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« UK opinion on climate | Main | Biofuels debate »

The numptocracy

Energy Secretary Ed Davey was interviewed on the BBC's Newsnight show last night. The whiff of incompetence is almost overwhelming.

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Reader Comments (127)

Remember...the more you spend the more you save !

Talk about snake oil sailsman.

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

No....I is absolutely overwhelming.

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

as in salesman :-)

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Maybe he's just a victim of the 'Peter Principle'?

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Being abroad, that was the first time I had seen him in action...

Jeez... he is bad :)

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Perhaps we should be charitable and assume that he is led by the decisions made by his civil servants.

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

So Ed "Dumbo" Davey's plan is that the rich will increase their CO2 emissions by constantly replacing their electrical appliances over the next few years and the poor will die of the cold because they cannot afford to follow the "Ed Davey Elixir of Energy Plan." Well thought out there Ed. Good job you aren't building bridges or designing aircraft, the death rate from your stupidity would be phenomenal. Oh wait...30,000 extra deaths amongst old people this year from the cold.....Hmmm...You are a dangerous fanatic Mr Davey.

Ivor Ward

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

That was few nights ago.

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Not so much 'a whiff of incompetence' as an over-powering stench of irredeemable dimness. We are governed by the truly dense.

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Well it was a show of stunning incompetence, but he managed to maintain his head tilt angle through the entire interview so maybe he deserves a raise.

It kinda proves that the BBC are still the masters of comedy.

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterredc

Bunny in the headlamps..........

Oh dear. This guy is so far out of his depth one almost yearns for the return of Huhne...who at least gave the impression of being in the right game.

Davey should not be allowed to be in charge of the JCR beer money account, let alone anything important.

Later reflection: Are we sure that this is not a re-reun of an old episode of that fine radio satire:

'Little Blighty on the Down'

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM | Registered CommenterLatimer Alder

That is the most frightening video I have watched in my life. How many people will suffer untimely death because of the fanaticism of Davey and the vested interests of his cronies? Does the idiot not know that for millions of Brits, the second-hand market is where they get their white goods from? Where are the energy savings? I have long thought that the Coalition was the best of a bad deal. Not any more.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

Mr Davey intends to stop the lights going out by investing in renewables.

When the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, those renewable wind and solar investments won't stop the lights going out. Since an Environment Agency proposal to put Archimedean screws next to the world famous Marlow suspension bridge over the Thames was unveiled last week, I have been researching small hydropower schemes.

The developer of the Marlow scheme is the same developer of the Romney Weir, Windsor, scheme who said in 2009 that the generators would be producing commercial electricity by the end of 2009. They were not producing commercial electricity 3 years later at the end of 2012.

To my surprise I find that the award-winning Torrs and Settle community hydro schemes have not been generating electricity for the past few days. (They publish their current generation status on their websites - and ).

So it looks as though hydropower, as is currently being expensively promoted by the Environment Agency, is also intermittent. Has Mr Davey not yet twigged that investment in renewables is only going to make electricity more expensive. It will not keep the lights on.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

I sat there - shouting at the telly - asking for Paxman to link the incompetence as demonstrated by Davey on Nuclear to the debacle of Gummer/Lord Deben being on DECC's CCC! and how the scam of "keeping fuel bills low" is blown apart by FIT's paid to wealthy land owners and taken via "green" taxes from the poor.

Now we have Davey saying that money and CO2 emissions will be saved by us all buying new appliances! He also admitted to saying in 2006 that Nuclear could only survive via subsidies and therefore it was not viable!!!! - Presumably the same concept for him re wind power causes the fingers in the ears "La La La La La La song.

So part of Davey's new plan is for us all to replace our appliances - no doubt many of which are to be built in countries far away who chuckle at our politicians restricting our economy so they can improve theirs via coal fired power stations.

He says a newNuclear plant can be built in 7 years - make that 10 years as a minimum and we will be able to see the if the Wind Farms can last that long.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

How come this guy's 'in charge' and not in a secure psychiatric hospital?

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Paxman interrupts too much.

Perhaps we should be charitable and assume that he is led by the decisions made by his civil servants.
Apr 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM Bishop Hill

Yes, the DECC is staffed by climate change True Believers, briefing the not-over-bright Davey on what to say.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:23 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

@ Mac 0923hrs. It's called Care in The Community. He participates in a government-assisted work scheme with 650 other patients in a building in SW 1.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

Ed Davey and his civil servants would be less of a threat if there was an opposition prepared to oppose, even if it is just on principle let alone because they had different/better ideas. Instead they criticise the government for not going far enough! With climate change policies it has been virtually a one party state for far too long.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Paxman: I'm joined by the Climate Change Secretary, Manuel. Fuel bills have doubled in five years and yet your department claims that bills will only rise by £22 by 2020. Is this accurate?

Manuel: I know nothing.

