Project Fear goes green

What’s going on with Project Fear? It’s genuinely perplexing. Some aspects of the campaign so far have gone according to expectations – everyone expected the mainstream media to be universally biased against independence (well, at least those of us who are cynical basterts did), and that’s exactly what they’ve been. Everyone expected that the Unionist parties would mount a deeply negative and dirty fight despite their protestations of positivity. But few expected the Big Beasts, the Heavy Hitters and the Alliterative Architects of Westminster to be so spectacularly inept. And it’s not even like we had a high opinion of them to begin with.

Over the past month or so, all the punches thrown by Better Together have landed heavily in an explosion of blood and snot. But they’ve been punching their own nose. The Yes campaign hasn’t had to do anything much, except get the popcorn and a cosy seat in the front row.

The Scottish referendum is a historic first. It’s the first time in history that the people of Scotland have exercised their sovereignty. When the polls open on the 18th of September, the future of this country will be in the hands of the people. That’s never happened before. But the referendum also represents another historic first, it’s the first time that the Westminster Parliament has had to justify its existence.

They’re not doing a very good job of it, they don’t know where to start. Westminster has always reigned unchallenged. UK politicians have no experience in arguing the basics of democratic representation, of making a case to the people to support the existing system. The existing system, with its unelected lords and reliance on patronage, the unaccountability of culture secretaries who only resign after a concerted media campaign but still won’t accept responsibility for their misdeeds, is indefensible.

Instead they rely on fear and woo, scares and frights, and even though the increasingly hystrionic terror bombs are clearly not working, Westminster’s finest don’t know what else to do.

Today’s BBC Scottish news led with the scare story that fuel bills in an independent Scotland would have to rise. The story is based on claims from Ed Davey, the UK energy minister, so it’s totally unbiased, honest. It’s a couple of days old but the BBC thought it might have been overlooked in the hoo ha over George Robertson’s idiocies, so has helpfully given it prime billing today.

What it boils down to is the assertion that Scotland gets 28% of the UK’s green energy subsidies, over £560 million annually. But Scotland makes up only 10% of electricity sales. Scotland would have to find a wodge of dosh to make up the difference, so domestic electricity bills would have to rise.

It’s a peculiar argument which looks at renewable energy in isolation from the wider energy market. It ignores the fact that the UK is utterly dependent upon Scotland to meet its green energy targets, that the UK has a dangerously small spare generating capacity, and that the EU is making moves to integrate the energy market across the continent. It hopes no one notices that green energy is a developing industry, costs will reduce in the future. There is still quite a distance to travel before renewables are profitable, but a report published in the New Scientist magazine this week highlighted the rapidly falling costs of renewable energy production. The cost of installing wind energy generating capacity has fallen 53% since 2009.

More importantly, Ed Davey’s boo! also ignored the fact that Scotland will no longer be contributing to the massive subsidies the UK pays to the nuclear energy industry – subsidies which dwarf those paid to renewables.

The planned Hinkley Point nuclear power station is alone due to receive £100 billion of UK government funds. The deal done with EDF for the plant means that the UK will be paying through the nose for expensive nuclear power for decades to come. Scotland’s notional share of government funding for the project is approximately £10 billion. We won’t be paying that if we’re independent. So Scotland could fund its renewables industry and still have change of over £9.5 billion. And that’s just from Hinkley Point.

It’s the usual Project Fear trickery. Take a subject and present it in isolation, play up the costs, ignore the savings, and pretend that Scotland would continue having to make all the same spending decisions as Westminster. Voila, you’ve got a BOO! Westminster doesn’t do joined up thinking, and is relying on no one else being able to do it either.

Recycling scare stories is Westminster’s only real contribution to going green. It didn’t work before. It won’t work this time. Project Fear has punched itself in the face again, the green they’re covered in is sticky, gooey, and flowing from their nose.


23 comments on “Project Fear goes green

  1. Eilean says:

    I will accept that Yes might just lose the referendum yet. But I will say that the Naw campaign has lost the referendum already. The genie is out of the bottle. As the referendum campaigns progress towards the vote the Naw side are being exposed for the lying malignant parasites that they are. If they think that a no vote will be the end of it I think that they are very much mistaken. If you will pardon the metaphor. Scotland has whipped back the duvet and they have been caught with their Boabies in hand. The trouble is that you couldn’t give that bunch a red neck with a blowlamp.

    £100 billion pounds to EDF thats eye watering. I worked in energy retail (Posh for meter reading) for a couple of years and could go on about EDF all day. Bottom line is that they just don’t give a monkeys about their customers. We repeatedly pointed out failings in their billing. And their response was a gallic shrug and a “So what”

  2. bringiton says:

    California has developed cheap battery storage technology which will make energy from renewables even more affordable in future and defeat the argument about dependency on the wind blowing or not.
    Despite the idiotic energy policies being cobbled together by the parliament in England,as you rightly point out Paul,they are already dependent on Scottish power (energy,not the company) and will become even more so until their very expensive nuclear power stations come on line.
    As usual,the full cost of nuclear is being hidden from view and will only become apparent to English consumers once the bills land on the doorstep.
    Scots will be lumbered with these costs as well unless we vote to manage our own affairs.
    Thanks Paul.

