The EU’s dear energy is very damaging to industry


Yesterday even the BBC ran a piece explaining how the 6 million jobs in the EU chemical industry are at risk from dear gas feedstock for petrochemical production, and from dear energy prices generally. Though the interviewer could not resist trying to attack Ineos over Grangemouth, a plant which has so far been saved by US imported gas, nor resist trying to make it an interview about the Scottish referendum, he  did allow his business  guest to explain how three EU policies are deeply damaging to industry.

The first is the belief in green taxes. The second is the reliance on the dearest forms of electricity, especially wind. The third is the hostility to shale gas and the delays that has imposed in exploiting this new resource. As the representative of Ineos explained, US gas prices are now one third of the prices in the UK. The USA has embraced the shale revolution, whilst the EU has dithered and argued against it. The Middle East which has an abundance of cheap gas is also a large petro chemical centre. Its exports which have gone substantially to China may now divert to the EU as China is busily building her own petrochemical capacity.

If the EU and its so called single market are about retaining and increasing jobs, you would have thought the EU would draw up a plan to give the EU competitive energy and gas prices. Instead the EU spends its time drawing up regulations that ensure high and rising gas and electricity prices, the very opposite of what industry needs. Far from being a single market that can get our young people back to work and can enhance our general prosperity, the single market is becoming a regulatory conspiracy against enterprising Europe, designed to transfer more and more industrial jobs outside the EU altogether.

Germany’s BASF has recently stated they will placing most of their new investment outside the EU, as they no longer find Germany and the wider EU as competitive as non EU locations. When is the Commission, and the European Parliament, going to wake up to this job destroying reality?  When will the BBC follow up an interview with the businessman with an interview putting the Commission on the spot, accusing them of taking away people’s livelihoods?


  1. arschloch
    March 11, 2014

    I am as wary of the EU as anyone else here. However the EU is not half a good whipping boy for the failures of the UKs degenerate political class. Lets consider a few things that have been determined in Westminster not Brussels. First of all QE, if you want to debauch the pound, energy imports not priced in sterling are bound to become more expensive. Also remember for years the Treasury has relied on an unfair and regressive tax on fuel. Has Osborne had his arm twisted so much by Brussels that we now have the highest rate of tax in the EU? Finally John if “fracking” has any substance to it, and your correspondent here the other day Steve Cox argued quite convincingly to the contrary. I look forward to seeing businesses related to it becoming a key part of your FT model portfolio. Its time to put your money where your mouth is.

    Reply My model portfolio does not invest in individual shares/companies.

    1. arschloch
      March 11, 2014

      Oh and another thing who is in charge of OFGEM is it Westminster or has Brussels subverted it as well?

      1. Hope
        March 11, 2014

        There is only party offering a change to the status quo and current EU dominance of the UK and that is UKIP. What is Cameron offering? When is going to tell you after the election?

    2. Lifelogic
      March 11, 2014

      Indeed the highest fuel tax in the EU, then they just waste all the money raised on subsidies for electric cars, absurd train lines, PV & wind. The economics of the mad house or the Ed Davey, “BBC think”, greencrap religion.

    3. arschloch
      March 11, 2014

      How about the FRAK ETF?

      1. A different Simon
        March 11, 2014

        How about doing your own research and taking responsibility for investing your own money ?

        You won’t make money unless you are prepared to risk losing it .

        All the data about UK onshore license holders is freely available on the DECC website and it’s easy to wittle it down to 7 SME companies which would give you great exposure to all emerging UK onshore plays .

        No reason to limit yourself to the UK or to overlook the US – still the most reliable place to make money .

        Remember that in resource industries the most reliable earners are the shovel sellers .

        Steve Cox only listed challenges but his conclusion was that there would eventually be a UK shale industry .

        How about 1 multiwell pad every 4 square miles with 8-16 verticals either side leading to parallel horizontal laterals 200-400 metres apart extending for a mile ? Then stack multiple laterals off the verticals using a NAML5 or NAML6 casing strategy .
        A massive reservoir volume could be stimulated from a single pad – up to 4tcf of gas in place in the Bowland Basin .
        Centralised or pad based processing of flow back water would be completely appropriate .

        About 30 coiled tubing drill rigs running continuously could drill about 10 such pads per year – all at a simmilar density to supermarkets and petrol stations .

        Of course we need much more exploration first and to reform a planning system which is designed to reduce everything to plate techtonic pace .

        There is a lot to complain about in the U.K. but sometimes you’ve got to ignore the noise and do whatever your gut is telling you .

