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Blackout Britain- Labour's Legacy

(29 Posts)
atlantis Tue 01-Sep-09 11:46:50

Welcome back to the 70's when we had regular blackouts under the Labour government, that was due to the miners strikes, this is because Labour couldn't organise a p* up in a brewery. hortages-year.html

Hobnobfanatic Tue 01-Sep-09 12:00:28

Yes, it has nothing to do with over-consumption of energy. It's just Labour's fault. Us energy-guzzlers are not to blame at all. Oh no...

edam Tue 01-Sep-09 12:01:05

It's the Daily Mail, of course they frame it as 'Labour is useless'.

Actually if you look at the article, it's the EU that is forcing the closure of coal fired power stations (apparently, I wouldn't actually take 'facts' presented by the Mail as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth).

Presumably the whole point of the document is to plan for energy shortages. These figs. may be in the annex (I wish they'd call it a flipping appendix!) but what does the actual report say?

And if you want to get party political about it, it was of course Thatch who shut down the coal mines and left us dependant on North Sea gas/imported energy. Now the North Sea gas is running out... obv. it is up to the current govt. to do something about it, but it's hardly all Labour's fault.

edam Tue 01-Sep-09 12:02:03

Hobnob's got a point, maybe we should blame all those people/businesses with patio heaters? Or the people behind the smoking ban, which led to pubs buying patio heaters? grin

TwoIfBySea Tue 01-Sep-09 12:31:29

Never mind the blackout, it is the huge debt that my children are going to still be paying for when they are older, actually probably their children's children will.

Labour might be guilty of a lot of things but energy consumption is down to the selfishness of individuals.

SomeGuy Tue 01-Sep-09 13:45:30

yawn Daily Mail scaremongering.

Will wait till the lights start going off before I take it seriously.

Callisto Tue 01-Sep-09 13:48:16

Well, if the current govt had put in place a programme to build clean power stations when they got in we wouldn't be facing rolling power cuts in afew years time. Blaming the current mess on Mrs Thatcher is extrairdinality blinkered. She left government 19 years ago fgs.

As for complaining about coal-fired stations being closed - has it escaped your notice that we over-pollute and coal is very, very dirty and not very efficient? Labour could have started building nuclear power stations years ago and then we wouldn't be in this mess. But they don't have the balls, and they don't even have the balls to enforce the building of wind farms where nimby's don't want them (though they couldn't give a shit about how people feel about a 3rd Heathrow runway hmm). In fact their whole 'green' energy policy is laughable when on the same day GB announced that green tecnology will be the saviour of the British economy and then allowed the only British manufacturer of wind turbines to go out of business.

Also, the govt signed us up for huge emissions cuts, not the EU. The EU will merely fine us for not meeting targets that the govt agreed to in the first place. As for energy consumption is down to the individual, well yes. But how can I heat my home this winter if the only way I can get my energy is through a coal-fired power station or some other dirty fuel? Individual choice can only go so far and then it is down to government to make sure that we have enough power stations to cope with the amount of energy. Plus the UK population is growing fast. How do we manage this in terms of energy consumption?

Callisto Tue 01-Sep-09 13:52:55

Gawd, that was meant to be 'extraordinarily'.

abra1d Tue 01-Sep-09 14:04:38

I suppose we could have gone on massively subsidising diry home-mined coal but what a waste of our money that would have been. If Mrs T. hadn't closed the mines someone else would have had to.

Wind turbines seem to be a waste of time as far as producing meaningful amounts of energy without making the countryside look like a porcupine is concerned. We need nuclear.

atlantis Tue 01-Sep-09 15:37:46

Well I quite like the Daily Mail because they don't pander to the Labour party unlike the Guardian, the observer and the mirror, but to dismiss them out of hand because it's the mail would just be silly.

All the papers and the news channels carried the story last winter of how Russia were close to turning off the pipeline and leaving us without fuel, and because this government have sat on their backsides for the last 12 years and done nothing to bolster our independent abilities to create our own power supplies, even though they knew we were in trouble I blame them for this state of affairs.

Mrs T might have closed down the coal mines (rightly or wrongly ) but I didn't see labour opening them back up in the last 12 years so I guess they agreed with her wink.

I like to equate labour with the person who has an electricity key card and waits until the emergency fund has run out and the lights go off before getting off their bums and going to the shop to top up.

Callisto Tue 01-Sep-09 15:48:14

And if you don't like the DM, the Economist ran a special feature on this very subject a month ago here:

Love your analogy Atlantis.

edam Wed 02-Sep-09 10:31:44

I thought the thing with the Russians was a problem for Europe - as in the continent - not us?

