Andrew Liddle

Ed Miliband’s green policies could cost Labour the next election

(Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Almost a decade on from Scottish Labour’s 2015 general election wipe out, a spectre is once again haunting the party in Scotland – the spectre of Ed Miliband. Apparently not content with his role in leading the party to near oblivion in Scotland eight years ago, the shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero is now determined to stifle its recovery as well.

Miliband’s latest manoeuvres began more than a week ago, when he engineered an announcement that a future Labour government would not grant any new licences for oil and gas production in the North Sea. The announcement caused consternation not just from the industry itself, but also the Scottish Labour party, which was infuriated with its timing and largely blindsided by the policy shift. Many Labour MSPs – including some who remember the Miliband years all too well – were incandescent, and with good reason. 

This policy is not just economically illiterate, but self-defeating of Labour’s stated goal to deliver a transition to green and clean energy

A ban on new licences would be economically ruinous for the north-east of Scotland, leaving the industry and its tens of thousands of employees facing a cliff-edge end to production. Even now, despite significant demand, oil and gas producers in the region are already struggling to make North Sea investments profitable due to the UK’s tax regime. Harbour Energy, the UK’s largest oil and gas producer in the North Sea, has already announced it is cutting around 350 jobs after the government’s energy price levy largely wiped out its profits. Labour’s policy – in effect calling time on the North Sea industry altogether – would clearly be a hundred times worse. 

Yet the policy is not just economically illiterate, but self-defeating of Labour’s stated goal to deliver a transition to green and clean energy.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

Or

Unlock more articles

REGISTER

Written by
Andrew Liddle

Andrew Liddle is a political writer and former adviser to Scottish Labour. He is author of Cheers, Mr Churchill! and Ruth Davidson and the Resurgence of the Scottish Tories.

Topics in this article

Comments

Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in