  2. Brian Taylor
    March 11, 2014

    I have put the above on Twitter,I have Emailed it to the Daily Politics show and all my friends if all the readers of this blog did the same I wonder if the lazy media would take this further.
    Go on give it a go!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Tad Davison
      March 11, 2014

      Done it – thanks Brian


  3. Lifelogic
    March 11, 2014

    “The EU’s dear energy is very damaging to industry” It certainly is hugely damaging to industry in the EU and greatly helpful to industry in cheaper energy countries outside. With no net saving of C02 in fact a net world increase with increased transportation.

    “When is the Commission, and the European Parliament, going to wake up to this job destroying reality?” When indeed? And when will Cameron and Tory party finally wake up too? Why on earth is Ed Davey still in his position when is he driven by such a mad religion?

    Yet the Cameron/Cleggs/BBC types still claim that millions of jobs depend on the EU millions of job losses in reality. Just what on earth sensible can “shipping forecast, European Court Human Rights fan” Clegg say in his Farage debate?

    “When will the BBC follow up an interview with the businessman with an interview putting the Commission on the spot, accusing them of taking away people’s livelihoods?”

    Rather unlikely as they only employ BBC think, second rate, arts grads who worship the Guardian & Independent. Also unlikely as Cameron insanely appointed pro EU, lefty Lord Patten as chairman on the Trust, we also now have Tony Hall (another Oxford PPE) as DG and the EU pays the BBC millions from taxes. Even if they try to hide it from the people he claims own the BBC the public & tax payers.

    Future generations will surely wonder at the collective insanity of our leaders as they look at the countless white elephant PV cells on roofs and windfarms decaying that litter and bespoil the UK, all paid for by absurd tax payer subsidies.

    All sensible scientist and engineers know it is bonkers. Perhaps there is a case to research and develop and to see if we can get ever these thing to work economically but to litter the country with dud, uneconomic, technology encouraged by Davey’s absurd state subsidies is bonkers.

    1. stred
      March 11, 2014

      Mr Davey, when developing Libdum policy prior to the election, came up with an energy mix described in his DECC book Sustainable Energy as Plan L – page 212. On this page are 5 alternative plans in which the total of CO2 free energy are equal. His plan was to produce 23% by solar in deserts. The plan involved building HT lines from the Sahara to the UK via Spain and France. Presumably, we would have had to ask the local tribes to wipe the sand off, if they had an opportunity between wars. Fortunately, the Spanish and Germans decided it was insane. The plan would have used a similar figure for clean coal.

      Only the Green’s plan, with 45.7% wind and the Nimby with 28% Solar Sahara could compete in insanity.

    2. arschloch
      March 11, 2014

      LL you missed out the rampant nepotism runs through the BBC. I have just listened to James Reynolds (son of Paul) giving an expert assessment of the situation in the Crimea, a couple of weeks ago he was pontificating on the Middle East. You seem to keep coming across a lot of Magnussons, Snows, Ravenscrofts etc in their line up of presenters

      1. Richard1
        March 11, 2014

        Well observed. Socialistic institutions such as nationalized industries often operate tactic nepotism. Positions in the Indian railway system are apparently often hereditary,so I am told – rather surprisngly – are highly paid tube driver jobs in London. I suppose its amusing,if slightly galling, to see leftists adopt the hereditary principle when they are so critical of it elsewhere. Perhaps the example of the Castro and Kim families in Cuba and North Korea has given the hereditary principle the stamp of leftwing approval?

        1. Lifelogic
          March 12, 2014

          Hypocrisy and lefties rather go together it is ingrained in their belief system.

          House of Lords oh yes please, private school oh yes (my child has special needs of course not met at a bog standard one), special tax laws for MPs and EU official of course, fiddle my expenses – well MP do not get paid/pensioned much so its fair enough is it not?

      2. lifelogic
        March 11, 2014

        Indeed lots of signs of nepotism and all lefty, arty, fake green, pro EU trpes with the sole exception of Andrew Neil.

        The problem is often that children of comfortable, lefty arts graduates are so often rather divorced from real science, hard economics and engineering, usually believing in green crap, the EU and the government magic money tree. Rather like Cameron in fact. Better to have a Norman Tebbit or a grocer’s daughter come chemist graduate any day.

        1. Hope
          March 11, 2014

          Conservatives fom ordinary backgrounds will always relate to the people far better than those with a silver spoon in their mouth who arrogantly think it is their right to be in charge when they do not have a clue about the world or life experiences.

