Letters: Let’s get fracking

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

Get fracking

Sir: All credit to The Spectator for grabbing the cancelled Tory leadership debate slot (‘The final three’, 23 July) and for quizzing the contenders on the massive cost of net zero. Rishi Sunak’s response was particularly disappointing. Here is a man who has financial acumen and who has spent his entire cabinet career in the Treasury. Yet he would have us believe that the offshore wind industry, whose biggest costs are incurred in erecting huge structures of steel, iron, plastic/resin and concrete, has somehow contrived to cut those costs by nearly three-quarters over a decade. Unfortunately strike prices around £40/MWh which have been obtained for some recent offshore wind projects are not a binding commitment on the successful bidders to deliver energy at that price. If Sunak does believe that offshore wind-turbine costs have been transformed, it raises the question of why, as chancellor, he did nothing to reduce the subsidies the industry extracts from consumers.

Liz Truss appears a little more willing to challenge the powerful renewables lobby. However there is still no sign that she is prepared to see wealthy green Tories run into the arms of the Lib Dems in exchange for earning the gratitude of the 84 per cent of Red Wall voters who are not prepared to pay more than £1,000 for a heat pump. Reducing obscenely high energy costs promises to be the biggest challenge for the new prime minister. It would be reassuring if Truss could start by apologising for the past two decades, during which our senior politicians prioritised grandstanding on climate change over our country’s energy security. She should then slam the brakes on net zero, commission an independent review of that policy’s genuine costs and benefits, and get fracking.

Richard North

Hayling Island, Hants

Transferable vote

Sir: Given that MPs have made such a hash of providing a choice of leader that reflects their Conservative constituents’ desire for a change in the guard, is there anything to stop Tory members from spoiling their ballots and writing ‘Kemi’ or ‘Penny’ on them?

Charlotte Black


Leading the way

Sir: Thank you for Paul Collier’s interesting and surprisingly wide-ranging article (‘Prime example’, 23 July) on lessons we could learn from Singapore. Sir Paul successfully defines the pressing leadership needs of the present. A return to personal morality, self-sacrifice and instilling common purpose as the guiding principles of our political class – these are surely ingredients on which we can all agree.

Richard List

Aylesbury, Bucks

Stamping ground

Sir: Like Melanie McDonagh (Notes on letterheads, 16 July) my daughter, while head of a literature and creative writing programme at an international school, experienced the younger generation’s bewilderment around handwritten correspondence. Trying to civilise a class of competitive sports students, she had them exchanging newsy postcards with selected elderly persons in the community outside. At first they were completely puzzled by the whole process, and thought the small rectangular outline of a stamp at the top right-hand corner was intended for a photograph of themselves.

Lindsey Sandilands

Bude, Cornwall

Hot topic

Sir: In an otherwise sensible editorial (‘Reckless caution’, 23 July), you say: ‘No one seriously questions climate change, nor the idea human activity plays a role.’ Can I respectfully refer you to the evidence submitted by Professors Happer and Lindzen to the SEC in respect of their proposals on climate-change reporting? In it they concisely set out the arguments for why there is no reliable scientific evidence to justify what might be called the anthropogenic climate change ‘consensus’.

Mark Tyndall

Dunbar, East Lothian

The wolf of Badenoch

Sir: When Kemi Badenoch was first elected as an MP her surname rang a bell. Her husband’s Diary (23 July) prompts me to write. When I was young I took an interest in railway engines. One of Sir Nigel Gresley’s streamlined locomotives was named ‘Wolf of Badenoch’. The emergence of personal computers since that time has enabled me to discover that it was named after Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, called the ‘Wolf of Badenoch’, who was the third surviving son of King Robert II of Scotland.

J. Alan Smith

Epping, Essex

Made in Scotland

Sir: May I respectfully suggest to Hamish Badenoch that there is a third pronunciation of the word ‘Badenoch’? The natives of the district of that name in the Highlands of Scotland call it ‘Bade-noch’ (‘bade’ to rhyme with ‘made’). The family’s preferred pronunciation of their name is, of course, the one to be used. The name translates from the Gaelic as ‘the drowned land’.

Rosemarie Bromley


Sharp practice

Sir: Susan Hill (‘Best medicine’, 16 July) brought to mind an incident when I was a child in the 1950s. I had a boil on the inside of my right knee. My father, a chemist, said with some glee, ‘I’ll sort that out!’ and lanced it with a cut-throat razor. I passed out; my mother didn’t speak to him for a week. The scar is still a visual aid to my retelling of the tale to all who will listen.

Peter Ashley

Slawston, Leicestershire

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