Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wouldn't it be nice if Ministers answered questions

Or had some understanding of what they were talking about. This occurred to me as I saw the Starred Question asked yesterday by Lord Willoughby de Broke:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to communicate more widely the recent statement by the Rt Hon. Ed Miliband concerning the unacceptability of objecting to wind turbines.
This referred back to the extraordinary statement made by the egregious Ed Miliband (brother of the no less egregious David) that those who opposed wind turbines (an ever larger group as this article, for one, makes clear) should be viewed as socially unacceptable. Something your best friend wouldn't tell you, except that presumably you know, anyway.

Mind you it that involves not being invited to dinner parties where one might meet one or more Miliband, opposing wind turbines might become even more popular.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath replied on HMG's behalf:

My Lords, Her Majesty’s Government regularly communicate their support for wind generation as part of their commitment to developing renewable energy. We will reaffirm this policy in the renewable energy strategy, to be published this summer.
There are, alas, a few problems with wind turbines as Lord Willoughby pointed out in the follow-up question:
My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for that Answer. Could he confirm that, because of the intermittent nature of wind power, all wind farms need permanent back-up from conventional generating plant? Does he agree, therefore, that supporting wind farms is as socially unacceptable as sneezing in public during a flu epidemic?
Whether Lord Hunt understood all that or not is not clear. After all, he has to say what his officials tell him and that is very unfortunate. Who'd be a Minister these days? He did, however, say, ignoring the subject of social acceptability or otherwise of the various Milibands:
However, as this House has frequently reminded me, that reinforces the need for a diversity of supply, which is why this Government have given their support to new nuclear and new coal under carbon capture and storage, as well as encouraging renewables.
Well that has to be good news though some action might be even better.

It was, however, Lord Lawson who cut across some of the rather odd comments made on a subject that often brings out the worst in people:
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Willoughby de Broke, reminded the House, the Minister’s boss, the Secretary of State, declared that objecting to wind farms was socially unacceptable. Is the Minister aware that the distinguished scientist James Lovelock, in his recent book The Vanishing Face of Gaia, with a commendatory preface from the president of the Royal Society, no less—the noble Lord, Lord Rees—contains the most excoriating attack and demolition of the case for wind power that I have ever read and which every objector should use in every public inquiry? Does the Minister consider that Professor Lovelock is socially unacceptable?
Then again, would Professor Lovelock wish to attend dinner parties with any Miliband?

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