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I hope he was joking

I look forward to the opportunity of working positively with Vivienne Westwood on improving our energy supplies and security.

Matt Hancock MP, minister of state for Energy, yesterday

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Reader Comments (58)

Ms Westwood might (?) have affected British fashion but Energy policy?? what a stupid statement.

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Burning rags instead of woodchip?

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Her energy policy anything like her fashions.Over priced over hyped aimed at an arrogant metropolitan privileged select few.

Vivian obviously don't buy her T Shirts from Chavvy Plebby Primark.

Cant wait for the lights to go out in her Boutique in Bond Street.

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I don't think he was joking , unfortunately

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn parker

Moving further up that discussion, £7billion a year since 2010 blown on renewables! Compare that to the £70million Dennis Skinner says is needed to keep Kellingley, Thoresby and Hatfield collieries open until they exhaust their reserves.

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

I think he should work positively with Lee Westwood too. Golfers work outdoors and know all about climate change.

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddieo

Ah - that'll be Vivienne 'We're all gonna fry/It will be impossible to live anywhere south of Paris' Westwood, then...

What is the man thinking..?

Why not work on 'improving our energy supplies and security' with (say):

Alan Carr..?

Louis Spence..?

Mick Jagger..?

Anyway, if she's entitled to comment on energy/climate matters, can I (as an engineer) say that her clothes are overpriced cr*p...

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Actually - if this quote doesn't perfectly capture the God-awful state we have arrived at I don't know what does.

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJud

wiki; "Dame Vivienne Westwood, DBE, RDI is an English fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream."

So, not an Engineer or Scientist?

But "bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream": I can see why Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Energy needs her expertise.

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:33 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Celebrity trumps understanding or knowledge.

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobL

My Lord Off topic I think but we are talking about coverage :-)

The BBC are giving generous coverage to the Green Parties conference. At the last general election the Green Party got approx 0.9% of the popular vote the BNP party got approx 1.1%

On what basis does the BBC see fit to give coverage to the Green Party? ie awaste liscense fee money. Of course and rightly so the fascist BNP's conference should not receive wall to wall coverage but how does the BBC justify giving one fringe party with an abject performance at the general election coverage whilst denying coverage for another fringe party.

Maybe its a fashionable thing to do ;-)

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

So this comes down to what colour you want your wind power to be and selling that the idea that black, as in black-out , goes with anything .

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Geoff Chambers did a hilarious piece on Westwood at his blog, most of the laughs being provided by the lady herself:

The breathless and adoring account of Westwood and pals' week in the Amazon jungle (to save the planet, natch) by a member of the group is one of the (unintentionally) funniest things I have ever read, e.g.

"This morning Vivienne asks me where she should wash, I hand her a big bottle of water, a towel and then gesture loosely towards some trees. Tomorrow the water will be back on but storms have caused silting in the pipes. “That’s fine, I’m happy to do exactly as the locals do, I want to experience things as they do.”

The walk to Tinkereni is hot, long and exhausting. At 71, Vivienne is extremely fit, but I’m concerned about how tiring it is. When she rests by lying flat on her back by the side of a track we stand like sentries guarding for snakes and other venomous rainforest dwellers."

Highly recommended!

To describe these people as airheads is a slur on airheads everywhere. They make the Ab Fab gals look like geniuses.

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

100 years on and we are still being led by donkeys.

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterroger

roger on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Go on, apologise to donkeys!

Yes, all of them!

Sep 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

DavidChappell @ 12:09. Cough, splutter, gag! I thought you wrote: "burning hags"!!!!

Sep 5, 2014 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Of course, Matt Hancock's imprimatur will now mean that the BBC will find Westwood is fully qualified to take on the likes of Matt Ridley or Lord Lawson in debate on AGW. It also shows that Hancock likes to live up to his name (Hancock is olde English for 'dickhead').

Sep 5, 2014 at 2:14 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I've just emailed my MP about this, as follows:

Dear Richard Harrington,

I have just read an extraordinary statement made by one of your colleagues yesterday. The colleague in question, Matthew Hancock (Minister of State for Portsmouth; West Suffolk, Conservative) said the following in a debate about Renewable Energy Investment.

"I look forward to the opportunity of working positively with Vivienne Westwood on improving our energy supplies and security."

As you should be aware, there is a serious possibility of power shortages this coming winter, and many well qualified industry specialists from the power sector have been warning about the possible short fall of power, with potentially lethal consequences for poorer members of our society.

Is it really possible that a minister of state would waste his time consulting with a dress designer on her utterly irrelevant views on "energy supplies and security"?