Fingers crossed we find a previously unknown source of North Sea gas PDQ...

atlantis Wed 02-Sep-09 11:33:55

I believe it goes- Russia supplies europe- we buy from europe- russia turns off the supply and europe has no spare to sell to us.

Hopefully someone with more knowledge could explain it to us. grin

expatinscotland Wed 02-Sep-09 11:43:51

When I lived in Denver we had regular blackouts and that was back in 2001.

It was because the population had burgeoned but it takes a while to get a power plant up and running.

Other countries have regular power outages.

It can suck, but it's hardly the end of the world.


onagar Wed 02-Sep-09 11:49:39

I've no need to read this article because it isn't news. We've known we were closing power stations for years and everyone knew that would mean there wouldn't be enough energy to go around.

The obvious and sane thing to do was to build new ones, but the politicians had better uses for the money.

Since it takes a long time to build them it will now be too late so you will have to go without and people will die of the cold.

Using less sounds virtuous, but doesn't help in the long run. It was partly because people said they were willing to cut down that they thought they could get away with leaving it. If everyone had insisted on using more they'd have had to start building them and we wouldn't be in this mess.

edam Wed 02-Sep-09 11:49:41

I used to love power cuts back in the '70s when I was little. So exciting sitting around with torches and candles. When you are six, you really don't care that it's quite irritating for the adults.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Wed 02-Sep-09 11:52:41

'Well, if the current govt had put in place a programme to build clean power stations when they got in we wouldn't be facing rolling power cuts in afew years time.'

If they did people would be bleating about higher taxes to pay for this.
people need to stop wasting energy FFS. Shops lit up all night, things left on in houses everywhere. Stop wastage!

nickelbabe Wed 02-Sep-09 11:54:56

I love power cuts too, great fun!
(although I'm not sure if i'm old enoug hto remember the real ones, but i do recall some regular power cuts when i was really young...[possibly stingy dad] blush )

However, it does seem like a good thread to mention nuclear power and how short-sighted the government is on this issue: "ooh, i know, let;'s build new coal-fired power stations when we know how inefficient and environmentally unsound they are. but let's ignore how efficient and cheap to run (not to mention good for the environment) nuclear power stations are."

edam Wed 02-Sep-09 11:55:49

I imagine the planning process for new power stations takes years and years - and even longer for nuclear. No community is going to say 'yippee, please build a nuclear power station here'. There will always be protests and appeals.

Think govt. was trying to change the law to limit the chances of local people holding up nuclear power stations but not sure how far they've got with that.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Wed 02-Sep-09 12:17:51

since when are nuclear stations good for the environment? Who do you trust to keep the waste safe for 250,000 years?
As for cheap. Per kilowatt, when you take into account building, decommissioning and radioactive waste storage they are actually more expensive.

AtheneNoctua Wed 02-Sep-09 12:52:09


Everything you ever wanted to know about uk gas supplies.

atlantis Wed 02-Sep-09 13:10:06

Thanks AtheneNoctua most enlightening.

AtheneNoctua Wed 02-Sep-09 13:20:56

And if anyone wants to know about new discoveries in the UK North Sea, you might google Cybnus or look here:

AtheneNoctua Wed 02-Sep-09 13:21:23

Cygnus rather

Snorbs Wed 02-Sep-09 13:55:17

Riven, there are arguments that nuclear plants have higher lifetime costs than coal- or gas-fired plants. Decommissioning costs of existing nuclear plants are very high because they never really considered decommissioning when they were first designed. Current plant designs have much more thought put into how they will be taken apart so decommissioning costs will be lower. Also they'll typically have much longer predicted life-spans courtesy of all the lessons learned from the previous generation of plants. Long-term waste storage is still an issue, admittedly, although again the amount of waste that modern plant designs produce is a fraction of that created by older designs.

Finally, while lifetime costs for a nuclear plant may be more than a fossil-fuel plant based on today's fossil fuel costs, prices for such fuels will rise inexorably over the coming years. All the indicators I've seen show that we've passed peak oil and it's all downhill from now on. Moreover, there are so many other things in our society that are based on stuff made from oil and gas that just setting light to the stuff is extraordinarily wasteful.

I'd love to see more energy production from renewables but, right now, they simply can't provide the energy density we need to replace the stations that are due to go out of service. Given a choice between building new, modern nuclear power stations or new fossil-fuel stations, my vote would be for the nukes. Even better if we could fuel them with the warheads from the old Trident missiles... grin

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