Paxman: Perhaps you could explain why perfectly serviceable and reliable coal-fired power stations are being turned off when we are desperately in need of energy?

Manuel: Que?

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJit

I get a very strong feeling that he doesn't even believe it himself.
You know that tone of voice when children are lying to you because they need to back up another lie, but actually know they are about to be sent to bed without their supper?

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

And this clown is in high office?
Good grief.
I'm so glad I left the UK permanently 37 years ago.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Too true, Gareth. Also agree that he is being led by the nose by the global warming loonies in his department.

I like the way right at the end Davey tells us of the grand plans to keep the lights on: major investment in renewables (the flaws are self evident), gas (believe it when I see it - especially fracking) and reducing demand. I was suddenly reminded of the old Soviet Union. We are meeting our targets, comrades, we are persuading people to use less electricity - by not making it available.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Here is a possible source of the BS.

H/T to Baroness Blackout tweet 3 April.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

So the green position is basically

a) we are consuming too much, thereby killing the planet
b) we need to buy more stuff (to save the planet)

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Out went idiot Huhlne in came idiot Davey. Common factors:both fanatical warmists, both LibDems.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

If I were living in Sicily and a prominent member of the local Mafia offered me "protection," I would know exactly what he meant and that it was going to cost me.

Why do I get a similar feeling when Ed Davey kindly offers to "insulate" me against rising energy prices? Is it an offer I can refuse?

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Davey was Head boy at Nottingham High School. The same place that created Balls. He was indoctrinated at Oxford by Porritt, apparently. Common Purpose = Scientology Lite and a year ago he allegedly ignored MacKay when the latter told him the windmills could never save any CO2 without pump storage.

The latter is sometimes difficult for people to understand. It creates hydro power you can switch off to absorb surges thereby putting in a low pass filter from the windmills whose output is proportional to the cube of the wind speed. The pumping will be done by nuclear so the 30% energy loss is CO2-free.

Yup: we'll have to build the nuclear stations to pump the water to allow the windmills to save any CO2.

These elite greenie Eugenicists would rather kill your granny than adopt a sensible engineering approach because the game is about killing grannies. They are all Pol Pots in waiting because that is how they were programmed by the fanatics.

Apr 5, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecm

Davey reserves his real, scary policy till right at the end of the piece, where he blurts out, in tortured Englsh:

"As well as actually…better use of demand…reducing our needs for using too much electricity and energy.
So we've got a whole range of policies to make sure that we've got secure energy and we DO keep the lights on – and we will."

So, just as he will cut our bills by persuading us to spend money on new appliances, insulation, etc., he will ensure the lights don't go out by cutting us off.

Well, I suppose that's an innovative approach!

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Sadly, this whole saga demonstrates that we no longer have a properly functioning democracy in the UK. Had he been subjected to a proper grilling, by an impartial and knowledgeable interviewer, he would have been made to look an utter fool. That this is not possible in the UK's mainstream media today is extremely worrying. We need an updated version of 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Remember, we live in a welfare state

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Davey repeats the eco-mantra of 'lowering demand' as a measure to ensure our future energy bills will be lower. In a successful modern society demand would increase in line with expansion, with progress and wealth, but efficiency useage would improve as a consequence of technological advances. They are different things and shouldn't be conflated, and certainly not be relied upon as a contributor to government policy.

Davey continues to push renewables even though by now he must be aware they're simply unfit for purpose. In due course there will be an even more expensive price than we're paying now for this deluded foolishness, and I don't mean in cash terms.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

He'd better get in a lot more practice before he is called in front of St Jeremy for the first time to explain why the lights have indeed gone off.

Otherwise it will be truly gruesome to watch.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterLatimer Alder

In 2003 the median household used 3300kWh of electricity. You could still buy 100W incandescent bulbs.

In 2010 the median household used 3300kWh of electricity. You could no longer buy 100W incandescent bulbs and quite a few of your household appliances would have been replaced by more energy efficient ones.

Despite all the energy efficiency directives over that period of time there was no change in electricity usage.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The numpty being Paxman rather than Davey. Being a committed BBC-style far-left activist, Pazza steered well clear of rising energy taxes and subsidies for renewables.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomcat

On the wireless this morning there was an interesting snippet of information regarding why the number of those in the world living in absolute poverty (i.e. the $1.25 per day) has nearly halved in the last decade or so. More than half the reduction was due to China's economic expansion. Clearly a very effective way of reducing poverty is to allow economic growth, and the concomitant increased use of energy.

DECC's approach to energy policy seems to be ration by price, and ration by availability. Perhaps someone should start looking at what that policy does to UK poverty and mortality.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Cue Josh: Mr Potato, the puppet, being operated by DECC behind the curtains.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Brownedoff @ 9:43 - I followed your link to Lady Blackout's Tweets. SHEESH!!! How the hell has it come to this? That we are governed by the mindless limits of 140 character tweets? And that those who govern actually have the time to spend sending and reading - not to mention, understanding - multiple tweets each day?

