Feeds

Osborne tosses £3bn gift to the green elite

We're all in it together. But some are more together than others ...

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Turning green into red

He's right that investors in environmental projects are nervous. They've lost half a wardrobe, for very little return. Alternative energy stocks ranked 39th out of 39 industrial sectors examined by the FT in 2010, as the chart shows. They fell by a staggering 52.3 per cent over the course of the year.

Why bail-outs are needed: alternative energy is the worst investment possible

[Click to enlarge]

The best performing sectors were "automobiles and parts" and electronic and electrical equipment, where equities gained almost 90 per cent and 81 per cent respectively.

This is throwing good money after bad, and as we saw in the 1970s, leads to long-term stagnation and decline. Quite why a classic liberal might back such intervention is a mystery.

But the principled Right aren't the only people traditionally opposed to corporate welfare. Enlightened parts of the Left are, too. For the Left, it's even harder to swallow.

Osborne's programme - really a continuation of his predecessor's as he invented very few of the policies – is a set of deeply regressive measures at which the Left has traditionally bridled. The Left has historically thought of itself as being on the side of the poor, and opposed measures which hurt the poor disproportionately. It likes to think of itself as being on the side of the weak against the strong, and so has traditionally favoured a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Yet the policies depend heavily on regressive taxation and more expensive essentials.

Forty per cent of the cost of a carbon floor price is paid for by consumers, the Treasury's own documents suggest. The Budget measures alone add £17 to a family's household energy bill. As even climate Jacobin George Monbiot has noticed, green measures distribute wealth from the poor to the middle classes: FITs are "extortionate, useless deeply regressive". Not all on the Left are happy with this. Graham Stringer MP said Parliament needed to look much more closely at the policies, and the justification for them, because the measures hit the poorest people in the country. (He is MP for the North Manchester constituency of Blackley and Broughton.)

It's a hard one for many on the Left. The number of households in "fuel poverty" – where energy swallows up more than 10 per cent of household income – has trebled. In Wales, more than one in four households is in fuel poverty, according to Wales Online. Left to the market, energy prices would plummet: even with profiteering and heavy Government duties. Gas is cheap, and set to be even cheaper for years to come; gas requires no subsidies.

Greedy Greens want even more, though. Penny Shepherd MBE, who is head of the "finance and sustainable investment association" UKSIF, complained that that it wasn't enough (PDF/42.8 KB).

Actually, we've been here before, but not for several hundred years. It isn't new to have a small elite in society that rips up the rules to suit itself, and that makes heavy, continuing demands on the poor to ensure its wealth, without fear of criticism. Almost every country had one, once. This was a feudal nobility, and when they were challenged, they would make a very interesting defence.

The word "nobility" derives from "noble", and the idea that the elite was more moral and virtuous than you are I. It had a higher calling. Today, it's Greener-than-thou. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.