‘The Digital and Green Revolutions Compared’

John Redwood’s Lecture, All Souls College, Oxford: ‘The Digital and Green Revolutions Compared’
Friday 8th March 2024
11:00 – 12:30
All Soul College, Old Library, Oxford

  1. The Green and Digital revolutions
    • Green. Top down, set out by governments and large corporations
    • Advanced by subsidies, tax breaks for green products and regulation, higher tax and bans for products thought to be generating CO2
    • Digital. Popular, bottom up, fuelled by an innovative industry launching popular new products. Spreads quickly without laws, taxes and subsidies.

 2. The extent of product adoption

Digital Green
Mobile phones

8.58 bn (more that the world’s population)

Battery Electric cars

18 million

Laptops and desktops

3.8 bn

Heat Pumps

177 million

Internet users

5 bn

Rail 7% of travel (by distance) and 1% of journeys
Facebook users

3 bn

Free smart meters

57% take up

3. The electrical revolution
• 20% of world energy is currently electric
• Fossil fuels dominate
• Most vehicles run on petrol or diesel
• Most heating systems run on gas, solid fuel or oil
• Most energy intensive industry burns gas or coal

4. To decarbonise energy
• The world needs to switch most of the 80% currently burning fossil fuel to electrical options
• The electricity generators need to switch their large generation from fossil fuels to renewables or nuclear
• Renewable power would need to increase by at least tenfold
• There would need to be substantial battery storage, pump storage and other means of handling weather induced falls in supply

5. Why don’t more people buy EV’s?
• Too dear
• Range too restricted
• Shortage of recharging points
• Length of time to recharge
• Fear of new taxes on EV’s
• Insurance and repairs issues

6. Why don’t more people install heat pumps?
• High cost of installation
• Need for major rebuild of older home to raise insulation standard
• High running costs in cold weather

7. Why do more people not go by train?
• Tickets can be dear
• Trains often do not go to where you want to go
• The times available may not suit your busy day
• It is difficult handling luggage or heavy shopping on a train
• Most train journeys also need journeys to and from stations that can be dear and complex without a car
• Once you own a car you find it convenient to use.
• The car goes when you want directly from your home and returns when you want. It can get to practically every place in the country.

8. Why do so many people refuse a “free “smart meter?
• They suspect it will be used against them to charge high prices at times of high demand or to cut off power when system is struggling
• They fear it will go wrong as some have leading to wrong bills
• They do not want the disruption to their home from installation
• They think it wasteful and not green to throw out a working meter they already have

9. Why do people oppose planning permissions for grids, pylons, turbines and solar farms.
• They find these green needs intrusive on the landscape
• They do not want the disruptive works in their area
• They do not want more farmland taken away from local food growing
• They do not want the noise of turbines

10. What do people like about digital?
• Online shopping offers more choice and price competition and saves the journey to High Street
• Downloaded entertainment allows you to choose when you watch a film and gives you much more choice of viewing
• Social media allows chat on the move wherever your contacts are
• AI helps you problem solve
• Google searches let you find out instantly what you need to know
• Zoom, Teams etc allows you hold remote meetings

11. What do people like about digital?
• The business model of many of the digital companies is customer friendly.
• There is often a free offer for a basic service paid for by adverts and or business users e,g, free Google searches, free AI, free social media platforms
• There is often a subscription option as with Amazon Prime, download and software regular payments
• Mobile phones can be provided as part of a rental/ service package
• A lot of charging is to business rather than directly to business customers.

12. Covid lockdowns accelerated digital
• Many people who were wary or unwilling to use digital had to get up to speed to buy online and communicate with friends and family
• Online solutions to shopping took off for many as a good alternative to physical presence in shops
• People wanted more in home entertainment to absorb the hours of house detention
• Digital products to allow person to person conference calls and get togethers took off.

13. Why do some fear AI?
• Some see AI as a big threat to employment
• Some see it as a threat to academic standards, exams and teaching
• Some see it as favouring big government that will be able to control and manipulate people more
• Some worry that it could help false information spread, it could increase cyberattacks and could be used as weapons by criminals and delinquent states
• Its invention cannot be cancelled so we need to manage it

14. The good news about AI
• The co-pilot model means a firm can achieve higher productivity and more worthwhile jobs by using the AI to do the drudge work quickly and accurately
• There will be more jobs in technology as an offset to fewer clerical and repetitious jobs as with the factory autmoati9n phase of development

15. What role does Government play?
• It regulates it after the event
• It seeks to increase its tax take from successful digital companies
• It slowly adopts it for its own service


  1. Mark B
    March 14, 2024

    Good morning.

