The Spectator

Letters | 20 June 2019

Letters | 20 June 2019
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Eco opportunity

Sir: As a North Sea oil engineer now working on the UK’s ‘green’ energy transition, I believe Ross Clark (‘Greener than thou’, 15 June) raised many valid points but missed out on the major opportunities for the UK economy.

Irrespective of what we believe to be the extent of climate change, other key factors are changing rapidly. Who will want to drive their own petrol car when they can summon an autonomous vehicle at the click of an app? And with the global population rising, the total energy demand continues to soar. In the UK, leaps in technology have led to major investment and seen energy generation costs tumble in the past decade. We are now world number one in offshore windpower generation, and the latest round of windfarms are almost subsidy-free. A similar level of backing to the hydrogen economy would balance out intermittent renewable power, and offer cleaner transportation as a natural partner to electric vehicles.

As domestic oil and gas reserves decline, our import dependence is set to increase. What better way to insulate ourselves from global political turbulence than to meet more of our own energy needs? Much of the global population suffers from a lack of affordable, reliable energy. Should the UK become an early leader in this field, the export opportunities are immense. A switch to renewables needn’t be a ‘cave in’ to Extinction Rebellion or Greta Thunberg: handled sensibly, it’s sound Conservatism.

Sanjoy Sen

London NW6

Returning to normal?

Sir: Ross Clark reports and laments the way Conservative politicians have, seemingly blindly, adopted climate change policies. The reason, I believe, is that there is nobody senior in the party who has the scientific knowledge and background to make an independent judgment. As a result, they have treated it as just another political issue. It is time someone in public life supported the geologists, who advise us that for most of the last 500 million years Earth has been far warmer than it is now. We are now getting warmer, not because things are out of control, but because they are returning to a planetary normality.

Michael Gorman

Guildford, Surrey

Vote Boris, get Corbyn

Sir: Many Tories seem to believe that Boris Johnson, as PM, would unite the country. I think he would: in opposition to him. I am not a Conservative, but am also not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn. But sometimes you have to vote against, if you can’t vote for. Would Corbyn be an excellent PM? Probably not. But would he be an absolute disaster? No. If you want a Labour landslide, vote Boris in as prime minister.

Ali Hull

Bristol

Go ahead and prorogue

Sir: I am surprised to see your leading column say that proroguing parliament would be staggeringly anti-democratic (Hard sums, 15 June). Parliament seems to have forgotten that while it normally possesses sovereignty in this land, this is not the case when the people have spoken in a referendum in which it was solemnly promised that the result would be honoured. If parliament itself seeks to be anti-democratic, then it is right for the government, or our sovereign Queen, to take any necessary action on behalf of the people.

Dr Richard Booth

Cheltenham, Glos

Humble advice

Sir: Having recently become a father for the first time, I read Cosmo Landesman’s article on fatherhood (‘Daddy issues’, 15 June) with great interest. The question of how to do the best for my child in these hysterical, uncertain times is constantly on my mind. If I might offer some humble advice to Cosmo though, it would be: don’t air your masturbatory habits in a magazine read by some 72,000 people a week…

Robert Edgar

Berwick-upon-Tweed

A good example

Sir: It was good to read about the civilised way in which Charles Moore’s father and grandson managed the latter’s gender transition (Notes, 8 June). Both sides in the bitter transgender debate could learn from it.

Nicky Charlish

Carshalton, Surrey

Unwatchable Beeb

Sir: Toby Young is annoyed at having to pay the licence fee (No sacred cows, 15 June). In this part of Carmarthenshire, there’s an extra reason to object. BBC digital reception is so bad, with endless breaks and crackles, that it’s a case of turning off or finding an alternative channel. Here, at least, a licence fee refund is due.

Rich Barnett

Pwll, Llanelli

Sky’s limit

Sir: Roger Alton is quite right to criticise the absurd times when the cricketing World Cup highlights are on TV (15 June). However it is not Channel 4’s fault. My understanding is that in the agreement with Sky TV, highlights can only be shown three hours after the game has ended.

John Malcolm

Bridgnorth, Shropshire

Ratting and re-ratting

Sir: It emerged last year that Michael Foot (Letters, 15 June) had ratted by taking money from the Soviets in return for information. It was of course Churchill who gloried in his flexibility when he left the Liberals and returned to the Tories in 1924: ‘Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat.’ This is a quality which his biographer, Boris Johnson, also appears to possess, and we may well have cause to be glad of it.

Alistair Lexden

House of Lords, London SW1