Our society is largely blind to the importance of energy. Most of us have little idea where it comes from, let alone just how much our economy depends upon it. This energy-blindness is, of course, a particularly alarming trait of the current UK government which seems to think that energy is akin to magic fairy dust sprinkled into the economy by the fictitious ‘hidden hand’ of the free market. How else do we explain the insane dash for expensive gas and nuclear when renewables are getting cheaper by the day?
But finally bucking the wilful ignorance of the government, Tory MP David Mowat has realised that we cannot have the government’s dream of a “Northern Powerhouse” without low-cost energy. Speaking during the Report stage of the Energy Bill, Mowat said:
“I don’t believe it’s possible to rebalance our economy, to have a march of the makers, to do more in the North of the country, predicated on electricity prices that are approximately double of what they are in continental Europe.”
What he overlooks is that the key reason UK electricity prices are so much higher than those in Germany and France is that his government has continued the established British tradition of getting German, French and Chinese state energy corporations to generate the UK’s “privatised” electricity. No matter how cheaply these corporations can generate UK electricity, a proportion of the costs will always be repatriated to subsidise prices at home; thereby ensuring that German, French and Chinese energy (and thus production) will always be cheaper than in the UK.