were to do with Yeo’s absenteeism. So who did Toby Helm speak to?

Well Yeo confirmed to Guido last night that he ‘regularly’ plays golf with Toby Helm. How cosy!

Curiously Yeo was an accompanied by a young lady who he introduced to people as his ‘Special Adviser’. Which is an oddity for a backbench MP…

Ed Davey’s Plane Stupid Air Travel Hypocrisy Climate Change Department Takes Two Domestic Flights a Day

Turbulent times for the tree-huggers over at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. They love to bash domestic air travel as one of the main culprits for carbon emissions, capping aviation emissions and ramping up tax on cheap holidays. The policy doesn’t come without its baggage though. Ed Davey’s department has blown £148,000 of taxpayers’ money on 668 domestic flights in the last year. That’s not far off two a day. Their friends in high places at DECC-linked public bodies have spent £163,000 on over 1,000 domestic flights. Clearly all that green hand-wringing didn’t really take off…

Labour Candidate Blames Green Ed for SSE Price Hike

Will Straw, Labour’s candidate in Rossendale & Darwen, let the cat out of the bag this afternoon by pointing out that the green taxes implemented when Green Ed was the Energy Secretary are the reason bills are soaring:

“They account for 16% of SSE rise”.

He added that ‘gas costs are 25%’, yet it is the green tax element that can be controlled: and ditched. 

Caroline Lucas Charged

“Following an investigation by Sussex police, the Crown Prosecution Service has received a file of evidence in relation to Ms Caroline Lucas MP, who was arrested during the anti-fracking demonstrations at the Cuadrillia drilling site in Balcombe last month.

After careful consideration, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Ms Lucas for breaching a police order on public assemblies and wilful obstruction of the highway.”

The headlines weren’t worth it.

Cable’s Ill Wind Blows £4.5 Million on Replacing Air Con That Made it Warmer

Vince Cable has wasted an almost unbelievable £4,582,264 of taxpayers’ money since 2010 on replacing an air conditioning system that hippies claim made the planet warmer. As Guido revealed in the Sun yesterday, BIS is trying to blame the European Union for the splurge. Bonkers Brussels directives have forced his department to throw out their old system on the grounds the coolant used apparently contributed to global warming. Instead of telling the penpushers where to go, Vince has wasted millions. At least the taxpayer is safe in the knowledge that the new BIS air con uses “more modern and energy efficient equipment that meets legal requirements”Chilling.

PHOTO: Caroline Lucas Arrested

Along with a crowd of loony lefties holding hands to protest against fracking in Balcombe. That guarantees her the headlines…

DECC's Green Deal Flops as Only 36 Sign Up

The Green Deal is a giant white elephant. Figures snuck out at the end of term show, as of the end of last month, of the 306 Green Deal plans for making properties energy efficient, 270 are “new” plans, where someone has simply asked for a quote. There have been only a measly 36 deals where the customer has actually signed a plan and energy efficiency measures are set to be installed. None so far have been completed.

Another stunning success for the reshuffle ripe Department for Energy and Climate Change.

380 Degrees

Another Tory MP  has let rip at 38 Degrees. Guy Opperman has written to the pinko lobbyists declaring he cannot let their “hypocrisy and duplicity on this issue go unchallenged.” Reacting to the group’s campaign to badger MPs who voted against the Tim Yeo carbon amendment, the Hexham MP writes:

“It is widely accepted that the amendment proposed by Tim Yeo MP would have led to higher costs for business and, more importantly, consumers like my constituents. On the one hand you are calling for lower gas & electricity bills, and on another you fully support an amendment which would hike fuel bills for my constituents. Going against the interests of your own supporters and misinforming them on the consequences of hasty decarbonisation… is both opportunistic and hypocritical.”

Coherency has never been the left’s strongest point…

Ed Davey Tries to Shut Down Climate Change Debate, Again

When the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change isn’t telling newspapers what they can and cannot write relating to his brief, he just goes for out and out abuse of his opponents. Here is not so liberal or democratic Ed Davey today:

“Of course there will always be those with a vested interest in the status quo who seek to create doubt where there is certainty. And you will always get crackpots and conspiracy theorists who will deny they have a nose on their face if it suits them.”

Davey himself would never have a vested interest, other than last year declaring that his brother works for City law firm Herbert Smith, lawyers to eco-spivs, of course. Some might say going after conflicted climate change sceptics in the week after Tim Yeo was jettisoned and replaced on the Energy and Climate Change select committee by a man with shares in Shell is a bit brave. His entire brief is rotten to the core with MPs with vested interests…

Yeo Sees the Light Over Climate Change

Here is everyone’s favourite green Tory Tim Yeo back in 2009:

“The dying gasps of the deniers will be put to bed. In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.”

And here he was last night on the perils of man made climate change:

“The first thing to say is it does not represent any threat to the survival of the planet. None at all. The planet has survived much bigger changes than any climate change that is happening now. Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.”

Presumably he’ll be buying shares in Shell tomorrow…

H/T @mattholehouse

Treasury Kick Back at Greenpeace G.O. O.G.

gTeam Osborne are kicking back at this morning’s Greenpeace fracking stunt. Occupying his constituency office seems to have backfired somewhat; a Treasury source tells Guido: “we are happy for Greenpeace to draw attention to the fact that George is fighting for cheaper energy bills for all”. Something of an own goal…

Frack & G.O. in Tatton

frack-and-go

Across the street from George Osborne’s constituency office is a village green on a roundabout where teams of Greenpeace activists have constructed a huge mock-up fracking operation – presumably to show the Chancellor how safe the process can be. The drivers of the 4x4s passing the stunt will be reminded just how much shale energy will save in fuel costs. Tatton is set to become the Dallas of England sitting as it does atop reserves which will provide cheap energy for the UK’s future as we dash for gas…

Hendry's Windfarm Windfall Former DECC Minister Cashes In

Sacked Energy Minister Charles Hendry has not wasted any time cashing in on his expertise; he has just been announced as the chairman of the wind energy giants Forewind. The consortium comprising of four international companies -Scottish and Southern, RWE, Statoil and Statkraf – was awarded the contract in 2010 to build the huge “Dogger Bank” windfarm 125 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast.

Though Hendry has waited for the appropriate cooling off period of three months since leaving government, a look through his declared meetings while a minister leaves an unfortunate taste in the mouth: between June 2010 and October 2011 Hendry hobnobbed six times with the representatives of the companies that make up Forewind, and now he is their boss. It seems the revolving doors spin far more than the windmills…

Letwin Settles Up – Bins Carbon Reduction Global Agreement

Another nail in the husky coffin as Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin concedes defeat to Nigel Lawson and accepts that the Kyoto Treaty is dead and nothing will be following it. Back in 2008 the two men made a bet, the details of which were published in a Standpoint interview:

Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.

Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.

Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

Letwin has apparently now agreed to settle the bet. Lord Lawson is on a bit of victory lap this afternoon:

“Oliver is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”

Well quite.

Review of 2012: Taxi For Tim Yeo

A serious contender for villain of the year has to be Tim Yeo. The conflicted chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee has time and time again flown the green flag this year, insisting that it is mere coincidence he makes over £100,000-a-year from his own renewable energy investments.[…] Read the rest

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Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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