    I have nothing to add other than I agree with what our kind host has laid before us.

    ie Two legs bad (government) four legs good (private capital and initiative)

    1. Ian wragg
      March 14, 2024

      Another win for the eci fascists. A 140 year old foundry in Melton Mowbray shutting because of excessive energy prices. Production moving to France
      No doubt the technicians and operators will get well paid green jobs car washing or shelf stacking.
      Local council crowing about lowering their emissions

      1. Donna
        March 14, 2024

        Or they’ll do what 9 million are already doing ….. give up and claim benefits.

      2. MFD
        March 14, 2024

        It is totally disgusting, I still cannot believe that so-called intelligent people who are trusted , stand quiet and still while our industry is destroyed by the SCAM by enemies of Britain

      3. glen cullen
        March 14, 2024

        …and another today –
        Workers at a historic sweet factory home to iconic confectionery brand Taveners – dating back to the Victorian era were told today of the closure. The site currently has around 100 employees and makes sweets such as caramels, mallows, gums and jellies. A spokesperson for Valeo Foods Group said the proposed closure of the factory was “in face of significant challenges, as well as growing cost pressures”

    2. outsider
      March 14, 2024

      Dar MarkB,
      Totally agree. Another way of putting it is evolution versus autarchic revolution. The latter was given a boost by Covid because we imported from China not just the virus but also their traditional way of dealing with such things, which has greatly appealed to elites all round the world.

  2. Lifelogic
    March 14, 2024

    All sensible stuff but you missed off the need for a grid 10 times more robust and generation of electricity capacity circa 20 times larger if we all switch to EVs and heat pumps. One rough calculation for you, 3 days electricity back up batteries (just for current electrical use world wide) would cost about $600 trillion in power wall batteries. World GDP PA under 1/6 of this! Plus if we all switch to EV and heat pumps perhaps 10 times this. Moronic lunacy.

    See Sunak in the Telegraph today “we should be proud that we are on track to meet our net zero targets” why you fool dope? Not a single supportive comment on his mad article.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      “This is how Tories fall: by promising tax cuts while doing the opposite
      Some ministers even seem to believe they’re cutting taxation. Voters are more likely to trust their payslips”
      FRASER NELSON today.

      But do these minister really believe they are cutting taxes or are they just lying?

      As the Coast Man put it “Rishi Sunak is either lying about the gene therapies pushed as vaccine products, or he hasn’t availed himself of the evidence. The latter would almost be worse than the former.”

      Also on net zero, boat people, NHS waiting lists, growth, reducing the debt…

    2. Mickey Taking
      March 14, 2024

      perhaps that ‘track’ will be detailed for us to understand and praise year by year as we get there? – or miss it by a Scandinavian mile!

  3. Lifelogic
    March 14, 2024

    “Boosting gas capacity is the insurance policy Britain needs while we deliver net zero.”
    RISHI SUNAK today. Why mate no one sensible wants net zero, it is all cost and zero benefit for anyone but crony capitalists and crooks.

    “You can’t protect national security without delivering energy security” indeed and nor can you without steel plants, a sound economy and manufacturing Rishi. But your net zero destroys this.

    1. Donna
      March 14, 2024


      1. Hope
        March 14, 2024

        Whether you have one windmill or one million, when the wind does not blow there is no electric! Our forebears worked that out 200 years ago, genius Sunak still scratching his school boy head. How does using STOR deisel generators, govt policy, help the planet?

        Thatcher worked out the UK needed diversification not to be reliable on coal because of unions.

        10,000 Chinese EV cars delivered to Europe have mould on them where they have been in storage so long. What energy was used to make them!

        1. Sharon
          March 14, 2024

          @ Hope And yet in China, there are acres and acres of unsold EV cars…

        2. Mickey Taking
          March 14, 2024

          Nice little earner for valeting companies?

          1. glen cullen
            March 14, 2024

            …and luckily most of the illegal immigrants have experience as ‘vehicle hygiene, cleansing & polishing technicians’

    2. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      Rishi looks at all the comments to this Telegraph article and not one supports your mad net zero lunacy. We need a U-turn not a touch on the brakes.

      1. Hope
        March 14, 2024


        Come on LL, surely you do not believe the Backstabber says? Implement 2019 manifesto, he said he will get fracking to get elected Tory PM, once in power scrapped it! Imposed windfall tax on oil and gas so no one invests in it! Serve with integrity, come on.

        Sunak and Hunt’s budget just extended windfall tax on home produced oil and gas! His building of new gas power plants is just an election narrative with No intention to implement because he will be gone to California.

    3. Original Richard
      March 14, 2024

      LL :

      In addition it is impossible to protect thousands of square kilometres of wind turbines spread out over half the North Sea and other seas around our coast plus all the necessary undersea cabling. Net Zero leaves us militarily as well as energy insecure and exposed and consequently that is its real purpose. Nothing to do with CAGW. Non Western nations are not following this suicidal policy.

  4. Lifelogic
    March 14, 2024

    15. What role does Government play?

    It taxes it and over regulated it and forces it to use rip off energy and imported steel etc. This as much as it can get away with. Often pushing it and the related jobs and tax take out of the country completely.