Yours sincerely,

Sep 5, 2014 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Hancock's comment comes from this dialog - which is well worth reading - if for no other reason than its absurd levels of grovelling to renewable ideals.

Look out for an exchange with Dennis Skinner (who makes a good point, as it happens - it hurts me to say) and the response that shows how much we are really governed by the EU.

Sep 5, 2014 at 2:50 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I rather like "seizing falling solar with both hands".

Sep 5, 2014 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBetapug

Minister of State for Portsmouth?!

For heavens sake, what are the idiots smoking? I knew the policy was to hand out as many 'jobs' as possible so as to rein in any possible rebellions and keep the troops in line, but, Minister of State for Portsmouth?

Sep 5, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I really laughed at that one.

Is he as mad as she is?

Sep 5, 2014 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

Having read the debate, it would seem that Hancock was led into it by Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield, Labour). Interesting to note, though, that he says that Ms Westood “invested” £1 million in “sustainable energy”, implying that she is hoping to make a return on her money. It would be sad to see her lose all that money… (Mind you, as we, the tax-payers, will be losing an awful lot more, it does become a somewhat Pyrrhic victory.)

Stacey makes a good point, as well. If the Greens, with 0.9% of the popular vote, can get such coverage with the BBC, why can the BNP not (regardless of your opinion of either group)? Perhaps we should all follow steveta_uk’s lead.

Sep 5, 2014 at 3:28 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

What a gentleman.

Sep 5, 2014 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

I think this is a case of auto-correction gone wild.

He meant to say he will be working positively with Occidental Petroleum, which has its headquarters in Westwood, CA.

And, in passing, what a stupid phrase -- when do we ever decide to 'work negatively' with someone?

Sep 5, 2014 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I see a more sinister side to this.
Westwood represents the anti Fracking lobby.
In a sensible nation they could be dealt with very easily, so why aren't they?
Vested interests as we all know.
And I will bet a tenner she has her finger in the renewables pie.
Or her rich cynical handlers do.
Its almost as if Hancock is testing the water, or a deal, more renewables built to allow fracking.
Is Westwood merely a messenger, I think so.
Has it come to the point where the DECC cannot operate with the blessings of external forces?
It would appear so.
LibLabCon have to go, all of them.
They no longer represent the British people, and it is becoming plain to see more and more people every day are beginning to realise this.

Sep 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterc777

For me the interesting assertion is how the obssessed have moved from wind, not acknowledging its utter failure, to touting solar as if it could work on a large scale in the geography and climate of the UK.
No self-reflection, no consideration that a course change is called for, no sense of proportion. Just wandering from climate talking point to climate talking point, discarding the failures behind like a trail of breadcrumbs. Not realizing that the breadcrumbs get eaten.

Sep 5, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I think he mixed up Vivienne with Vivian from 'The Young Ones'.

Sep 5, 2014 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

@John Parker

Were you ever involved in the much undervalued upcycling industry attached to coal fired power stations, ie manufacture of AAC construction blocks?

Sep 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered Commenternick

"I look forward to the opportunity of working positively with Vivienne Westwood on improving our energy supplies and security."

Chuckle. And perhaps we will be seeing the "Matt Hancock" collection in Milan this Autumn? Why not? That's their choice.

But, personally, I would prefer some engineers to be in charge of my energy supply and security.

Sep 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Blame spell checker blame Vivienne when the lights go out.

Sep 5, 2014 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Interesting figures from Mr. Hancock:

Since 2010, an average of £7 billion has been invested each year in renewable electricity, compared with £3 billion a year in the previous Parliament.

I make that a total of 28+15 = £43 Billion invested to date.

Current output UK Wind Turbines = 400 MW see:

or not quite enough to run HS2 trains between London & Birmingham !

That equates to £100 per Watt or £4,000 to power one 40W light-bulb

Good value eh !

Sep 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

“I’m glad to help pave a new, more inclusive path for environmentalism – one that recognises the right of individuals to also make a profit.”

Crowd funding. We'll have to wait and see if her £1m will get much return

Sep 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

However, reading the debate (LINK), you'll note that Hancock's next sentence was:

We need improvement across the board, and that includes ensuring that we make the most of our indigenous gas supplies.
I don't think dear Vivienne will be too keen on that bit - maybe he's being rather more crafty than we all think.

Sep 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Even Zebedee must be cringing at this one. Surely?

Sep 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

@Justin Ert: Westwood is hoping to get something like 7.25% on her mill. Seems to me like a crazy crowd-funded scheme where none of the Board members of the TrillionFund - or those involved seem to have any idea about energy of any kind. You can check 'em out here.

Sep 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

So it's not the lunatics running the asylum. It's the Surrealists.

