Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arrogance of Politicians Is Upsetting ... Humility of Real People Inspiring

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arrogance of Politicians Is Upsetting ... Humility of Real People Inspiring

Article excerpt


THE thing that struck me about the Rifkind-Straw affair was their overwhelming arrogance.

'Of course, I bring my name' Straw said, as though he were proffering a cure for cancer. Rifkind portrayed himself as a man of leisure who might just exert himself if they paid him PS5,000 a day. They are already wealthy by most peoples' standards. They'll have fat pensions. Why be so hungry for more? That same day I saw a Sunderland man on the BBC's Inside Out. He had applied unsuccessfully for 90 jobs but he kept smiling. When his benefit ran out he lived on homecooked chips. He wouldn't turn to a food bank because he 'could manage'.

He made me proud of the city we both sprang from. I thought him worth two of Messrs Rifkind and Straw, put together.

DOGGER Bank Creyke Beck will be the world's largest off-shore wind farm, covering 430 square miles, and will cost a reported PS6-8m to build.

According to some experts, the plan for 400 turbines to be erected off the Yorkshire coast will be a huge burden on the taxpayer, sucking up a fortune in subsidies.

On the face of it, it looks good, capable of generating enough electricity to power two million homes; creating hundreds of jobs and making a massive contribution to the carbon emissions reduction target imposed on us by the EU.

It's a huge project in every sense of the word. Each of its 400 turbines, when completed will be 600ft tall and the area they cover, 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast, will reportedly be bigger than Dartmoor.

Its supporters expect it to generate well over PS1 bn a year in profit but it has its critics.

According to John Constable, director of wind industry analysts the Renewable Energy Foundation, "It represents an experiment on such a scale that it could seriously disrupt the UK economy."

When the wind declines to blow all those turbines will stand idle. Be honest, who would want to invest in a product that might or might not be there, depending on the weather. …

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