  5. agricola
    March 14, 2024

    Very well said. Like atomic science and the longbow there are good sides and bad sides.
    Digital is largely market led and therefore evolves naturally. Its downside is that it allows some organisations to operate at arms length from their customers, witness banks. However the market will deecide that one.
    Green is full of virtue, and therefore a natural vehicle for PPE politicians, devoid of any scientific and engineering experience. As you say it becomes top down and a means of extracting tax and penalty from an unwary citizen. The way it is operated it will accelerate the demise of our great cities because digital offers better options unless you want hands on at the Tower of London. Green, through intense lobbying pressure and bribery, sorry political donations, avoids tackling many obvious abuses of our environment. I have in mind the pollution of our rivers and seas by water companies or the proliferation of none degradeable and in many cases unnecessay food packaging. Green evangelism also offers our great unwashed the opportunity to disrupt the lives of the innocent mass. You don’t see many of them in Tianamen Square.
    You sum it up well, digital bottom up market led; green top down, very expensive, ill conceived virtue semaphore.

    1. Mike Wilson
      March 14, 2024

      our great cities

      What is ‘great’ about a city? Noisy, dirty, polluted places with people packed in like sardines. London? Yeuk. The areas where the rich live are okay. The rest (including where I grew up) is a dump.

      1. agricola
        March 14, 2024

        The dump is largely a reflection of those that live in it. I can remember the 1940s Sparkhill Birmingham of my grandparents, clean streets, steps dollied, everthing bristol fashion. It only started taking on the qualities of a dump with the population change to one that did not aspire to anything better.

        1. agricola
          March 14, 2024

          Conversely, there is a very large council estate in my home town that in the 70s was a less than desireable place to live or visit. Then Margaret Thatcher allowed tenants who wished, to purchase their homes at advantageous prices. These days the place is transformed. Flowers in gardens replacing derelict shopping trolleys, new doors and windows, even the occasional palladian pillar. Pride in ownership works wonders.

        2. Mike Wilson
          March 14, 2024

          The dump is largely a reflection of those that live in it

          Indeed. Where I grew up near Heathrow in the 1950s, on a huge council estate, front gardens were lawns with borders featuring white alyssum, blue lobelia and marigolds. Rose beds were popular too. Back gardens, 100 ft long! They’d cram two more houses in there now) were filled with vegetables. There was the odd problem family but most people were decent and took pride in their neighbourhood. Now it is a drug infested, lawless pig sty filled with horrible people.

          Reply I doubt they are all horrible

      2. MFD
        March 14, 2024

        Oh! Great, someone else thinks like me- i detest cities, l have not been in one for years!
        I like listening to the birds, not gabbling people!

        1. agricola
          March 14, 2024

          I too prefer the countryside, but could accept life in Barcelona or Valencia. In the UK, cities are where you tend to build your career, gravitating to a rural idyll when financies allow. In some cases, including mine, the computer allowed the ommission of tbe city stage. Its just a matter of where the individual feels comfortable.

      3. Berkshire Alan
        March 14, 2024

        Have visited London in the last two days, one for business, the other as a through route to another destination.
        I agree, High rise buildings crammed so close together you feel you cannot breathe (no nothing to do with clean air) noisy, busy, dirty, pavements in poor condition, roads the same, thousands of road signs, parking restrictions etc etc. Some of the Parks are still a welcome sight though.
        Lived in West London for the first 24 years of my life, goodness how it has changed since those days, but in the last 20 years now almost unrecognisable.
        Certainly would not want to return to live there again, or even travel there to work !

      4. Mickey Taking
        March 14, 2024

        Mostly I would love cities for the delightful architectural buildings.
        Sadly with each passing decade monstrous vertical glass shoeboxes have taken over.

  6. Sakara Gold
    March 14, 2024

    Indeed, your well-researched lecture in the Old Library was interesting. However, I thought that the “green revolution” sections focussed overly on the issues associated with the introduction of green products – and very little on the solutions. Or the global costs if we allow the fossil fuel industry to continue to pollute our planet with excessive amounts of CO2 and methane. However, the assembled throng who attended – not all students – listened intently and asked good questions afterwards

    I would dispute the “20% of world electricity is renewable – we don’t really know what is going on in China and the latest figures that I have seen are in the range 65% to 75%

    Maybe you should make this an annual event, tracking progress in eliminating fossil fuels for e.g.

    1. Clough
      March 14, 2024

      If you “don’t really know” what is going on China, how useful is it to offer a % figure of renewable energy there?

    2. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      Vital for life, plant, tree and crop food is not “pollution” it is a harmless, odourless and vital gas. CO2 levels have been far higher in the past and even a doubling of CO2 from current levels would produce a trivial amount of warming all other things being equal. Warming that would on balance be a net good anyway as would a little more tree food.

