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Malcolm – I’m sure you are pleased that …

Comment posted RSPB Scotland ‘disappointed’ by Scottish Government consent to Shetland Viking wind farm by Tim McIntyre.

Malcolm – I’m sure you are pleased that the government is proposing a 10% reduction in RO subsidies for wind power. Given that fossil fuel prices are remaining stubbornly high and likely to continue rising, we should see convergence between the costs of wind & fossil generation before too long, allowing subsidies to be reduced further and perhaps eventually phased out altogether.

By that time the very low marginal generation cost of wind power will also be putting downward pressure on consumer electricity prices, more good news for you.

Tim McIntyre also commented

  • Malcolm – I already looked at your local windfarm animation some weeks back, and meant to say that as a technical exercise in computer animation I found it very impressive. Quite liked the look of the wind farm as well 🙂

    I didn’t find the second half of the film offensive as such – it gave me a good laugh 🙂

  • Bill – with respect, I don’t think you read my post correctly. I described Mr Fox clearly as NOT one-dimensional (by which I meant exactly ‘single issue’) – how do you construe that as ‘highly insulting’?

    I do not know Mr Fox, but he comes across on his website www.billyfox.co.uk as an intelligent, principled and well-respected individual as you say. The quote I gave was not unattributed and appears on the home page of that site.

    As I’m sure you will agree, the advantage of posting under your real name is that it imposes a certain discipline NOT to indulge in cheap personal insults, something which I try to avoid and which I agree does the debate no favours.

    The point I made was that the Shetland election result was very similar to that in Orkney, and that therefore correlating it to the wind farm issue in the former is not as obvious as you were suggesting. Also, although Mr Fox came second to the winner, his share of the vote was 30%, pretty close to the ‘anti’ share in the wind farm opinion poll quoted somewhere above.

  • Bill – the Shetland Charitable Trust’s website claims that their aims are to ” provide public benefit to and improve the quality of life for the people of Shetland, especially in the areas of:”

    – Social care and welfare
    – Arts, culture, sport and recreation
    – The environment, natural history and heritage

    Viking energy say that the trust is projected to receive 23m per year. You can always take the view that the ‘jury is out’ on any issue; does that mean we should never do anything at all until we can be ‘certain’?

    As far as the election result goes, I would agree that Billy Fox’s result was impressive, and that his opposition to the wind farm may have been a factor, but he wasn’t just a one-dimensional candidate. His website clearly mentions opposition to the wind farm but says it “…is only one issue of many facing us.”

    Tavish Scott’s party, meanwhile, had its worst-ever election result in Scotland (I think I’m right in saying that he was one of only two constituency LibDems elected that night) so the national swing against them is bound to have played a role in Shetland. Interestingly the other LibDem MSP (in Orkney) suffered a similar swing away and was also run a close second by an independent.

  • Malcolm – aside from the missing hills & curvature, which is fair enough if the terrain maps are expensive, why have you chosen to show the turbines at ten times their actual size relative to the landscape? Is it because otherwise they’re almost invisible ? 🙂
  • Malcolm – no need to apologise, you were right the first time – the Whitelee extension hasn’t been commissioned yet. When it is, I’m sure your second figure will be correct, though I admit I haven’t checked.

    You are right I think that if gas prices collapse over the next few years, then wind power is going to look relatively expensive. On the other hand, if gas prices increase much further, wind power will soon look cheap by comparison. One thing is sure – as old coal stations retire and more gas turbines are built, we will rely increasingly on imported gas whatever the price. This isn’t good for either energy security or trade balance in my view.

Recent comments by Tim McIntyre

  • Holyrood: the disappeared
    “The SNP’s Mike Mackenzie… was clearly not going to get back to Holyrood in an election where the constituency vote would be dominated by the SNP.”

    The constituency vote made no difference – Highland elected the same number of SNP constituency MSPs as in 2011, so the loss of two Highland list SNPs MSPs is solely down to a reduction in their regional vote, from 47.5% to 37.9%.

    The Tories’ astute move to wrap themselves in the union flag and thus, in effect, revert to their original identity as the Conservative & Unionist party has certainly paid them an impressive dividend electorally.

    It will be interesting to see whether the reverse is true – i.e. whether being hard-wired to the Tory brand will do Unionism itself any favours over the course of this parliament.

  • SNP shuts down local branch Twitter proving witch hunt against Carmichael
    Integrity – I believe some have suggested to Mr Carmichael that he should step down voluntarily, precisely so that the money raised so far can go to food banks instead of lawyers 🙂

    Anyway, taking up your point about political ‘blinkers’ – maybe so, but I hastily add that I’m not defending him against the legitimate anger of his constituents, who are really the only folk that have an interest in his future now that he is a lowly back bench opposition MP in one of the smaller parties, and not a minister of state.

    Those constituents – including no doubt a good number who voted for him having believed his claim that he knew nothing about a grubby smear campaign – have every right to feel pretty unhappy at what has transpired, and especially that it was kept carefully concealed until after they cast their votes. That is not a party political point in itself, and it is unfair and simplistic to characterise the legal campaign to force a by-election as such.

    Given the high cost (and no legal aid) of raising an action, and the even more eye-watering potential for the awarding of costs in the event of failure, crowd funding seems to me a fair & transparent way to raise the money needed. Doubtless the campaigners are benefitting quite a bit from politically-motivated donations, especially given that Carmichael was one of the more, er, bruising personalities in the ‘No Thanks’ campaign. However, at the end of the day it is the court that will decide, even if the politics helps raise the cash.

  • SNP shuts down local branch Twitter proving witch hunt against Carmichael
    The First Minister was not a candidate in the election, and therefore the ‘smear’ itself – the creation of the false memo plus leaking thereof – is unlikely to be of any great concern to the court.

    As I understand it, the case will turn on whether the court finds that Alistair Carmichael’s admitted lie – that he knew nothing of the memo until contacted by journalists – amounts to ‘corrupt and illegal’ practice under the Representation of the People Act.

    In other words, did Mr Carmichael try to cover up his own involvement in the smear in order to present himself to his constituents as an honourable and decent candidate for re-election, and thereby affect the outcome in Orkney & Shetland.

    I suspect that anyone hoping for a detailed investigation into the writing of the memo itself may be disappointed…

    http://lallandspeatworrier.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/is-carmichael-vulnerable-to-election.html

  • Forget tactical voting for unity. Forget the coming of the one-party state. Your party matters more?
    Newsroom – re: the “wholly constitutionally disadvantaged position of England”, Derek Bateman has a good piece on that subject;-

    http://derekbateman.co.uk/2015/04/28/the-mother-of-parliaments/

  • Forget tactical voting for unity. Forget the coming of the one-party state. Your party matters more?
    Integrity – I’m sure you are right that the convention is informal, and obviously the parties can talk to each other as they wish – as the Lib Dems did with Labour last time. However, I assume that in practice, David Cameron would try every option to form a government and would not resign until these had been exhausted (as Gordon Brown did last time, despite coming a distant second). Only then would the SNP’s offer to Labour come into play.

    John M – the SNP cannot ‘vote down’ a Tory government which has managed to assemble majority support – the key phrase in your quote being “if there is an anti-Tory majority”

    Newsroom, I think you are right that stability could be a problem, especially as the Tory press in the south will do everything possible to de-stabilise a SNP-supported minority Labour government. If they can portray it as illegitimate that Labour gets to govern while the Tories got a majority in England, they will do so, loudly and insistently, and regardless of the damage to the Union.

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