Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Albert Owen is an accomplished politician...
Albert Owen is an accomplished politician. He really is. But I don't mean it as a compliment.
Yesterday's Daily Post carried an article explaining in a little more detail Horizon's plans regarding building Wylfa B. Next to that article was a write-up of Albert Owen's complaints that the new coalition government has "shattered" the confidence of nuclear investors.
Of course Albert is right to hold the new government to account. And, as I have written here, its certainly less than optimal to have an Energy Secretary that doesn't believe in nuclear power. However what makes Albert such an accomplished politician - and what I find so irritating - is Albert's shamelessness. The record of Albert's Labour government on energy policy is one of indifference (except when signing the UK up to ever more ridiculous carbon targets) and procrastination. In the end, even the Government's own advisors were warning that we could be facing blackouts by 2015. Why? because Labour's obsession with renewable energy had blinded them to the fact that most nuclear plants (including the current Wylfa reactor) and half of UK's coal plants were due to close over the coming decade without a concrete plan on how to replace them.
Indeed in Anglesey we have paid an especially heavy price for Labour's energy policy failures. Anglesey Aluminium - the Island's largest private sector employer - relied on a cut-price electricity deal with Wylfa. However when Wylfa was handed over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to begin the shutting down process that deal had to end as it would constitute unlawful state aid which is banned under EU law. As a consequence Anglesey Aluminium was forced to close with a loss of 450 jobs and and an estimated 240 more through indirect and induced effects.
So, in conclusion, had Labour used its three terms in Government wisely to replace Britain's ageing nuclear plants in a timely manner then we wouldn't now have to worry about having a Lib Dem Energy Secretary who doesn't believe in nuclear power. Whats more, we might even still have still had a thriving Anglesey Aluminium too. Consequently my advice to Albert is this: by all means hold the new government to account, but remember we are in the current difficult situation with regards to Wylfa because of the policies of your own government.
P.S. I apologise for the lack of posts lately - I hope the reason why will become apparent very soon. Watch this space...