      Note that, even if (contrary to reality), you accept that CO2 needs to be reduced then EVs, walking, public transport, wind, solar, heat pumps, Hydrogen and even excessive insulation save little or no CO2 if you do the accounting properly. EVs for example certainly increase it.

      As to methane this should wherever practical be captured and used as natural gas for heat and power.

      1. Peter Wood
        March 14, 2024

        I was told recently by a British teacher working in one of the larger cities in China, that people don’t venture out when it rains without substantial head and clothing protection, as the rain is so acidic it will burn both scalp and clothes….Top down economic policy?

      2. forthurst
        March 14, 2024

        Methane is oxidised in the atmosphere by ozone which is formed continually through the action of solar radiation on oxygen molecules.

    3. Bingle
      March 14, 2024

      Good morning SG.

      Still no suggestion from you as to how we shall generate electricity when neither the wind blows nor the Sun shines – unless of course we use fossil fuels – such as coal, Mother Nature’s ultimate renewable energy source.

      Just asking.

      1. Mickey Taking
        March 14, 2024

        ‘Mother Nature’s ultimate renewable energy source.’ but not that useful to us unless we live for thousands or millions of years.

    March 14, 2024

    Green is Marxist, simple. End of debate

    As an aside. Can someone explain why the odious Varadkar while in Washington feels the need to demand that the institutions of Northern Ireland be reformed (Veto removed and changed to suit his agenda to unite Ireland and NI) before the next GE? What the hell as this UK internal issue got to do with the leader of Ireland?

    This guy needs slapping down. He loathes the indigenous Irish and now he’s expressing his contempt for the sovereignty of our nation. This is external political interference

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      March 14, 2024

      Yes, external interference even more explicit than shining slogans onto Parliament.

    2. glen cullen
      March 14, 2024

      Agree – net-zero and decarbonisation is now a weapon of totalitarian government and not a democratically endorsed venture

    3. The Prangwizard
      March 14, 2024

      Our government will DO nothing. It is led by people who have no understanding of what our nation is. They are diluting it and it will soon be ruled by cultural and religious aliens.

  8. Javelin
    March 14, 2024

    Right wing revolutions are slow bottom up affairs. They involve small calibrations. Small calibrations are what makes a society right wing.

    – Family – dna
    – Markets – money
    – Information – facts
    – Justice – laws
    – Government – votes

    For example
    Industrial revolution
    Agricultural revolution
    Digital Revolution

    Left wing revolutions are top down affairs that involve a few narcissists thinking they are God and lead to the collapse of society, they usually happen twice and involve lots of fear and death.

    – French Revolution.
    – Russian Revolution
    – Cambodian Revolution

    1. Javelin
      March 14, 2024

      If your interested in left wing leaders psychology you can read this paper in Current Psychology – basically they are “antagonistic narcissists”

      “Understanding left-wing authoritarianism: Relations to the dark personality traits, altruism, and social justice commitment”

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        March 14, 2024

        Gove now stamping down on anti-democratic forces when this post from our host demonstrates precisely an anti-democratic practice by this government. Quite remarkable.

    2. Mitchel
      March 14, 2024

      That’s not a convincing reading of history-more an attempt to make history conform to psychobabble.

      Rome removed it’s kings in favour of a republic in 509BC;did Roman society collapse?I think not.

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      March 14, 2024

      This is EXACTLY right. The Narcissist leaders of the west are destroying it with magical thinking, grandiosity and ignoring all boundaries.
      For instance Macron has threatened to openly send the French army into Ukraine to destroy Russia
      The French Army is so shaken at the prospect that they have leaked 3 confidential reports to Marianne magazine. Here is what they say in summary – compare it to what the narcs leading the west told all of us – including our MPs – I think JR will be able to confirm that speculation.

      “Ukraine cannot win this war militarily,” It praises the Russian forces as the new “tactical and technical” gold standard.
      “We must make no mistake, facing the Russians we are an Army of Cheerleaders’. Said a senior French Military man to Marianne. The West underestimate Russia because they accepted SBU reports of 20 shot down Russian planes and 500,000 Russian casualties per week. All their projections and plans were therefore based on cooked data.

      Western equipment, it is stated, is inferior to Russian equipment – even to ancient Soviet era equipment (“run-down, easy to maintain, and suitable for use in degraded mode”, the report mentions). Complexity is NOT what is required on a battlefield. You need quantity not ‘quality’. The west cannot match the industrial or financial power of Russia.

      That is where these Narcs have lead us militarily, industrially (with the Green agenda) and financially (with sanctions and theft). Intellectually the war had no merit.

      The west MUST save itself from its 5th column.

    4. Mark B
      March 15, 2024

      Chinese Revolution and, The Great Leap Forward.

