How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?

A level politics 2008


While the government debates subjects such as: climate change/global warming , world poverty, democracy in other countries, female education in Afghanistan, gay traffic warden quotas and so on, our little part of the world may well be falling apart. Before the lights go out perhaps it would be sensible for our present government to have some sort of reasonable energy policy.

Our nuclear and gas powered plants are coming to the end of their lives, lots of our coal and oil powered stations will be closed because of EU rules (the Large Combustion Plant Directive - LCPD), we are planning on spending a fortune building hugely subsidised and inefficient wind farms , which even a German government report as long ago as 2005 severely criticised. Yet another huge sum is required to enable the power they produce to feed the national grid. The EU Emission Trading System costs yet another tranche of our diminishing income and contributes further uncertainties regarding investment and future planning by power companies, who need to do something other than send out legions of employees urging us to change power company.

Our government talks of helping those in fuel poverty and windfall taxes to solve the problem. This is counting angels rather than strengthening the needle itself. There isn't a lot of time. Privatisation was meant to create investment income, effective and efficient markets and cheap energy. It all seems to be going wrong. Perhaps we should stock up on candles and find our woolly hats.

Or government is sending our soldiers to be killed and maimed in Afghanistan. The enigmatic rationale for the war was to protect us in the UK. This is the where, according to Des Browne, not a shot was going to be fired. We were to halt the opium trade, redevelop Helmand and send all those girls to school. Just like that! But this is angel talk yet again. We are told of all these jihadi terrorist plots that have been foiled yet we must allow free speech to rabble-rousing imams and Hizb ut-Tahrir activists in our universities. We cannot even seem to control drugs in our own prisons!

Nulabour starts to get tough and says it will raise the age of arranged marriage from abroad to 21 years - yet there is no need for them to speak English and, has government heard of forged birth certificates? Yet another generation is raised by non- English speaking mothers in isolation from the rest of the country.
Hundreds of British girls disappear from school, we never prosecute for female genital mutilation and we do little to prevent honour crimes. Yet, all the money goes to prosecute a war in a country where the insurgents are protected and, increasingly, recruited from Pakistan and where a corrupt government reaps the benefit of all that aid. The more people are killed in Afghanistan, the more we become the enemy and the more young men from Bradford that will go to help only to return and cause more problems in the UK. Nulabour's answer to all this: 42 days, ID cards and more CCTV to solve a self-created problem. Angels again.

The government wants to reduce welfare dependency, send most of the working class to university and reduce child poverty. However, half of our young people leave school with hardly any qualifications, evidently 5 million people are barely literate and there are nearly one and a half million NEETS (Young people not in education, employment or training ). The government's response has been to create a myriad of Micky Mouse training schemes which are forever being renamed and don't link to one another. We used to have world class apprenticeship schemes. Wouldn't it be sensible to pay employers to run these again? The answer would be that this would not allow for the legion of jobsworths to plan, brainstorm, devise programmes and check up on other jobsworths providing the training.

Much better to chat about angels.