Just what is the point of people like Davey and Worthington? The medical profession long-since stopped using leeches, so they have no point.

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

If newer appliances are the "answer", why are they taxed at 20%VAT?

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Actually, Davey shows us the dire effect of the destruction of the grammar schools. Nottingham High School used to be a direct grant so in the past you'd have had a meritocrat in his role who would be competent, and intellectually honest.

The elite has set out deliberately to put such incompetents in charge to prove how superior they are!

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecm

Please could someone find out how many "points" Davey has on his licence...and how many points should he have?

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

Davey is not a reasonable man captured by officials. He really believes in his energy universe. It's Lib Dem policy & probably Cameron's in as much as he believes in anything

Apr 5, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

His last comments were the crux of the issue. They cannot guarantee supply for the demand so they will REGULATE DEMAND.
In comes the ''smart meter''. Pushed to help us see what we use day to day but the reality is that if supply falls they will create local blackouts to reduce demand. IE. SWITCH OF OUR SUPPLY AT NO NOTICE REMOTELY.

I hate to think that we now live in a country so wound up in a poorly based policy that they have to resort to the methods of the dictator.

Apr 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

We are told by Mr Davey that we can stop our energy bills from going up by buying new appliances, efficient boilers, and insulating our houses to the recommended level. As someone who has already done all that, I presume that I will just have to sit and watch my bills go through the roof. The one ray of sunshine in all this is, that the feed in tariff I get for the power my pv panels produce is index linked to the cost of energy. The higher Davey pushes the price, the more money I receive, paid for of course by everyone else through even higher bills. That's post normal economics for you.

Apr 5, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Unfortunately, the problem isn't just Huhne and now Davey. The ruling cores of all three Westminster parties are fully behind renewable energy and the carbon obsession. They've taken advice from, more than that, have allowed environmental activists to define energy policy. DECC is stuffed with believers. Note the recent career of Hayes.

They're all living in a dream world. They actually believe this nonsense about more efficient appliances and green jobs galore.

Apr 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Mike Fowle,

"I was suddenly reminded of the old Soviet Union. We are meeting our targets, comrades, we are persuading people to use less electricity - by not making it available."


Animal Farm?

Endless statistics about how things were improving, but the only animals showing signs of doing well were the pigs.

Apr 5, 2013 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

This guy is dumber than mud. I have worked peripherally in the energy sector; I worked for Brown and Root in the construction of North Sea Oil rigs in Scotland. - coal; worked with the CEGB supplying equipment to stations such as Eggborough and Drax. Supplied equipment to THORPE / Sellafield and to Torness in Scotland. I am now working in the petrochemicals sector some of which are the precursor chemicals used to make solar panels. I have listened and learned some.

When Blair won the election in those heady days when things could only get better, I wrote to him and warned him that the he had to make plans to build nuke stations within ten years, because CHP gas fired stations were not going to produce enough energy in the future. So what happened?

The numpties in Government (that is all of them from all parties) bu buying into the greatest ponzi scheme since the South Sea Bubble (man made global warning) put their faith in windmills which are economically deficcient on a ration of 8:1. IE they cost eight times more than the energy which they will produce in the life cycle . Man made global warming is bad science and the number of vested interests / liars involved should dismiss this idiocy. Solar is nice but limited by the WM2 energy you can exact from the sun. They also are limited in their conversion efficiency. But they make more sense than the stupid wind mills.

Carbon is the basic element of life and almost none of these idiots understand CO2 CO or any other chemicals or they would not have tried to ban it. Some greenazis wanted to ban chlorine. They could not pass chemistry 101.

There is an observation I am convinced is a truism; engineers do not go into politics. The reason is that we spend our lives trying to fix things and make them work. Almost by design, politicians screw up everything they touch. You voted them in - why don't you take a more active role in politics and vote them out? No wonder Mr Paxman is cynical - he isn't brain dead - Mr Davey is.

Apr 5, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter W Watson

I saw that issue of Newsnight the other day, Bish - what was interesting was the intro report that led on the assumption that the rise in the cost of energy, dictated by policy, was inevitable - that these political decisions where unavoidable, that politicians had no power to change politics. And that consequently, we must reduce our consumption by 40%. O we can make such a decision? Around here we already don't turn on our heating - what else shall we cut?

Apr 5, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

Agree about Paxman, although I often wish that interviewers would throw in a few simple questions, such as how much the minister's own energy bill had gone up lately, or what is the current price of a simple commodity, neither of which they are likely to know, but ignorance of which would be revealing.

Apr 5, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


It's the Jevons Paradox - somehow I don't think Davey has heard of it...


Apr 5, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Wrong analogy, snotrocket.

I have seen leeches used by the medical profession to reduce haematomas on a young man's eyelids after a motor bike accident.
Apologies for O/T

Apr 5, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

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