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We’ll all pay for Fracking, one way or another – or will we?

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frack_zerocImages of people protesting against Fracking this summer brought back a host of memories for me. I’ve done some protesting in my time. Most notably as part of a group that occupied the USAF base at Molesworth, for a year or so, to prevent the siting of cruise missiles there. Our eventual eviction, by more squaddies than it took to take Goose Green, made the back page of the Guardian, and I remember coming face to face with Michael Heseltine as he stepped off his chopper in flak jacket and make-up ready for the TV cameras – who could forget that.

The Americans never did station their cruise missiles at Molesworth and I’d like to think that what we did played a part in that – but who can know. (more…)

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How many more winters of energy discontent?

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Miners strikeEd Miliband made a headline grabbing speech this week – the bit that grabbed my attention, and that of much of the media, was the promise to freeze energy prices for 20 months and ‘reset the energy market’.

It’s hard to argue with the premise that there’s something wrong with the energy market – the mostly foreign owned privatised Oligopoly that has a 97% market share and perhaps an inversely proportional share of public trust.

I believe that there’s a fundamental mismatch between the needs of society and those of private companies. A clash between the need to re-invest and the need to pay dividends. I think privatisation is therefore at the root of the problem. It worked well enough while the new private energy companies could operate (quite profitably) the assets built by public money, but stumbles when those assets need renewal. (more…)