          1. Aunty Estab
            March 11, 2014

            Couldn`t agree more Hope but the” arrogant silver spoon ” people seem to dominate the Conservative Party. Hence we have numerous mediocraties inthe cabinet and people of the calibre of JR and David Davis outside

    3. stred
      March 11, 2014

      The DECC book Sustainable Energy, published in 2009, has also dealt with the absurdity of exporting CO2 production in the chapters titled ‘Stuff’.

      ‘In standard accounts of’ Britain’s energy consumption’ or ‘Britain’s carbon footprint’, imported goods are NOT counted. p93. ‘ Should we ignore the energy cost of making the gizmo because it’s imported. I don’t think so. Dieter Helm and his colleagues at Oxford estimate that under a correct account, allowing for imports and exports, Britain’s carbon footprint is nearly doubled from the official 11 tons CO2 per person to about 21 tons.’ and( p.94)’ I estimate that this pile of (stuff) has an embodied energy of at least 40 kWh per day per person… 48kWh/day/p for the making of stuff , made up of 40 for imports and ( the rest non- imports) ; and another 12 kWh/p/d for the transport by sea, road and pipe and storage.

      This is written by Prof MacKay, who is now Chief Scientific Advisor at DECC.

      Since 2009, we have been taxing and putting up generation costs in such a way as to export more of our manufacturing so the current figure is probably higher, as Far East imports have increased.

      Presumably, if they were to take the advice given in their book, their plans for decarbonising energy would look a bit less convincing.

    4. Roger Farmer
      March 11, 2014

      No need to be surprised at the propagandising of the EU by the BBC. First of all their chairman Patten is reputed to be in line for an EU pension of around £100,000. per annum whenever he reaches the age of retirement. Rumour has it that the EU can shut this off should they deem him to be acting in any way anti EU.
      Then of course there is the BBC itself which regularly applies for EU hand outs. In the period April 2013 to November 2013 it is believed to have been given £3,000,000., and the process no doubt continues. Small beer compared with the £3.6 Billion they get from the British public, but enough to keep them onside in the EU debate. Don’t expect to hear any anti EU sentiments on their airwaves in the great coming debate.
      Has anyone thought to investigate payments, if any, to the current three political parties in the UK. If the EU do this it would explain the inexplicable. Whatever, I bet UKIP are not on their Christmas card list.

      1. Hope
        March 11, 2014

        The Tories and lib Dems authorising £18 million pounds for propaganda to promote closer union to the EU appears a total inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money to me. When is Cameron going to justify it to the public as an alleged Eurosceptic.

  4. Mark W
    March 11, 2014

    When will the EU try to nurture a petrochemical industry? Well never. Industry means profit and that is evil. Socialists quiver in terror at the thought of someone making a buck. Regulation means telling people what to do and taxing them. That is the socialist dream.

  5. David Cockburn
    March 11, 2014

    Maybe we should suggest to the EU that the products of industries in countries which don’t have high energy taxes be subject to import duties to stop them being unfairly ‘dumped’ in Europe.
    Maybe on the other hand they will have thought of that already and are just softening us up for that.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    March 11, 2014

    You could offer to represent businesses yourself , suggesting that BBC do an interview with key past and present entrepreneurs ,the fuel industry and you as the presenter asking the relevant questions to highlight yours and many others concerns. You could also do similar other side.

    1. Mark
      March 11, 2014

      I doubt the BBC would be willing to host such a programme. Especially since Energy Minister Greg Barker’s comments to the Energy Select Committee this morning, where he said that too much media time is already given to people who question his dogma – a view that I regard as totalitarian.

  7. stred
    March 11, 2014

    Ist para last line. You may have EU and China the wrong way round. Other ways we are increasing energy prices are the change to wood pellet burning biomass in main coal stations. Current strike price is around 4x lowest coal price. This will apply to a large slice of the electricity bill.

    Also the cost of altering and extending the grid, which is enormous, has to be added. The cost of renovating the gas grid is also adding to bills and the renovation is under the control of the descendent of the company which built it in the first place. There is no independent engineer to decide whether bits of the pipes are actually corroding or dangerous anyway. The work is expensive and adds to turnover and profits.

    In fact, all of the expensive changes required by politicians add to turnover and profits.

  8. The PrangWizard
    March 11, 2014

    And when are we going to get some action on breaking up the BBC?