  9. Lynn Atkinson
    March 14, 2024

    Agreed apart from point 14. That’s what ‘computing’ does. AI is NOT what we have understood to be computing or computerisation.
    Computerisation means we instruct and control the computer, it works for us.
    Artificial Intelligence means that the computers specify and programme themselves, they instruct and control us!

    The ONLY argument for introducing AI is that people are too stupid to specify and programme computers. (This is often true and the reason I am in a semi-permanent froth trying to use the inadequate, stupidly configured systems which have never been tested to destruction – as they used to be tested!)

    Imagine therefore how impossible it will be for these stupid people to respond to the unforgiving and unchallengeable rules set by AI to achieve its objective?

    ‘Balance the food supply to demand’ – that’s a good instruction to give to AI – I can see all politicians agreeing that solving hunger is a top priority. AI response ‘I can’t increase the quantity of food so let’s kill the people’. Objective achieved.

    1. forthurst
      March 14, 2024

      Are you using a Linux based system?

  10. David Andrews
    March 14, 2024

    An excellent comparison. You could have added that the digital revolution is self financing because users freely pay for it themselves. It enjoys widespread consumer consent. Whereas the green revolution is forced through with subsidies and taxes. It lacks widespread consumer consent.

    It is also worth noting that the digital revolution probably reduces the net demand for physical resources because it reduces the need for them. Whereas the green revolution places an overwhelming demand for them, one that probably cannot be met either physically or financially. Peter Zeihan has pointed out the practical constraints on achieving the green revolution, not to mention the untold £trillions needed to finance it. It is a fool’s errand.

    When will the political class get the message?

  11. Donna
    March 14, 2024

    Neither the explosion of Digital nor so-called Green technologies is a revolution.

    A revolution is a revolt of the masses against the governing establishment, usually involving violence.

    The expansion of Digital products and services has been achieved peacefully with the masses voluntarily adopting a technology which has (in many ways, but not exclusively) improved their lives and employment prospects. It is therefore not a revolution.

    The expansion of so-called green technologies is being imposed by the governing establishment, using law, coercion, bribes, fines and threats. It is not improving peoples lives, it is making them harder. It is therefore a Tyranny, not a revolution.

    However, what it may do, is provoke one.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      Well a revolution as in the “industrial revolution”. But yes we may indeed provoke one as we see with farming protects currently in the EU. A good interview with Martin Durkin (on the Planet Normal podcast) about his new file “Climate the Movie” released in about a weeks time and free online.

    2. Original Richard
      March 14, 2024

      Donna :

      Agreed. The green revolution is in fact a red one. Even the Conservative Party has been captured. Remember the “vote blue get green” manifesto pledge.

      1. Original Richard
        March 14, 2024

        PS : TNH I was expecting green to mean nothing more than curbing the use of single use plastics. Not the unilateral destruction of our economy and the attempted reduction of the most important gas for life in our atmosphere which is already at a seriously low level of just 0.04%.

    3. glen cullen
      March 14, 2024

      My council can’t cut the green or clean the high street but they’ve employed teams of people to save the planet

    4. Mark B
      March 15, 2024

      A revolution is a dramatic and sudden change to the current norm.

  12. dixie
    March 14, 2024

    You ignore where Digital came from and what drives it’s development even today, many apps are consumer driven but the hardware and software foundations continue to be driven by government, military and business needs. If this were the 1950’s/60’s you would see the same resistance to digital as you are putting up to what you label as green.

    Your train section is odd, surely transport mode depends on your circumstances and destination. I may use the car or bus to get to the local town depending on my needs but people inside the London/urban bubbles will have more practical choices while those outside will have fewer choices. For me trains are far too expensive and ticketing too complicated.
    Smart meter installation too disruptive!? It’s 30 minutes without power and the installer provides a battery system to run your internet connection so you can still get your Facebook fix.
    Faith in “safe” AI is touching – the issue will always be the human agency involved whether it exploits AI to exploit others or decides to let AI operate without control.
    People suited to clerical and repetitious tasks are not necessarily suited to higher value/technology tasks, so how will you accommodate them – more benefits, more immigration? As it is there is zero support for re-training if you are made redundant – 6 months looking for a job before you can get on a programme to re-skill is hardly effective support.
    I do wonder just how many people are represented by the “they” term in your lists and it is really a very small number – “They think it wasteful and not green to throw out a working meter they already have” is quite a stretch.

    Minorities are not automatically correct.

    1. Mark B
      March 15, 2024

      Many of the technical advances we see today are the result of war.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    March 14, 2024

    Digital revolution – freeing users

    Green revolution – restricting users

  14. Everhopeful
    March 14, 2024

    Funny then that what with the wonder of digital and AI and IT and XYZ the country isn’t booming.
    Funny what the jolly old virus led to really isn’t it?
    Kids stealing chocolate Christmas tree decorations thinking they can’t be seen.
    Second most unhappy country in the world.
    And absolutely no wonder.
    Place not your trust in machines! Look at the Post Office!

