Readers know that I spend a lot of time urging changes and improvements to government policies in some areas. Often people write in to say they agree and to complain that government does not. Conference this year shows that there are changes for the better that offer a clear difference and superior choice than the Labour/Lib Dem policy.
Take the speech of the new Energy Security Secretary. She stated that she intends to source more energy domestically instead of relying on more and more imports as the net zero policy enthusiasts have wanted. She proposes more energy that is “home grown, clean and cheap”, essentials for stronger industry and rising prosperity.
She sees energy independence as ” our best defence”. She says she will back our own North Sea “instead of relying on oil imports , as Keir Starmer would have it”. As proof of that she has already given the go ahead for the new Rosebank Field, an important future source of oil and gas, well paid jobs and plenty of UK tax revenue.
She promises us “the first large scale nuclear project since Margaret Thatcher’s government”. She has moved the competition on to find the right company to develop and roll out many small nuclear modular reactors. Done well this could be a big boost for UK manufacturing, with plenty of scope to export as well as to install a number of these probably at existing nuclear sites where there is already a trained workforce facing the closure of an old nuclear generator.
She reflected the change of direction over the road to net zero announced by the Prime Minister. “If we are to succeed, net zero cannot be something that is done to people, by a privileged elite” “We cannot force people to make wrong decisions for their families. And it is immoral to put forward policies that will impoverish people here, when emissions are rising abroad.”
She argued that as the UK produces 1% of world CO 2 emissions and China 30% more of the burden of adjustment must now be undertaken by the large emitters. She attacked the left who have made “Net Zero a new religion, showing condescension to people’s way of life “. She does not want to lecture people about eating meat, taking a foreign holiday or driving to work.
She recognises government can only get change if it takes people with them, and if the new products and services are affordable and popular.
All this makes much more sense than the command and control system based on bans, higher taxes and legal requirements.