  9. Richard1
    March 11, 2014

    It was an interesting interview, Jim Ratcliffe managed to get his points across succinctly despite being harried by the BBC interviewer to hurry up, talk about Grangemouth etc. It should now be becoming clear to people that the ‘precautionary principle’ invoked for green policies is one with a very high cost in terms of employment, competitiveness, living standards etc. Against the background of new peer-reviewed scientific research concluding that the most plausible explanation for the pause in global warming of the last 16 years is that the climate sensitivity of carbon is lower than had been feared, surely it is time for a root and branch look at the policies which have been adopted and the basis for them.

    Let’s also not waste a good crisis and recognize that the Russian threat over energy supplies will only disappear when Europe ceases to be dependent on Russia. Another argument for shale gas if we needed one.

    1. oldtimer
      March 11, 2014

      You make sound arguments. But they will fall on deaf ears in the Department for Energy and Climate Change. The words “Climate Change” should be removed from the department`s title forthwith. Its inclusion is based first on a false premise (of CAGW) and second on a false promise (that its policies will control the climate). It suggests a conceit and an arrogance that is more than matched by the successive Secretaries of State that have been responible for its activities (Miliband, Huhne and Davey). For evidence of this we need look no further than their public condemnation of those with the temerity to question their false premises and false promises variously as “flat earthers” or “deniers” and in the latest words of Mr Davey “to shut up”. What he and his predecessors seem to have forgotten (assuming they knew in the first place) is that scientific knowledge and understanding is based on the constant process of testing ideas by experimentation and observation. The CAGW hypothesis has signally failed this test – the models are all wrong and overstate the case. In short the science is not settled as they claim.

      The UK certainly should explore the potential for shale gas and develop it if viable. Those who oppose it and use every conceivable objection to slow or halt this process are, it should be mentioned in passing, serving the Gazprom cause; as such they may be considered 21stC versions of useful idiots.

      1. Richard1
        March 11, 2014

        I think the secretary of state for climate change, as long as that title exists, should make an annual public report to Parliament and the Country as to how much climate change there has been in the past year, measured against the climate models originally produced in the late 1980s which are the basis for green policies. How much warming? How much sea level rise? How many hurricanes etc. The problem at the moment is its all too glib. Any weather event anywhere in the world is invoked in support of global warming theory, contrary indicators are ignored and anyone, including scientific experts, who offers a different conclusion is subject to public insults, even from official sources, in an attempt to silence them.

      2. acorn
        March 11, 2014

        Shale gas extraction in the UK is coming up against the problem of our shale formations having above average faults / cracks; fracking tends to make faults slip (minor earthquakes) and damage cement seals and alignment of well casings. US drillers walk away from those areas in the US, currently.

        Also, the US gas price may currently be 1p kWh at the Henry Hub, but most gas contracts are fixed to oil prices. Large scale LNG exports from the US are yet to happen (politics), and I can’t see the UK NBP gas hub price (2.3p kWh), and other EU gas hub prices, being set by Henry Hub, it is a US local price, not a global market price as the latter does not yet exist for natural gas, as it does for crude oil.

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 11, 2014

      “It should now be becoming clear to people that the ‘precautionary principle’ invoked for green policies is one with a very high cost in terms of employment, competitiveness, living standards etc.”

      That ‘precautionary principle’ is something else that has been enshrined in the EU treaties; in theory it can’t be ignored by any EU member state while it is still in the treaties, and it could only be excised from the treaties by agreement of all the EU member states.

      From Article 191 TFEU:

      “2. Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.”

      Of course the UK government need not be over-zealous in applying that principle, but on the other hand if it blatantly disregarded that requirement it could end up being taken to court, possibly by some EU-funded NGO.

  10. Mark B
    March 11, 2014

    You might want to look into STOR before writing your next piece on energy. I think you might find it illuminating (pun intended).

    Alternatively, you could read Dr. R. North’s blog, EUReferendum.

  11. Old Albion
    March 11, 2014

    Have you mentioned any of this to your deputy leader, Clegg? He thinks the EU is wonderful.

    Reply I asked the PM to change these policies in a question to him yesterday, following many other interventions in the past.

    1. stred
      March 11, 2014

      I saw this during my coffee break. You asked him about changing our policy during the debate about ‘how to teach the Russians a lesson’. He agreed quickly, presumably thinking it was about not using Russian gas and ‘we’ meaning the EU. You may as well have asked him if it was a good idea to change our socks.

  12. sm
    March 11, 2014

    I understand that the BBC receive a considerable amout of funding from the EU; could they possibly undertake an honest review of EU activities and/or policies without risk of losing that funding?

