Monday, 4 May 2015

Lib Dems to be right wing stooge with agreement to ditch onshore wind

Nick Clegg has already sold the pass on onshore wind even before negotiations with the Conservatives have begun for a new Government. Nick Clegg has announced that he will agree to cut-off incentives for onshore wind as part of a new agreement with the Conservatives. Given that the Lib Dems seem only likely to make a Parliamentary difference by propping up a Cameron Government one wonders just how much the Lib Dems much prized green commitments are really worth. Practically nothing, it seems. The Lib Dems are poised to plough a future now as little more than a fading liberal fringe of the Tories. And a very ineffective fringe at that! They will accept a referendum on the EU (which will only strengthen UKIP either way) and now, when it comes to energy, they will do little more than embellish (if at all) what the Conservatives would do anyway.


No doubt the Lib Dems will change their tune and go on about how they are supporting offshore wind and a few solar pv panels on rooftops, and we'll hear all sorts of nonsense about how onshore wind is no longer necessary (I await the newspeak in accordance with this to emerge from Ed Davey's lips soon!). Of course the reality is, that with tough Treasury limits on spending, that there will be a big decline in the amount of new electricity generated from renewable energy. That is because onshore wind (and also ground mounted solar pv) are a lot cheaper than the other renewables, and so refusing to spend money on them will reduce the amount of renewable energy that will be generated. There's no way around that, and the Lib Dems will be leading the apologies for this outcome.

The Lib Dems notion of the environment being a 'red line' for negotiations with David Cameron is not only meaningless, but a joke. A sad, pathetic joke at that in terms of what they have previously said about the importance of onshore wind!

The attitude of Nick Clegg seems to be: if the Tories need the Lib Dems to get a Commons majority, we'll join them. Of course they would consider cooperating with Labour - but only in circumstances when the Labour Party could do without their votes anyway! Given that the Liberal Democrat commitments on renewable energy overlap with Labour's anyway, they will make little difference here. So, in short, a vote for the Liberal Democrat, if it has any effect, will be to weaken the green energy agenda through supporting a Conservative Government, and in doing so converting what should be a pro-onshore wind energy Commons majority into one that stops it.

The standard progressive wisdom of many has been to say that in a constituency contest where the leading candidates are clearly a Lib Dem and a Conservatives a green vote should plump for the Lib Dem as the better/lesser evil. But if there's no significant difference any more on energy, what is the point? The Green Party has the closest to the original Lib Dem policy of course (anti-nuke, pro-onshore wind) so they would be a logical choice!

The long term prospects for the Lib Dems are now dire under Nick Clegg's leadership. Indeed the party is now threatened with the sort of near extinction it had during the 1930s - that is if it does another coalition with David Cameron (in the 1930s much of the Liberal Party were absorbed into the Conservatives as supporters of the 'National' Government). It will increasingly be seen as an irrelevance with people like Nick Clegg absorbed in all but name into the Conservative Party. Nick clearly sees his future as somebody who depends on mobilising the Tory vote behind him in Sheffield Hallam to survive - and more and more his orange turns blue! It's back to the 1930s in more ways than one!

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