Let Them Eat Porridge

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And so the cost of “net zero” comes to the front pages, and MPs are getting worked up about it. Unfortunately, they fail to draw the right conclusions regarding the mess we in the UK are in thanks to “net zero” energy policy.

Even the Guardian couldn’t fail to reporti on the news that Ovo Energy has sent insulting and astonishing advice to those of its customers who it acquired when it bought SSE’s energy supply business from it (and by the way, SSE obviously saw the way the wind was blowing – or, rather, not blowing – when it decided to get out of the increasingly unprofitable energy supply business to concentrate on hoovering up wind farm subsidies instead).

SSE Energy Services (a division of Ovo Energy, which we are told is the UK’s third biggest energy supplier), sent an email to its customers, which:

listed 10 “simple and cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter”, such as “sticking to non-alcoholic drinks”, doing household chores, having “a cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy” and “encouraging blood flow” by eating ginger but avoiding chilli “as it makes you sweat”.

Customers were also advised to “get moving” by “challenging the kids to a hula-hoop contest”, and to drink more water, alongside the warning that the “warming feeling from wine or whisky is temporary as you’ll soon lose heat from your core and end up feeling even colder”, the Financial Times reported.

Another piece of advice was to wear merino wool socks. Can vegans do that? By the way, merino wool socks don’t come cheap – advising people who can’t afford to heat their houses to buy expensive socks is truly a “Marie Antoinette” moment. Perhaps more so than advice to eat porridge.

And what do our MPs make of it?

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said the recommendations were “clown-like” and “depressing”. “It is laughable and insulting, but then with this government’s lack of an energy strategy, you almost expect it,” he said, adding that the email “will be read by people who have to choose between eating and heating […] if that’s the state of the country we are now in, I find it quite depressing”.

Yes, Mr Lewis, so do I. Unlike most MPs, however, I don’t support policies that made this inevitable and pretty much guarantees that things will only get worse.

This is Mr Lewis, as reported in Net Zero Eastii, in March 2019:

MP for Norwich South Clive Lewis and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour Shadow Treasury Minister for Sustainable Economics have tabled a Private Members’ Bill that would require the government to enact a Green New Deal.

Tabled towards the end of March, the Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill would require the government to “introduce a radical 10-year strategy for public investment designed to decarbonise the economy and eradicate inequality”. This would be achieved through strict environmental regulations and empowering communities and workers to transition from high-carbon to low and zero-carbon industries.

A Green New Deal would involve “huge investment” in clean energy, warm homes and affordable public transport. Lewis said: “We must cut carbon emissions by 50%, within a decade, to avoid climate breakdown. As climate strikers warn us, the planet will not wait.”

In the end, it’s all a question of what your priorities are. Do you believe that the UK can single-handedly and at great expense “save the planet”? Or do you think an MP’s first duty is to the people the MP is elected to represent, and to guarantee them access to cheap, plentiful and reliable energy supplies?

I know what my priority is. And it doesn’t involve saying “let them eat porridge” (and do star jumps and hug a pet) to keep warm.


i https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/jan/10/do-star-jumps-uk-energy-supplier-sse-criticised-over-keep-warm-advice

ii https://netzeroeast.uk/index.php/2019/03/26/clive-lewis-mp-proposes-green-new-deal/

via Climate Scepticism

January 11, 2022