  13. lifelogic
    March 11, 2014

    Listening to “the Accountant Kings” file on 4 is it any wonder councils & governments cannot run anything efficiently. With 1000 page contracts to contractors to read before you can even order a new street light bulb or simple grit bin. Just far too many lawyers parasites and accountants and far too few engineers, fitters, builders and real workers.

    How is the office of tax simplification getting on?I see my tax guides seem to double in size every two years or so. At least they on not on paper now or I would not be able to pick them up. The UK has accountants than any other country, per head it seems (and the lawyers and even worse and more damaging). How can anyone (state of private sector) run anything efficiently when bound up with all this idiotic red tape, pointless often conflicting complexity and parasitic activity.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      March 11, 2014

      lifelogic (Back to minuscule I see)–You are so right about the length of contracts but it is not just length, too often common sense goes right out of the window when work is outsourced. Well do I remember doing an audit of an outsourced cleaning contract at a Hospital (called a Trust for some inexplicable reason). Anybody thinking such a contract might be straightforward should think again. The contract could not say anything simple and in touch with reality such as for instance , “Clean the cupboards and keep them clean”. Instead there had to be mumbo jumbo, almost beyond belief, saying something like, “Every third Tuesday make two vertical wipes and three horizontal ones of each wall with (such and such) a mop head and a liquid made up of 17 parts per million of (a specified) chemical soap followed by wiping with a dry cloth” etc etc, the point being that as regards the contract (very long because of the perfectly useless specifications) whether the cupboards were on were not clean was close to irrelevant. Of course the cleaning ladies just ignored the gibberish in the contract and simply made sure the cupboards were clean. Never mind the cleaning, the effort going in to the contract was something else. I was put off outsourcing for life.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        March 11, 2014

        Postscript–And that was just the half of it because of course the cleaning ladies do not work for the Hospital (Sorry Trust) but for the Contractor, so the modern equivalent of Matron cannot say anything face-to-face if she is not content but only via the Contractor and even then not directly. This sort of baloney is a major reason why Hospitals (Anybody any idea why they are all called Trusts? Stand up Denis!) these days have multistorey Admin blocks stretching out to the horizon. Should be thankful for small mercies in that at least Primary Care Trusts, masters in photocopying and paper shuffling (auditing them was fun too) have gone. I doubt anyone feels the lack.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          March 11, 2014

          PPS–Sorry, should of course have said she or he

          1. Lifelogic
            March 12, 2014

            For me he (or chairman etc.) clearly often means he or she and is far preferable and more concise.

    2. backofanenvelope
      March 11, 2014

      I think the newspaper review on BBC breakfast TV this morning had an item saying that the office of tax simplification had decided it was impossible.

  14. alan jutson
    March 11, 2014

    Only when all of the heavy industry leaves the EU area will the penny finally drop.

    By then they will have found another excuse, be it Bankers, Airlines, or any other industry they seek to tax out of existence.

    They always know best you know. !

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    March 11, 2014

    JR : “The EU’s dear energy is very damaging to industry”
    It is damaging to us all. This Conservative led government is quite happy to be dictated to by their masters in Brussels. Some people are profiting greatly by these seemingly crazy energy policies and they are not all outside Europe.

  16. JohnE
    March 11, 2014

    Last nights Bang Goes The Theory (It’s on iPlayer) was also based around the National Grid warning that we are shutting down power plants to meet EU directives without any plan that adds up to replace the lost supply.
    The message was clearly stated although the presentation was sugar coated.
    It seems the Grid have despaired of getting politicians to listen to them and are going public with their warnings of the catastrophe we are sleep walking in to. The overall message was the same one they have been trying to get people to listen to for at least five years to my knowledge.

    1. miami.mode
      March 11, 2014


      It was noticeable in that programme that at one stage it was mentioned that around 20% (10GW) of electricity came from renewables but a snapshot of the energy mix showed:-

      73% Coal & gas
      16% Nuclear
      6% Import
      1.8% Wind
      2.5% Pumpgen & water

      Who’s kidding who?

      1. Lifelogic
        March 12, 2014

        Clegg, Davey and Cameron kidding the voters?

  17. Roger Farmer
    March 11, 2014

    Do not expect logic or common sense from the EU commission on energy. They have shown themselves to be totally bigoted and in denial in much the same way as some religious fanatics deny themselves and their children life saving blood transfusions.
    The bit that amazes me is that so many national politicians are happy to kneel before this altar of false religion and condemn their people to a life of hardship. It as if they wish their country to revert to the Middle Ages. Those in the emerging economies of the World must be amazed at the extent to which we in Europe are in denial.
    I ask myself, what is it that the EU has promised Cameron, Clegg, and Milliband that vacuum cleans their minds. Perhaps it is school, university, political gofer, politician, and never having had a proper job that hypnotises them into a state of reality denial. With a small number of exceptions they come over as blundering idiots who should never have been allowed anywhere near an office of state. The sooner we are rid of them the better.