    1. Mickey Taking
      March 14, 2024

      The ‘machine’ was not tested properly, and disaster casued by people using a back door access to fiddle with the software.
      Which was the most unhappy country?

      1. Everhopeful
        March 14, 2024

        However I bet we are an easy first now since the latest assault on our freedoms.

        1. Mickey Taking
          March 14, 2024

          I reached for google to find – Islam forbids alcohol. Public displays of affection, such as kissing and hugging, are generally not the norm. if you or your girl/boyfriend’s passport is Uzbekistan, you aren’t allowed to stay in 1 room. Many Uzbek families encourage arranged marriages. In some provinces it would be better to avoid wearing shorts. Same rule is applied when visiting religious places, mosques, mausoleums, etc. Also, ladies should cover their shoulders and chest and preferably wear a hat or a headscarf.
          Possibly the worst factor was Russia’s attempt at take over?

  15. Bloke
    March 14, 2024

    The lecture is makes an excellent comparison of key issues and behaviour. Comparisons are about DIFFERENCES, and differences are in sharp contrast here. Difference is the essence of existence. Too many ‘comparsions’ such as technical specifications of products generate lengthy lists of similarities, concealing the differences their comparison of benefits is supposed to reveal.
    Very well done again SJR. Decision makers need your insight and clarity.

  16. Sir Joe Soap
    March 14, 2024

    The counter argument could be made that war-a top down situation – led to the widespread adoption of radar, development of rocket and missile technology and arguably nuclear power which benefited us all later. The argument is more to do with bringing the population with you than it is between top down or bottom up. In the green case, the lack of democratic accountability is revealing- the Green Party are nowhere near power, yet their ideas have been stolen wholesale by your party with no accountability. Another reason for killing off the Conservative Party.

  17. glen cullen
    March 14, 2024

    What has the green revolution achieved (plastic bag tax, net-zero tax, ULEZ etc tax, home boiler ban, ICE car ban, business windfall tax, energy green tax, transportation of goods tax etc etc) ….its only brought higher costs & hardship

    1. Everhopeful
      March 14, 2024

      +++Spot on!
      I had EXACTLY that conversation with someone yesterday.
      Hardship and misery!

  18. Berkshire Alan
    March 14, 2024

    Good morning John
    I assume the précis of your speech was drafted by All Souls College Oxford.
    Having listened to your speech I think they have done a good job, a few points perhaps missed or not recorded, but in the main it outlines the arguments you put forward, which I think were comprehensive, and clear.

    Reply No. I wrote it.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      March 14, 2024

      Reply-Reply Then a good reason for its accuracy for the argument you presented !

  19. Paula
    March 14, 2024

    It’s no good arguing about the virtues of Digital over Green. Any challenge to Green is a challenge to the authoritarians on both sides of the House.

    The first step is to destroy one side of the House.

    So this will be done via the ballot box in the next few weeks. What follows next, God only knows.

    1. glen cullen
      March 14, 2024

      If either the tories or labour win, they’ll say the vote was a clear vote for 100% net-zero

  20. Ian B
    March 14, 2024

    Sir John
    A reasonable synopsis, but why revolution and not evolution? Revolution is forced by those that think they know what is good for us, evolution happens because we know what we want.

    1. Ian B
      March 14, 2024

      More electioneering or virtue signaling from a bankrupt government.
      “Muslim groups that incite hatred and undermine democracy will be named and shamed as extremists by the Government, Michael Gove will announce on Thursday.”
      ‘Hate’ is the new ‘Racist’ …. Deliberately ill-defined gibberish that you can’t argue with because you don’t really have a contextual definition of it.
      This is a Conservative Government wasting time, on virtue signals. Who gets to define hate, extremism and so on? Free Speech that doesn’t incite violence is just that – part of our ‘Freedoms’. How does pushing those that disagree with you underground going to help anyone?
      To me and many people this Conservative Government is the most extreme left-wing organisation that this country has ever seen in that it denigrating democracy and freedoms daily, the last thing it will do is protect the majority from their own extremism. So they are the problem, the rest is just background chatter.

  21. Bert+Young
    March 14, 2024

    All good points Sir John . I’m sorry not to have attended your All Soul’s occasion ; it is a place I have always associated with many acquaintances and high intellect .

  22. mancunius
    March 14, 2024

    I was surprised by the the take-up of smart meters is as high as 57%. I can only assume that the reason is that less numerate consumers are baffled by the calculation of usage and charges, and frustrated by the high amounts energy companies often charge on the basis of their own over-estimated meter readings. There is often also the difficulty of locating and physically reaching the meters – in many cases deliberately positioned years ago in obscure places only the Gas, Electricity and Water Boards could locate, reach and read with the use of a ladder and torch – that the customers they think a smart meter will make everything easier. As it would, if only they were ‘smart’ meters functioning reliably! 🙂

  23. mancunius
    March 14, 2024

    recte: ‘I was surprised the take-up of smart meters is as high as 57%…’
    ‘…that the customers think a smart meter will make everything easier.

