WHEN discussing the huge increases in UK energy prices and all its consequences – including hyperinflation which is expected to be around 15% and wage strikes to meet these increased prices – this which never seems to be mentioned is the real reason the UK is in this predicament. As Wee Ginger Dug mentions in his article on Saturday, “the responsibility for this disaster lies squarely with the Conservative government” (A “union benefit” the Conservatives don’t want credit for…, August 27). However, not only with this Conservative government, but especially with the previous ones.
It was their political decision to sell all our oil and gas resources to private industry with the British National Oil Corporation – a public body – sold under the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher between 1982 and 1988, followed by the sale of British Gas in 1986.
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As a result, instead of secure, public energy resources, these private companies are not required to sell into the UK at favorable rates. So instead of us just having to pay mainly for the cost of production, which has not recently increased significantly, the UK has to compete for this oil and gas with other countries in the global oil market. energy, having to pay high prices for supplies, even if these resources are available within the limits of our territory.
Being able to demand wildly inflated prices – mainly due to increased global demand due to Covid recovery and the effects on Russian supplies due to the war in Ukraine – these private companies are able to make obscene profits and our purchase price of oil and gas has risen dramatically.
So the severe effects of these huge increases in energy prices – with many households unable to afford increased energy and the necessities of life, with businesses going bankrupt, with very high inflation, with disruption due to workers resorting to strike action so that wage increases can survive the resulting price increases – are all the result of the privatization policies of these historic and current British Conservative governments, for which Scotland did not vote for any.
It is urgent to acquire real democratic power with independence, and to use the financial levers then available to regain control of our electricity-producing energy resources. Let’s take the power back – twice.
The Sunday Times published an article over the weekend which stated roughly ‘How the Tories lost a decade of energy supply’. I’m afraid he seriously underestimated the lost timescale of a decade – more like three decades.
In the 1980s and early 1990s the (then conservative) government had emasculated the coal industry (after the miners’ strike) and embarked on the “gas race” because it was much less expensive (at the time). They had been warned as early as the early 80’s that there was something called global warming developing, but they paid no attention to it. The following Blair (Labour) government in 1997 followed the same tactic (until 2010) and ignored warnings about overreliance on gas and oil to meet Britain’s energy needs. They were probably too busy trying to join the United States in an illegal war to worry about energy supplies.
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In 2010 the Tories returned to power, with the help of the Liberals, and among their first actions was to halt subsidies and progress on a gas storage facility in England and withdraw investment in CO2 storage facilities in abandoned oil wells in the North Sea. (The fact that this project is based in Peterhead probably influenced their decision). Over the next few years, they stopped home insulation projects, promoted gas boiler installations, scaled back the Green Homes project, and generally reduced all spending on “green projects” to meet the words of Cameron to “cut the green shit”.
If UK governments had persisted with even half of the green projects they launched, Britain would be better prepared for the current energy crisis and be on track to reach net zero by 2050 As it stands, it seems highly unlikely that they will ever do so. achieve this goal, with the resulting problems for the world. But hey, London can always add height to the Thames Barrier as long as Scotland is there to foot the bill.
YOUR sister newspaper, the Sunday National, has rightly blamed the ‘catastrophic failure’ of this Conservative mess of a government for this major cost of living crisis. However, Labour, while not supporting unions, are busy supporting unionism here in Lanarkshire.
In the meantime, we need to hear from the Scottish Government about their plans to mediate the hurt felt by so many. The public response is, for now, fairly muted, but this catastrophe facing the poor, retirees, workers and the small business sector could create a poll tax type response.
There is anger and concern in the classes ruled not by politicians but by unions. Politics can turn into desperate measures unless hope is offered and solutions are found.
NOBODY needs help with rising fuel prices. What we all need is for the government in London to systematically address the causes of the ‘cost of living crisis’ and the structural inequalities of its impact rather than continuing to pursue its libertarian agenda to liberate the rich and powerful from the constraints on their capacity. to amass more wealth and power at the expense of those who have less.
We need to get Scotland out of this toxic Union with its corrupt system of government so that we can strive for better social justice than we can ever hope to have if we stay where we are.