  3. […] What's going on with Project Fear? It's genuinely perplexing. Some aspects of the campaign so far have gone according to expectations – everyone expected the mainstream media to be universally bias…  […]

  4. Capella says:

    Remember John Smith’s brilliant joke at John Major’s expense, that whenever he looks for a weapon to attack he opposition, he invariably picks up a boomerang.

  5. Liz Walker says:

    The energy companies seem strangely silent.I think that they’re scared stiff that come Independence we will nationalize them(as is right and proper) since we’ll also have more money to invest in renewables as none of it goes to shareholders.

  6. […] What's going on with Project Fear? It's genuinely perplexing. Some aspects of the campaign so far have gone according to expectations – everyone expected the mainstream media to be universally bias…  […]

  7. PRJ says:

    The assumption is that Scotland will go on developing green energy for the rUK market. If the rUK doesn’t any of our green electricity there will be no need to invest X millions. We just need to invest in the Scottish market.

  8. Susan Price says:

    I know I’m very late to the party but I have only recently come across your blog. Just wanted to say ‘thank you’. You make what I find complicated matters into an easy read for me. I remember Margo McDonald saying that all it would take for Yes to win would be for each supporter to convince just one other person. I suspect you have filled your quota many times.

  9. hektorsmum says:

    All they ever do is compare Scotland with a population of 5.3 million with the remainder of the country circa 55+ million. We do not need as much energy as they do hence why would we need to worry. We can just carry on and send the excess off across to Ireland and to Norway, we have after all been in discussion to do so. Thanks Paul for your blog, you do my heart good.

  10. wee e says:

    “Over the past month or so, all the punches thrown by Better Together have landed heavily in an explosion of blood and snot. But they’ve been punching their own nose.”
    Just made me snort tea out of mine! LOL.

    • lojoh says:

      For me it’s a time for firsts, first time on a site and first time out on the streets canvassing. But that’s what happens when you have something worth believing in. So glad I found you wee dug, life will never be the same again, my eyes have been opened. Thank you.

  11. helene witcher says:

    Please will you detail fully how ‘ the UK is utterly dependent upon Scotland to meet its green energy targets, ‘ Thanks.

  12. Eric the Cheeseman says:

    No need for either of you to apologise. I find that sites like this are here, not just for the decideds, but for the undecideds who seek answers and to gain information and perspectives which are both factual and impartial. Then they can engage in the debate….and decide whats best for them.

    Which…..factually, and impartially. …will be YES!!!

  13. macart763 says:

    Yeah about this.

    Davey has some neck.

    Powers over renewable obligation certificates removed from the Scottish parliament by Westminster. That’s right folks, the stripping of powers from Holyrood. These certificates ensure that suppliers source a proportion of the energy they supply from green sources. Now why do you think Westminster would reclaim such powers from Holyrood? Anyone would think vested interests wanted to throw a spanner in the SGs renewables targets and allow suppliers to source and charge at will.

    Two birds with one stone as far as Westminster is concerned.

  14. I haven’t caught up with the energy part of the debate this week, but when it last reared its head I was struggling a bit to get the figures in context. At that time we had Caroline Flint talking over Fergus Ewing on Good Morning Scotland and, to be honest, I didn’t think Fergus was really getting his points across. Not in a way that filled me with confidence should I be confronted with it at the local Yes stall, anyway.

    Today you’ve nailed that for me. A great starting point for further reading. Thanks!

  15. Capella says:

    from Newsnet article yesterday on the UK government trying to freeze Scotland out of an EU investigation into the funding of Hinkley Point:
    “Energy Minister Michael Fallon warned his Scottish Government counterpart, Fergus Ewing, that any Holyrood involvement in the investigation would be viewed as a ‘hostile act’ “.

    • Aye, the spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement is dead and buried, long ago, by the unionists. The establishment, in other words all the Westminster political partys, will do, and say anything to protect their own interests. But as has been said, the genie is out of the bottle, and no matter the result of the Referendum, the U.K is finished, and the despicable No campaign have caused it entirely by their deplorable actions.

  16. JGedd says:

    Have you noticed – sure you have, nothing escapes the Ginger Dug’s nose for a story – that Alistair Darling seems to have shifted his ground (literally) to the US? He is muttering darkly about the US government’s interests being harmed with the break-up of the UK and hinting that the Obama government might make an intervention.
    Given that Darling and the rest of the gang are fond of talking up the “special relationship ” and over-stating the influence of the UK I still wouldn’t put it past him to be calling up favours from the US. Any intervention might not bother those of us committed to independence but many of the Scottish voters are quite skittish, should we say, and it wouldn’t take much from across the pond to send them running ” back to nurse for fear of something worse. ” Since it wouldn’t have to be a big roar, just a wee growl would do it, the US administration might be prepared to oblige.
    I have never trusted the idea of calm, strategic analysis when it comes to predicting how a country might behave. Quite often they do behave petulantly, even thoughlessly, as individuals might, so if they are persuaded by the pesky Brits that the situation is bothersome, who’s to say they might want to administer a slap to restore the status quo? They don’t want ripples in their pond, not at the moment.
    ( Sorry, off topic at the moment I know, but I’m getting just a bit jittery when looking at polls and hearing remarks made by the ” don’t knows ” and ” not-listenings”. Despite all the hard analysis people like yourself provide, it seems to be washing over them. They might be impressed by a dismissive statement about independence from the US administration and would run and hide under the bed and we wouldn’t be able to get them out again.)

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