Tuesday, July 30, 2013

David Howell's remarks on fracking show how polarised Britain is

Having had this exchange with the writer of Martin's View only a couple of days ago, I was not surprised by David Howell's bizarre contribution in the House of Lords today:
"Would you accept that it could be a mistake to think of and discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go? 
"I mean there obviously are, in beautiful natural areas, worries about not just the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, and the delivery, and the roads, and the disturbance, and those about justified worries." 
He added: "But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the North East where there's plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody's residence, where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment."
One of the problems we face as a country is the way the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge dominates our national life - see this recent Guardian article on Oxbridge admissions for an example.

The result of this is that many otherwise educated people have little knowledge of large tracts of their own country and indeed think themselves rather clever because of it.

There is no way of producing energy without an environmental cost, yet opposition to wind farms galvanises Conservative activists to an extent rivalled only by the thought of illegal immigration. At the root of that is the belief that nasty things like environmental degradation should not happen to nice affluent people like them but to someone else - poor people up north somewhere.

Howell has now apologised, and when we have finished laughing at him we ought to ask what we can do to change a society that produces people like him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe with Tory attitudes like this, if people really got serious about devolved regional governments in the north and west of England they would be pushing at an open door?