  18. Peter Davies
    March 11, 2014

    Unfortunately by taking money from the EU the BBC has put itself into the position of no longer being impartial. We need you in Govt Mr Redwood shaping policy rather than on the sidelines highlighting issues such as this.

  19. Bert Young
    March 11, 2014

    BASF began to diversify its interests some time ago -in the late 70’s – 80’s ; the motives were not essentially driven by energy costs , but by the increasing activity of the automotive sector outside of Germany ( I was an adviser to the company and assisted them in establishing here in the UK ) . There is no doubt that the cost of energy does make it particularly difficult for manufacturing organisations based in Europe to compete on a level playing field , and , as long as the EU persists in its ridiculous green policy , things will only get worse . One of the many advantages we have in this country is the existence of many fine design and engineering establishments that , every year , graduate a crop of talented individuals sought after by world leading organisations . If we were able to offer the same competitive enviroment as the USA , we would capitalise on this talent enormously ; as it is , many of these individuals finish up abroad heading up and assisting in the creation and development of outstanding products .

    1. JohnE
      March 11, 2014

      Unfortunately this is absolutely correct. Talented engineers with language skills have the world to choose from – no career reasons at all to stay in the UK where their talents and abilities are under paid and not respected.
      When all the government policies prevent things being done, those who want to achieve something go elsewhere where they are welcomed.

  20. Ralph Musgrave
    March 11, 2014

    High energy prices are no bar whatsoever to full employment. High energy prices simply mean fewer employed in energy using industries and more employed in other industries.

    Energy has always been relatively expensive in Japan, but that didn’t prevent full employment there prior to their so called “lost decades”. And no one attributes the lost decades to high energy prices, far as I know.

    If the price of tomatoes rises, fewer people will be employed growing tomatoes and more employed growing other vegetables.

    1. backofanenvelope
      March 11, 2014

      Why are tomatoes rising in price then?

    2. miami.mode
      March 11, 2014


      Japan is not a good example as they had a culture of “jobs for life”.

      Their National Debt is well in excess of 200% but they are fortunate that, probably again due to culture, this is mostly financed internally by the indigenous population investing their savings.

    3. Jennifer A
      March 11, 2014

      Is there any ‘industry’ which doesn’t involve the use of energy ?

      We have the banking ‘industry’, the entertainment ‘industry’ – the sex ‘industry’.

      Call them what you will but please, not ‘industry.’ Thusly we are stripped of real industry when alarm bells ought to be ringing.

      So much of what goes wrong in Britain is covered by sneaky wording.

    4. ian wragg
      March 11, 2014

      Using that logic we will no doubt be de-industrialised by the middle of this century.
      As peter Hichens once said…”we can’t all keep serving coffee to one another as an excuse for an economy”…
      No doubt you work in the public sector.

  21. Tad Davison
    March 11, 2014

    Just an observation, but when the BBC’s Simon McCoy was reading out tributes following the sad and untimely death of Bob Crow, one of them happened to mention that Bob Crow was against the EU as it cost British people jobs. McCoy sucked in air through his clenched teeth as if the comment was toxic and a blasphemy.

    Can someone please suggest how we can make the ‘most trusted broadcaster’ more even-handed and not so pro-EU?

    I’m sure Bob Crow would have approved, and to add my own tribute, he’ll be sadly missed by a lot of people.

    Tad Davison


    1. Lindsay McDougall
      March 13, 2014

      Given the number of strikes that Bob Crow caused, I’m glad that the Trade Union law that Mrs Thatcher put in place was in operation. Had it been impossible to sue RMT, he would have had a field day.

      There remain anti-EU Labour MPs – notably Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer – and Conservative Eurosceptics should make sure that they know every one of them. Also, the Ulster Unionists at Westminster are Eurosceptic.

      It’s quite likely that the Conservatives will be just short of an overall majority in 2015. We will need every ally we can get.

  22. Martin Ryder
    March 11, 2014

    I tend to watch Sky News, rather than BBC News, as the presenters, etc seem to be down to earth and sensible. The BBC employs members of the ‘liberal’ elite who have their heads in the clouds and look down with scorn on the general public on the earth below.

    They are in favour of mass immigration, expensive green energy, HS2, etc, etc, not because they have thought the UK’s problems through and consider that these are the answers to them, but because they know that the ‘common’ people are against them and wish to show their superiority over them.

