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« Waste pumps | Main | Notes from a conference, part II »

The division of spoils

Guido has helpfully listed the division of select committee chairmanships between the parties for the new Parliament. The individuals concerned will have to be elected, but it's fair to say it doesn't look good so far.

Energy and Climate Change has been handed to the SNP. This should at least make for good entertainment, given that party's suicidal policies on wind power. I'm not entirely convinced that it bodes well for the future of electricity supplies in the UK.

Science and Technology is to pass to the Conservatives, having been a Labour fiefdom for a while. This could be interesting if they get someone who likes asking awkward questions, but I'm not holding my breath.

Environmental Audit stays with the Labour Party, but let's face it nobody ever listens to anything they say anyway because they only ever take evidence from greens.

I wonder if the SNP will give the chairmanship of the ECC committee to the foul-mouthed twelve-year-old they had elected this time round?


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Reader Comments (87)

Link or it never happened!


May 22, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

Cameron seem s to think that DECC is a Mickey Mouse ministry, since he gave it to the Lib Dems last time, with predictable results and a minister in jail, He should have realised by now that this is probably the most crucial appointment since energy security is far more important in underpinning all other decisions. However, from listening to Nicola Sturgeon she seems more pragmatic on energy and should provide a clear steer to whoever becomes Chairman. He/she should be someone of substance from within their more experienced MPs or former MSPs.

May 22, 2015 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Political rope to let the SNP self-immolate. They are a 'Nationalistic, Corporatist Fascists' operating as a front for the wind farmers currently plastering the Highlands with windmills. `it was they and allies who bankrolled Salmond for many years.

They will demand cheap interconnects to rip off the English Poor. This will rebound on them politically.

May 22, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Guido story link as requested ^^^

PS Cameron has appointed a new policy unit. head, a woman who 2 years ago wrote a mad Green Religion article
Camilla Cavendish from the Sunday Times, and Oxford PPE graduate
..I left some more notes over on Unthreaded

- Yep "giving the SNP enough rope" to screw it up so that cameron can win some Scottish votes in 2020
They are bound to make promises they can't keep ..and he'll have something to trade with them so they soften on other issues.

May 22, 2015 at 9:46 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I know Cameron appears to be a true believer, but he and Osborne are both savvy when it comes to political in-fighting.

I suspect that handing the SNP this committee chairmanship is a poisoned chalice. In light of the SNP's commitment to total decarbonisation by 2020, then mystification and outrage at the closing of a large coal-fired power station, and the identification (in the public's eye) with the lights going out in Scotland, they could be well-positioned to get the blame.

Add to that their complete and utter opposition to fracking.

Imagine a scenario where a fracking-friendly Conservative government start producing cheap gas in England, as the climate-puritans in Scotland sit shivering in the dark.

Could get quite uncomfortable.

May 22, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

"I'm not entirely convinced that it bodes well for the future of electricity supplies in the UK."

Surely that should read... not entirely convinced that it bodes well for the future of electricity consumers in the UK?

May 22, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

- Guido has added a full list of staff to the Downing Street Policy Advisor list

May 22, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

To be fairer to the SNP than the wingnuts and little Englanders will be;
a) most of the UK wind is in Scotland and,
b) only SNP and Ukip seem to care about security of supply / coal plant closures. With Torys city-blind and Lab-Lib green-blind on that vital issue then who is left to stop the National grid from behaving like the irresponsible privatised monopoly that they are?

May 22, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I've done a post election update for the GB Peak Demand v Generation capacity graph, which I suggest everyone sends to their MPs and MSPs in the hope that some reality dawns in the corridors of power in the Westminster village and Holyrood clachan -


Remember this is only half the story, if by some magic they can manage to meet peak demand in future winter cold spells, grid stability is still going to be a major problem.

May 22, 2015 at 10:10 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

I'm not entirely convinced that it bodes well for the future of electricity supplies in the UK.

The political allegiance of the chair of a Select Committee has no direct and little indirect influence on the policies of the department it supervises. A competent Select Committee can highlight departmental failings and air pertinent issues of importance but it's not what I'd call common. Unsurprisingly, membership of SCs is allocated pro rata to a party's HoC contingent. That the chair of the Energy and Climate Change SC could well be a trough-swilling, technically deluded NAT will change nothing beyond possibly giving one or two civil servants an easier ride and, if Mike Weir is elected, inducing public ennui. That DECC is a ministry beyond parliamentary (and possibly even governmental) control and that the UK's EU-driven energy policy is a sleep-walk iinto disaster has been the case at least since Mhairi Black MP was at kindergarten and will probably still be the case beyond her presumed defeat at the next election.

the foul-mouthed twelve-year-old

Parliamentary sketch writer Ann Treneman accorded Ms Black due respect when she labelled her "The Braveheart Babe".

May 22, 2015 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

National Grid and the DNOs must be rubbing their hands in glee. Over the next few years they will make a fortune rebuilding the UK's electricity supply.

Lapogus: In reality the graph will turn out to be different, because the peak demand line will follow the supply line (3-day week anyone?). Do the supply figures actually show capacity, because renewables capacity is much more than shown and by 2020 could well exceed 30GW? Perhaps it is 'firm capacity', reflecting hydro and a small fraction of intermittent wind and solar.

