Welcome To Basket Case Britain


By Paul Homewood

In their Gadarene rush to beat the rest of the world to a carbon-free future, ministers appear determined to turn Britain into an economic basket case.

Today was Green Day, when the preposterously titled Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, unveiled the Government’s latest madcap plans for making us colder and poorer.

Presumably, Shapps had no idea that Green Day is also the name of a popular American punk rock group, whose breakthrough hit was called Basket Case.

Come to think of it, though, what could be more appropriate. In their Gadarene rush to beat the rest of the world to a carbon-free future, ministers appear determined to turn Britain into an economic basket case.

While even the EU hits the pause button on plans to phase out fossil fuels, at least for motor vehicles, our Government has set the controls for the heart of the sun.

Shapps flatly refused even to consider that there might be an alternative to banning the sale of all internal combustion powered cars after 2030.

This is despite Europe having second thoughts following the development of so-called ‘e-fuels,’ which are a clean alternative to petrol and diesel. So while German manufacturers get an exemption for e-fuelled cars and vans, the British motor industry gets a kick in the teeth.

Britain’s ban on the sale of conventionally powered vehicles starts in 2030, five years before the rest of Europe. We’re even phasing out hybrids from 2035.

Shapps said: ‘We are not in Europe. We don’t have to do what Europe does on this stuff. We have always been more forward leaning on this stuff than the EU.’

No, we don’t have to copy Europe. But that doesn’t mean cutting off our nose to spite our face.

Forward leaning?

More like falling head-first from a great height.

Already, BMW is moving some of its UK operations abroad. Others will follow suit if they are prevented from at least exploring whether e-fuels have a viable future.

Today, however, the Government doubled down on its deranged carbon-neutral agenda, with Rishi Sunak announcing that car makers will be forced to ensure that 22 per cent of all vehicles sold in Britain are all-electric by 2024, rising to 100 per cent in 2035 — even though the chances of there being enough reliable electricity generating capacity to charge them all are less than zero.

Sunak and Shapps seem hell-bent on doing more damage to our domestic motor industry than useless managements and union militants like British Leyland’s Red Robbo inflicted in the 1970s.

That should go down well in Red Wall seats in Derbyshire and Sunderland, where Toyota and Nissan employ tens of thousands. For now, anyway.

Of course, when it comes to leading the anti-car charge, XR poster boy Shapps has plenty of previous. During Covid, he bunged councils £250 million for ‘temporary’ measures to encourage cycling and walking.

At the time, some of us warned that these allegedly temporary measures would inevitably become permanent, even when the pandemic was over. And so it has come to pass.

In the name of saving the polar bears, local authorities across Britain have declared all-out war on motorists. Net Zero has become a convenient excuse for closing roads and imposing punitive fines and congestion charges. […]

Forgive me for repeating former deputy Labour leader Nye Bevan’s quote about ministerial incompetence in 1945: ‘This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish.

Only an organisational genius could produce a shortage of both coal and fish at the same time.’

Today, our island is sitting on half a century’s reserves of shale gas and billions of barrels of untapped oil and natural gas in the North Sea.

Yet our modern organisational geniuses have managed to produce a home-grown shortage of both gas and oil, purely out of short-sighted political vanity.

As a result, we are forced increasingly to rely on forests of hideous, bird-shredding, onshore, War-Of-The-Worlds windmills and the promise of as-yet-untested mini nuclear reactors — which if the Government’s less- than-impressive record on public infrastructure projects (HS2 anyone?) is anything to go by, won’t be operational until way beyond 2050, if ever.

From what I can gather, the only new initiative announced today by Grant ‘Green Day’ Shapps was the launch of two new ‘carbon capture clusters’, whatever they are.

Still, I can certainly think of a word to describe the Government’s Net Zero energy policy. And it definitely begins with ‘cluster . . .’

Welcome to Basket Case Britain.