  24. Derek
    March 14, 2024

    The Government appears to love statistics. Well these stats prove that ‘Green’ stuff is not wanted by the vast majority of the population.
    So why does Government continue to press forward with its “green” crusade? Is it what they want these days rather than what the electorate desires? And could it be why they are going down at the next election?
    There are lies, damn lies and statistics. So true, even today, especially from the Greens, the BoE and the OBR!

  25. Bryan Harris
    March 14, 2024

    What we want is for the nanny state along with all the propaganda they impose on us, to simply go away.

    Governments have never been the appropriate institution to design a society – too many vested interests.

    Far less government, less intrusions and no more telling us what is normal and how we should live our lives, is what we badly need.

  26. a-tracy
    March 14, 2024

    I want a cleaner, greener Britain for my children and their children. I want better insulation to cut down my bills.

    I am reluctant to look at heat pumps because in addition to what you’ve said:
    * the size of the ugly units on the outside of the house taking up lots of space, they have to be 1m from the boundary of your property so can’t go down alleyways.
    * the noise: I am very sensitive to noise. They hum at around 60 decibels and higher as they age. Once you’ve bought one you can’t just say oh no this is too noisy.
    * the costly servicing and maintenance they require with restricted engineer numbers.

  27. a-tracy
    March 14, 2024

    So most London residents are reliant to some degree on trains, many apartments don’t have any parking.
    This Easter Avanti have notified potential users Euston is closed, and you can only leave London on Good Friday by replacement bus to Milton Keynes. People can’t use the trains on Thursday instead because they are working and how do they get back on the same day.
    We have a big family celebration on Good Friday, 3 pm start, if they hire a car the roads will be heaving because the train service has effectively been cancelled.

  28. acorn
    March 14, 2024

    “A weather-dependent, renewables-based electricity grid means we will need to have flexible power for when the wind doesn’t blow, and the sun doesn’t shine.” (Secretary of State for Energy Security) Strangely, there was no mention of Battery Storage (BESS) in her speech, I wonder why.

    It is certainly going to shine on shipping Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). Particularly the requirement for Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRU). The UK will be importing 80% of its gas by 2035. Likely most of it will be coming from the USA at a very handsome mark-up!

  29. Keith from Leeds
    March 14, 2024

    That is an absolutely correct analysis. IT grows because people want it, the price is reasonable and it can make life easier. The Green movement is top-down and being forced on the UK, costing jobs and expenses for ordinary people. I can’t believe how stupid the Government is refusing to listen to the people.
    The only by-election they have won was because of stupid Sunak’s ULEZ expansion. But what support is the conservative candidate getting in the election for Mayor? Is the lack of support because she will cancel the ULEZ expansion immediately if she wins?
    Sunak/Hunt are probably the worst PM and Chancellor we have ever had. They seem to live in a bubble which is not impacted by events in the real world. Hence, the lack of action on defence spending in the budget! The lack of action on the tourist tax, the lack of action on the frozen tax thresholds and the complete lack of action on reducing Government spending!!!! Sadly, I believe forecasts of less than 100 seats for conservatives in the GE are believable.

    1. Peter Gardner
      March 15, 2024

      The Conservatives don’t deserve even 100 seats.

  30. Ukretired123
    March 14, 2024

    The digital revolution was an “asymmetric revolution” breaking down barriers to empower individuals in multiple dimensions like never before.
    It scared the establishment silly as it opened up many a proverbial “Pandora’s Box” by lifting the veil of transparency previously guarded by the few.
    (Just take the Post Office Scandal and Mr Bates, a David and Goliath glaring cover up “Extremely Hot potato” indeed by any measure).
    A “Personal Computer” PC was unheard of apart from Dixon of Dock Green.
    It was soon affordable by many millions after it was mass produced within a decade.
    By contrast the Green agenda is Top-down thinking driven by the Establishment and does not empower individuals who cannot wait to pay for the supposed intangible benefits and who are suspicious of this sudden snake oil selling and unproven results, especially when countries like China and India totally ignore this agenda and do the exact opposite.
    Going Green is gambling as there is no guaranteed results for most people.
    Getting into the Green Garden has a high wall unlike the Digital Garden which nowadays is often peanuts or free.