    Mr Cameron is the same. His head is in the same cloud as the ‘liberal’ elite and he will never be able to resolve the country’s problems. Nor, unfortunately, can the other claimants to the crown, including Mr Farage. The latter is more ‘down to earth’ than his rivals but he is a conductor without an orchestra and is untried in government.

    I consider that Mr Cameron’s problems stem partly from his character – aloof and unable to listen to lesser beings – and partly from his inexperience. If he had worked his way up from Minister to Secretary of State to PM he may have done a better job. His lack of experience outside politics has also let him, and the country, down.

    If the Conservatives really wish to be the party of government then they ought to get rid of the top public school/PPE Oxbridge types, forget about George (too well fed and smug) and Boris (a great bloke but too clownish for the PM’s job) and look for some people who can actually do things.

    1. forthurst
      March 11, 2014

      “If the Conservatives really wish to be the party of government then they ought to get rid of the top public school/PPE Oxbridge types”

      Cameron was gibbering on about the ‘Internet of Things’ at CeBIT, Hanover; “Take British ingenuity in software, services and design, add German excellence in engineering and industrial manufacturing and together we can lead in this new revolution.” He’s even got a medical researcher who doubles as Chief Scientific Advisor to ‘investigate’ the technology.

      The ‘Internet of Things’ (Embedded Intelligence), is moving forward because the costs of deployment have fallen and if Cameron seriously imagines that half the added value of an appliance with embedded intelligence will be in the deployment of that intelligence he needs to think again. The British company whose processors are at the core of the ‘Internet of Things’ did not have a stand at CeBIT; they attended “Embedded World 2014” in Nurenburg instead, where numerate scientists and engineers were already planning the future whilst learning and communicating with each other.

  23. Vanessa
    March 11, 2014

    Although the BBC lied about how we actually keep the lights on. We rely on dirty diesel generators which can be turned on or off in an instant when there is no wind.

    Diesel is not a “green” fuel and pumps out a lot of CO2 but if we did not have these diesel generators we would certainly not have any energy and business would move to outside the EU.

    If you want the truth then read it is the ONLY place you will find it. So much for reducing carbon dioxide or “carbon” as they love to call it.

    1. sjb
      March 12, 2014

      Vanessa wrote: If you want the truth then read it is the ONLY place you will find it.

      Today it is leading on an opinion poll[1] that shows a majority in favour of remaining in the EU.

      UKIP are at 13%, but perhaps that will change after the Clegg v Farage tv debate.

      [1] 3,195 GB adults, 9-10 March 2014

  24. Atlas
    March 11, 2014

    It’s simple – I think the EU is the road to hell.

  25. Bob
    March 11, 2014

    OT Isn’t it time that the postal voting scandal was addressed?
    Your coalition partners encourage it as they like to get the votes out early, before the opposition have time to put their case to the voters.

    Read more:

  26. forthurst
    March 11, 2014

    “If the EU and its so called single market are about retaining and increasing jobs, you would have thought the EU would draw up a plan to give the EU competitive energy and gas prices.”

    There is no evidence that the EU operates as an economic zone whose purpose is the furthering of the economic interests of its member states, rather than as a geo-strategic adjunct to NATO, with the primary role of expansion eastward and southward fusing every nation in its wake into one monolithic superstate; otherwise why would it be promising our money to Ukraine, an economic basket case whose economy is controlled by the same international crime syndicate, now promoted into government, that expropriated the wealth of Russia before Putin, whilst taking aggressive steps against Russia, liable to cause the EU’s supplies of oil and gas to be cut off in response?

    The EU will be the ruination of every nation which refuses to get out whilst there is still time. The idea that it is good for some countries and bad for others is nonsense: how can Germany be an industrial powerhouse without access to competitive energy; how can Germany be prosperous if all its wealth has to be distributed to those countries which cannot compete, and in the case of Ukraine, not even in the EU?

  27. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    It is the EU’s plan to make us all poorer in order to make us easier to control.

    Democracy needs a prosperous and educated population.

  28. Antisthenes
    March 11, 2014

    When will they wake up you ask. I do not believe they will ever. The EU will be a place where industries and manufacturing is no more everyone will either be subsistence organic farmers or taking in each others laundry. The cry will go up from the EP and Brussels that their policies have been an unqualified success because the EU has demonstrated how to save the planet. They will then expect the rest of the world to follow suit which it will not of course. The rest of the world will just shake their heads in disbelief at the EU stupidity and get on with improving the standard of living of their citizens and tackle problems of pollution by implementing sensible cost effective technological and entrepreneurial innovations.

