Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 30 October 2010

Sometimes certain words become morally compulsory. Current examples include ‘sustainable’ and ‘transparent’. A new phrase coming up the track is ‘energy security’. It is stated that we risk the energy security of the United Kingdom by being so dependent on foreign oil, gas or nuclear-generated energy. How much better, it is also stated, to have our own sources of energy like wind-power and tide-power. I wonder if this is right, even if — which is highly improbable — such alternative sources could suffice. It is true, in principle, that suppliers can decide to cut off their customers, but the natural tendency of an international energy market is the opposite. It is in the interest of everyone involved to keep the thing flowing. British history suggests that the greatest threat to continuous supply comes from our own people — miners, power workers — when taken over by militant unions. It is also much easier for the suppliers to force up the price in a ‘self-sufficient’ economy than in a global one. The most secure answer is continuing ‘insecurity’.

Already a subscriber? Log in

This article is for subscribers only

Subscribe today to get 3 months' delivery of the magazine, as well as online and app access, for only £3.

  • Weekly delivery of the magazine
  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Enjoy Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Explore our online archive, going back to 1828


Want to join the debate?

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers by getting your first 3 months for just £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in