Yesterday, Scottish Government minister Lorna Slater had the sort of loony media showing Guido almost misses from the Corbyn era of Labour. The minister for “Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity” went on TV to argue that the party in coalition with the SNP still back pulling out of NATO, in spite of the Ukraine war, because of the organisation’s “first strike nuclear attack” policy. While calling for withdrawal from NATO, Slater argued she wants Scotland to go independent so they can be more internationalist…
Slater also put in an incredible showing on the issue of getting rid of nuclear weapons, during which she made a prime argument why nuclear weapons are a military deterrence without realising it. So just to recap, the Scottish government is currently made up of a first minister who wants to spark WW3 and ministers who want to leave NATO. Keeping up?
Sadiq Khan has said London is well prepared for a nuclear attack, following Putin’s threat earlier this week. While, in City Hall’s words, the prospect remains “remote” they boast the capital:
“… has a resilient and well-established system in place to ensure key agencies work closely and effectively together to keep us all safe – this includes keeping Londoners fully informed about any emergencies.”
Given the capital started disintegrating last month due to a strong breeze, Guido reckons this might prove hubristic. Still, using the underground network as a bunker will prove easy given under Sadiq’s leadership no trains are currently running…
Sir Keir used a Times interview this morning to try and rebrand Labour’s reputation on defence after the disastrous years of Jeremy Corbyn. He tells the paper that Corbyn was “wrong on NATO and emphatically wrong on the Salisbury poisonings”; on Ukraine he says it’s “very difficult to find a dividing point” between Labour and the government:
“I’m absolutely convinced that among the tools in the Russian armoury is divide, divide, divide. The more they sow division, either between us and our allies or within [the] country, then only Russia benefits from that.”
While Sir Keir has proved he’s able to talk the centrist talk, as on other issues he’s failing to walk the walk. While espousing bellicose views to the media, he continues to have an appointed “Shadow Minister for Disarmament” in his shadow cabinet, a role created by the white flag-waving member for Islington North in 2016 and a title held by the same man happy to serve as a defence minister under arch-abstentionist Corbyn, Fabian Hamilton.
The role of shadow minister for disarmament was created by CND supporting Corbyn to create a “change in attitude” in Labour’s foreign police approach; a change in attitude that will tonight see Corbyn speak at a ‘Stop the War’ meeting seeking to blame NATO for the crisis in Ukraine.
If Sir Keir wants voters to take him seriously, perhaps he should ditch this Trotskyist shadow cabinet role and stick to the bread and butter defence policies the public want to see…
Canadian start-up General Fusion, a nuclear fusion firm backed by Jeff Bezos, has announced plans to build a £300 million pilot power plant outside London by 2025, with construction expected to begin next year. Potentially creating vast amounts of waste-free energy by the middle of the decade.
The project, which received an undisclosed amount of funding from Whitehall, will be “a huge boost for [the government’s] plans to develop a fusion industry,” according to UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway, who added “fusion energy has great potential as a source of limitless, low-carbon energy.” Just as well, because the government pledged a whopping £12 billion in funding for green tech last year…
That said, General Fusion will still need to raise more cash to fund the project: company CEO Chris Mowry claims that although the government’s support was “very meaningful”, at some point they’re “going to go public” to bring in the necessary investment. Guido hears Bezos still has deep pockets…
As the world’s second-biggest economy lands a third moon landing to bring back lunar rocks to China, the Department of Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy is sending the Chinese £478,906 to help them grow more rice. What next, sending sand management consultants to Saudi Arabia?
The half-a-million in spending was uncovered by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Guido doesn’t see why Britain’s taxpayers should be sending foreign aid to nations that are nuclear powers with space programmes. If a country wants to prioritise nuclear weapons, British taxpayers should not be effectively subsidising that. In the event of emergencies and natural disasters – like famine, flooding and earthquakes – we can make an exception.
If the government is going to amend legislation to make the 0.5% aid budget permanent, it would be a good opportunity to add a clause preventing aid being sent, as a matter of course, to nations with nuclear weapons. So China would not normally be a recipient of foreign aid. This would also exclude nations such as the three unofficial nuclear powers which have not ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty – India, Israel, Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary would have to certify that the aid being sent to such a country is for an urgent emergency.
An in-depth study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation has revealed the skyrocketing costs of balancing the national grid, largely due to the intermittency of green power generation sources, most notably wind and solar. Since 2002, when these power sources began to be introduced at scale, the cost of balancing the grid has risen from £367 million to £1.5 billion per year by 2019. And now with the lockdown shrinking demand, balancing costs are optimistically projected to be £2 billion, potentially rising to £3 billion if the lockdown persists…
The conclusion of Dr John Constable, energy expert and author of the study, is stark:
“If demand remains low during the post-Covid recession the multi-billion pound costs of managing and subsidising renewables must be recovered from a much smaller volume of sales. That is a recipe for rapid and abrupt price rises, the like of which the British public have never seen. Enough is enough. In what everyone agrees is a very difficult moment the national interest demands a cost minimisation strategy for electricity, based on gas and nuclear.”
Fortunately, the UK could be on the brink of a nuclear revolution in small modular reactors (SMRs). Rolls Royce is leading a consortium of businesses urging the Government to accelerate plans for a swathe of high tech micro nuclear reactors across the north of England:
Plans are being discussed for sixteen micro-reactors to be built by 2050, providing enough consistent energy to power a city the size of Leeds and directly employing 40,000 people. Who knew that nuclear power stations even run when it’s not windy and at night!