  29. Lindsay McDougall
    March 11, 2014

    I read an article today saying that Texas – a single US state – is now the 9th biggest oil producer in the world, exploiting its vast shale deposits for both gas and oil. There are one or two voices worrying about potential contamination of the water supply. If this proves to be unfounded, I trust that the anti-fracking mob will get out of the way.

  30. matt_us
    March 11, 2014

    Load of nonsense .

    Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe (highest current account surplus, lowest unemployment of big economies, highest standard of living) BECAUSE it has one of the highest percentage of green energy in its energy mix. Green energy has been a growth engine in Germany!

    Sure in its race to the bottom BASF will find locations where standards are lower and wages are worse. That is exactly where the EU should come in to avoid such exploitation. Of course, the EU does not!

    Instead, the EU pursues strategies which exploit workers even more through signing of the TTIP trade agreement.

    And if US gas gas is so cheap and plentiful, it is no surprise the US is war mongering trying to cut off Europe from Russia, so that they can sell their fracking gas over here!

    1. Edward2
      March 11, 2014

      I’m presuming your opening remark applies to your post immediately below it matt.
      If so you should have used the :- punctuation mark.

    2. Lindsay McDougall
      March 12, 2014

      Then why has Germany opened a huge open cast mine to extract dirty brown lignite coal? Because during periods of low wind, electricity generation from wind farms is near zero.

      [In the UK last August, a month of very low wind, our wind farms in aggregate consumed more energy than they generated.]

      Germany’s powerful economy does very well out of exporting heavy motor cars and heavy locomotives and heavy railway carriages. When South West trains first purchased 180 Desiro train carriages, they could only run 45 at first because of their heavy demand for power. It took a clever power engineer to steadily increase power on the railway line from Waterloo to Basingstoke and beyond. This has resulted in higher fuel consumption at the power stations feeding the railway with energy.

      Not to mention the industrial waste that Germany tips into the Danube, to emerge at the Black Sea.

      I’m more than a little annoyed about Germany’s squeaky clean environmental image. It’s about time other people got annoyed too.

  31. zorro
    March 11, 2014

    ‘…the single market is becoming a regulatory conspiracy against enterprising Europe, designed to transfer more and more industrial jobs outside the EU altogether…’

    John, I don’t recall such an explicit statement from you on the blog like this before (I certainly don’t disagree with your thoughts). So, if you accept that this is the case, what is the why? Why do they appear to be de-industrialising Europe on purpose?


  32. uanime5
    March 13, 2014

    The USA has embraced the shale revolution, whilst the EU has dithered and argued against it.

    What about Poland? They allowed companies to frack for shale gas. However this has ended because Poland’s shale gas was too costly to extract. This is probably why so few EU countries are interested in shale gas.

    The Middle East which has an abundance of cheap gas is also a large petro chemical centre.

    Not really as many countries lack the infrastructure to make petrochemicals. For example Iran is unable to turn oil into petrol.

    Far from being a single market that can get our young people back to work and can enhance our general prosperity, the single market is becoming a regulatory conspiracy against enterprising Europe, designed to transfer more and more industrial jobs outside the EU altogether.

    Given that most of the labour intensive industrial jobs were outsourced decades ago the ones that remain tend to be mainly automated. So few jobs will be lost if the remaining industrial jobs are outsourced.

    Germany’s BASF has recently stated they will placing most of their new investment outside the EU, as they no longer find Germany and the wider EU as competitive as non EU locations.

    Or that the EU has a saturated market, while other countries have an expanding one.

  33. James Reade
    March 13, 2014

    I have to admit, I get really, really bored of your constant harping on about this “dear energy policy” the EU supposedly runs.

    The obvious implication is that governments should get out of the way of the market determining what the price of energy should be.

    In an industry that blatantly obviously has huge externalities (environmental damage etc – though I’m sure a good few of your loyal supporters will deny that burning fossil fuels has environmental consequences – nothing surprises me on this blog), what on earth makes you think that the subsequent price will be anywhere near the one that is socially optimal?

    I’d be utterly delighted if you were to answer this question instead of engaging in your usual political style of avoiding answering the question and instead making (usually false and laughable) assertions about what I believe or would do. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Reply The EU renewables requirement requires us to have a lot of expensive wind energy instead of more cheaper gas fuelled electricity like the US. As a result the EU has a worse record on CO2 in recent years than the US, as Germany and others are now burning more coal!

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