Archive | October 2012

Suffer the little children?

George Osborne in £10 billion benefit cut vow‘ (BBC News)

Do you think George Osborne believes the things he says – or does he just expect us to believe them?

Our beloved Chancellor says it is “unacceptable” that people on benefits should get extra money when they have more children, deliberately forgetting that Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits are designed to support children not adults.

Far from convincing their parents to find a job, any cut in these benefits will increase child poverty amongst many of the most vulnerable children in our society; and if George Osborne doesn’t know that then he shouldn’t be Chancellor.

What I find unacceptable is that someone would wilfully put children at risk.

Anyone who does so should face the full weight of the law and the righteous condemnation of our society, no matter how rich and famous they are!


It’s time to take our power back

It seems my letter to the local press (posted here on 2 October and published in the Evening Post yesterday) was very timely.

I’ve been warning for some time that unless we do something about electricity generating capacity soon we’re going to have supply problems within this decade.

 The BBC reports that Ofgem have confirmed my fears: ‘Power shortage risks by 2015, Ofgem warns’. Only it looks like it’s going to happen sooner than I thought.

Government is blaming the EU for having the temerity to force us to close down dirty, polluting power stations.      And they’re making all sorts of reassuring noises about the forthcoming Energy Bill.  At the same time big energy are demanding more public investment so that they can carry on making huge profits whilst hiking the prices we pay.

But neither new nuclear nor the Severn Barrage can solve this problem.  The lead times are far too long even if they were to start building tomorrow.

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Still waiting for the change to come

Many of my Labour supporting friends are ‘cock a hoop’ following Ed Milliband’s speech to the Labour Conference.  It was a rousing speech containing much promise, but my problem is this.

Twice in my life I’ve seen Labour governments in an ideal position to implement the founding principles of the Labour Party, and twice I’ve been desperately disappointed.  The first time through a cowardly failure to stand up for those principles (Wilson and Callaghan); the second time through wilful abandonment of the principles (Blair & Co.).

I find myself seriously doubting whether we can change anything by simply swapping a bunch of Tory millionaires for a bunch of Labour millionaires.

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An alternative source of energy

(Another letter to the South Wales Evening Post)

Trevor Morgan (untitled letter, Have Your Say, 2 October) points to an energy solution that might satisfy both anti-wind and anti-nuclear campaigners.

There is indeed a potential alternative “on our doorsteps” – or to be more precise, on our rooftops – in the form of micro-generation.

If every householder, business, local authority and community group were to take responsibility for their own power needs by installing an appropriate mix of solar panels and wind generators on whatever properties they might own, there would be no need for either wind farms or nuclear power stations in Wales.

This combined with suitably located hydro, wave and tidal generators should allow Wales to become self sufficient in electricity production within a decade, and create a whole lot of jobs in the process.

Large-scale development of micro-generation would also reverse the current power structure with individuals and communities selling electricity to multi-national corporations rather than the other way around.

If local councils were to lead the way by developing the full renewable energy generation potential of the many buildings within their control, this would not only help to reduce council tax but set an example for local business and developers to follow.


Keith M Ross

If it comes to a choice between windmills and nuclear power stations, I know which I’d prefer to see in Swansea Bay

(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)

It should come as no surprise to Jack Harris (‘Wind offers no guarantee’, Have Your Say, 1 October) that the Green Party continues to champion renewables over nuclear power.

The Green Party was founded from the desire to protect the earth for the benefit of future generations; whereas nuclear power is creating a legacy of deadly waste that will blight the lives of many of those generations.

As someone who is supposedly knowledgeable about nuclear power, it’s astonishing that Mr Harris continues to peddle the myth that nuclear power is “carbon-free”, carefully ignoring the carbon emissions from mining, processing and transportation of the fuel, and the construction and deconstruction of the power stations?

Investment in renewables (wind, wave and solar) could create 50,000 jobs in Wales at a fraction of the cost of a single nuclear power station.  There are currently less than 2,000 people employed by the nuclear industry in Wales.

If it comes to a choice between windmills and nuclear power stations, I know which I’d prefer to see in Swansea Bay.


Keith M Ross

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