Sep 5, 2014 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve C

"LibLabCon have to go, all of them"

Agreed, but have you any idea how that can be achieved in a non-violent way.
I ask this question because I cannot for the life of me, imagine how!

Sep 5, 2014 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

"Pray tell me, dahling - does my energy deficit look big in this?"

Sep 5, 2014 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommentermikemUK

Surely he must be extracting the Michael?


Sep 5, 2014 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

It would not surprise me if our current and previous governments took advice on energy and climate matters from fairies at the bottom of ministers' gardens, such is the otherworldly nature of the Climate Change Act and the energy madness downstream from it. Ms Westwood would scarcely be able to make things any worse than they already are.

Sep 5, 2014 at 6:53 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Surely Vivienne can employ the remaining Derbyshire miners as frock-makers? That's Skinner's problem solved.

I think also Vivienne might know some Amazonian shaman who can increase the productivity of night-time solar by getting the Sun to shine at night.

Sep 5, 2014 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterrotationalfinestructure

Perhaps we could get her started on some of those pretty alternating current equations with the imaginary numbers. Greens are good at imaginary numbers. Very imaginative.

On second thoughts, maybe we should devote the first few months to Ohm's Law.

Sep 5, 2014 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

"I look forward to the opportunity of working positively with Vivienne Westwood on improving our (Russian) energy supplies and security."

I am sure Uncle Putin would have said this as well!

Sep 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I know that I have mentioned this before but all of the numerous wind turbines in my area were completely stationary yet again today. Surely I can't be the only person that has noticed their conspicuous lack of movement throughout this summer.

Regarding the OP. When I first read it I was assuming that it was a silly gaff involving two people with similar sounding names. If that were the case I would be able to sympathise because that is the kind of slip that I would probably make if I were in that kind of job, having a poor memory for names. But no, we actually have ministers of government consulting fashion designers about energy policy. Do I laugh or cry? Hell, I've got my bicycle and my gennie, I will do whatever I need to to get by, laugh loud and long.

Sep 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Sometimes it feels hopeless. I've been fighting a turbine near Haverhill for a year and so far the application has been considered twice by the St Edmundsbury development committee. Both times we won. Now, like a bloody zombie, it's lurching its way through the appeal process and will shortly be considered by a planning inspector. Hancock is talking through his... hat when he claims that the wishes of the local people are taken into consideration. No, they are not. The system is devised to make it almost impossible to reject the things.

The last time I met him he was full of 'solar PV is the future' guff. When I told him that that would work only if the electricity could be stored he agreed, oh yes, we'll have to store the electricity, but the technological problems were obviously beyond his understanding.

Now we have a trillion pounds as ammo for the enemy: like Cervantes I have a a clapped-out donkey and a broken lance to fight a trillion pounds. Hopeless.


Future governments will have the power to tax the huge subsidies that the trillion pounds will attract, tax them in the same way North Sea oil was taxed, tax then so that the cost of the electricity is equivalent to a CCGT, so that all the subsidy is grabbed by the Treasury. Then 7.5% secured against five turbines will look a lot less attractive. I've been trying to get UKIP to put that in the manifesto, but without much luck so far. Still early days, if we do well next year it might be possible to push it then. So, when we come knocking on your door next April and May, tell the UKIP people that you'd like the things taxed to extinction. The word will get back.

43 billion pounds: at the moment I see, courtesy Gridwatch, it's knocking out about 1% of a fairly average demand. So that's £4,300,000,000,000 to keep the lights on using wind. Matthew Hancock is in charge of energy security. He'll be able to find that much behind the DEFRA sofa cushions.

Fight, never give up, never stop, fight: we'll beat the things together.


Sep 5, 2014 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

Bish, how do you find these quotes?

johanna, whenever someone mentions Ab Fab I feel like watching it. I will watch Ab Fab and Coupling on the television tonight.

Sep 5, 2014 at 9:40 PM | Registered Commentershub

"Fight, never give up, never stop, fight: we'll beat the things together"

Any ideas as to how we can take the fight forward.
Please don't suggest the ballot box; any other suggestions will be seriously

Sep 5, 2014 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Ancient poetic comment on Solar power :-

"Oh God bless the moon for a fine noble fellow
Who lights up our way as we walk in the dark,
While the sun only shines in the day, which by nature,
Needs no light at all as ye all might remark."

Sep 5, 2014 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

How Matthew Hancock voted:-

Voted moderately for fewer MPs in the House of Commons

Voted very strongly for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education
Voted very strongly for university tuition fees
Voted very strongly for raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year

Voted moderately against a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU

Voted a mixture of for and against measures to prevent climate change
Voted a mixture of for and against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods

Sep 5, 2014 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

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