  31. Ian B
    March 14, 2024

    ‘new tighter definition of non-violent extremism’ !!
    This is Dangerous! it undermines everyone’s freedoms. Governments and authorities getting to quash the people that they want quietened.
    We already have overzealous versions of labeling of those that have views, usually out of context. Someone being abhorrent is not a crime should never be a crime, everyone with a view, a religious or political stance should always be open to criticism and challenge. Thats the point if its in the open it can be challenged, driving it underground can never be the answer.
    The Dictatorship and control as practiced by the Conservative Government is becoming the worst of the worst. Instead of banning they could just speak out, reinforce a view of decency and democracy. They wont and can’t as they are the root of Society’s ills, they lost their moral compass years ago.
    From the Media
    ‘The Communities Secretary, a new tighter definition of non-violent extremism which officials will use to identify and publish a list of both Islamist and far-Right groups captured by it.’
    “We will be holding these and other organisations to account to assess if they meet our definition of extremism and will take action as appropriate,” he told MPs.
    New extremist definition will give Government ‘tools it needs’, says Sunak
    The new definition of extremism will give the Government “the tools that it needs to protect us” against extremist activity, Rishi Sunak has said.’

  32. Everhopeful
    March 14, 2024

    Not another future tech jobs promise!
    I thought we were all going to service windmills and put out EV fires when not hand cranking up our heat pumps and polishing crops of solar panels.
    Now we become AI wizards?
    Far more likely that we are being nudged, shoved even along the UBI road.
    Matthew Parris in “The Spectator” has uncovered one of my particular bête noirs….PIPs which I am certain herald a funding of total joblessness for many able bodied folk.

    How rich will the elite entrepreneurs be when we sheeple are all EQUALLY poor. How many cr*p goods will they sell? Who will buy their pharmaceuticals?

    1. glen cullen
      March 14, 2024

      ….and good intelligent programming exists ….AI doesn’t (a bit like climate change)

    2. Peter Gardner
      March 15, 2024

      You could probably omit the B from UBI if your view is ten years hence.

  33. Mike Wilson
    March 14, 2024

    Talking of green, as I look out the window at the beautiful fields and hills of West Dorset, I am stuck by how green and verdant it is. No doubt because of all the bloody rain we’ve had lately. About this ‘global warming’ – where is it and can I have some please.

    1. Mickey Taking
      March 14, 2024

      Personally I’m more interested in acquiring a small boat and paddles, rather than needing to be warmer.

  34. DOM
    March 14, 2024

    I can’t hear the term ‘far left’? Why? If anyone is destroying our nation, our democracy and our freedoms it’s these people with their poisonous ideology, their symbols and their real hate for our history and our values. Pity little Gove doesn’t reference these snakes

    1. glen cullen
      March 14, 2024

      Agree – the tory party and government are still 100% pro the green revolution ….not one line of the net-zero laws have been repealed, not one target cancel and only a couple of high profile lines rescheduled

  35. Vic Sarin
    March 14, 2024

    Spot on

  36. Peter Gardner
    March 15, 2024

    Humans are regulated for various reasons, including limiting free speech and freedom of expression. Will AI generated expression be subject to the same or similar laws? The issue is autonomy. Human adults are deemed autonomous, responsible for their own actions. Software controlled devices are deemed to be under the control of the designers and manufacturers who are liable for the mal-efects of their products. But a product that can decide for itself, independently of the designer and manufacturer, is free from any restraint on its actions. I would think that this autonomy would relieve the designers and manufacturers of responsibility in law for the actions of their products. If this is the case then clearly the law must be changed to regulate AI to pin liability back to the designers and manufacturers. We already know that AI can be used to is capable of falling people inot believing what it says or writes, or draws is done by ahuman. We already know social media influences opinions enormously and often falsely. We have yet to crack that problem. AI will make it infinitely worse.
    We are not good at predicting the effects of technological changes. All sorts of claims were made for computerising the office, not least, doing away with paper. What actually happened was that paper sales went through the roof and nothing was believed unless it was supported by a computer printout.

    1. Peter Gardner
      March 15, 2024

      Apologies for typs. “AI can be used to is capable of falling people inot believing what it says or writes, or draws is done by ahuman” should read “AI is capable of fooling people into believing that what it says or writes, or draws is done by a human.”

    2. glen cullen
      March 15, 2024

      AI doesn’t exist, we’re making laws for something that isn’t real, its currently sci-fi ….prove me wrong

  37. hefner
    March 17, 2024

    GC, you should go to ChatGPT (OpenAI.com) and type what you had written. You’ll get an answer with five paragraphs:
    1/ Narrow AI
    2/ Applications in various fields
    3/ Research and development
    4/ Recognition by experts
    5/ Ethical and legal considerations

    In total an answer in 39 lines starting with
    ‘The assertion that AI doesn’t exist is not entirely accurate. While AI may not exist in the same way as portrayed in science fiction, such as sentient robots or conscious machines, it does exist in various forms and has tangible impacts on our daily lives. Here are several points to consider:’

    I don’t doubt you’ll go to the OpenAI.com website and look for yourself the contents of the five paragraphs above, by (re)typing your original comment.

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