And you are quite right, grid stability will be a major concern long before 2020, given the fact that wind and solar capacity (and much of it embedded) will exceed peak summer demand before 2020.

May 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

In one way the SNP have an easy job , you just blame it all on Westminster and the English.

May 22, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr


1. What better way to make the rest of the Tories hate a policy area than give it to the SNP!

2. Give them the rope to hang themselves.

3. Or more likely - the writing is on the wall for renewables and the SNP are getting a pig in a poke.

May 22, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"In one way the SNP have an easy job , you just blame it all on Westminster and the English."

Whereas the English blame everything on the EU! At some point Westminster and the English (who vote for 82% of it) should admit their own mistakes don't you think?

May 22, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

b) only SNP and Ukip seem to care about security of supply / coal plant closures.

May 22, 2015 at 10:04 AM | JamesG

Sorry, severe case of cognitive dissonance - the SNP's committment to carbon free energy by 2020 shows that thy don't give a flying duck about energy security, also that their ruling cadre must have an average age of 16. Apologies to any 16 year olds who may wander here. We call them the JDP now. The Juvenile Delinquent Party. Maybe one day they'll grow, but we aren't holding our collective breath in this household.

Regardless, it may well be a neat move by Cameron to hand them this. With a view to future embarrassments.

May 22, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

I see that the Conservatives are also keeping hold of Culture Media and Sport, which the BBC are unlikely to welcome with charter renewal just round the corner. Is it too much to hope that Philip Davies might move into the chair? Probably, but golly it would be fun if he did!

May 22, 2015 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN

From my Yes Minister days, the first rule of departmental heads appointments is that the minister shouldn't have a clue about what his/her department is about, thus ensuring total incompetence & rule by Civil Servants!

May 22, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Jeremy Poynton - you should read more before you comment:

AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would demand a major say in UK energy policy, according to a new Scottish Government report which warns the risk of power blackouts is "the highest for a generation".

I am well aware that the SNP are as barmy as the rest of the parties about climate and CO2 though I blame duplicitous academia for that. However at least some Scottish academics are reminding them that their policies are barmy - and they seem to be listening to at least some of it. The more immediate problem is the National Grid, who seem to want to emulate Enron.

May 22, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

bBut Bish, there are magic money trees, Drax has been burning them for donkey's yonks.

May 22, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterPMT

It seems the UK's national election, like the US and most Western national elections, only have one effect: the speed into totalitarian fantasies which produce misery, destruction, slavary and chaos as they herd the 99% up the steps of the guillotine. The Tory election may have given the UK a delay of a couple of years before a mass die-off from winter kill since it gets really, really cold of late in the isles.

May 22, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Lapogus, I looked at your "GB Peak Demand v Generation capacity graph".

I can't speak to the supply figures, but the demand curve seems out of date. I listened to the investor's presentation from NG after their results the other day. The question of peak demand next winter came up in the Q&A. The answer given was 55GW, which at odds with your graphic. click on full year results webcast, the question is asked at 1hr 1 min

The point was made elsewhere in the webcast. that electricity demand is steadily falling year on year and will continue to do so until space heating and transport start to be more electrified.

May 22, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Brown

Tony N at 10.49am re Phil Davies, Yes his performance on the committee questioning Chris Patten was a joy, wasn't it?

May 22, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Jeremy Poynton and JamesG, I agree with Jeremy. The SNP can now take responsibility for the looming energy disaster in Scotland.

What do the Tories have to lose in Scotland? Nothing

What do the SNP have to lose in Scotland?

May 22, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Who is "the foul mouthed 12 year old"?

May 22, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

BH update, Mike Weir, expertise in offshore wind is awarded to anyone whose hat blew off at the seaside.

May 22, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie


At least some of the SNP's expertise seems to be in ill informed fantasizing. Carbon free by 2020 - bring it on.

They should be issued with political PPE equipment consisting large ginger afro wigs, white face paint and massive shiny red Doc Martin boots.

Freeee....dumb!! yelled the Saltire face painted mob.

May 22, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Good News : Greenpeace caught cheating on a GBR Coral photos scare story
Greenpeace cons you about the Reef. How can you trust a word it says Andrew Bolt

"The Federal Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt, said Greenpeace has been ‘caught out’ by its own website in a ‘deceptive campaign to have the Great Barrier Reef listed in danger."
In the daily Mail

Greenpeace "confirmed the image of the destroyed reef was taken after typhoon devastation in The Philippines, she also said Greenpeace never claimed the image was taken in Australia."

May 22, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Golf Charlie
That should be...."the looming energy disaster in [the UK]" and England will be affected before Scotland....possibly by next winter when the demand curve is generally projected to exceed the supply curve.

& tomo
Anti-Scottish rhetoric doesn't change the fact that the problem was caused by the English-dominated Thatcher tory and Blair tory-lite administrations by first privatising natural monopolies, then by the Climate change act, the vote for which was almost unanimous.

I recently spoke at length to an Oxford-based climate quango-king and realised that we both thought current climate policy was economic suicide, even coming from entirely opposite perspectives on climate change. When I said that it was his job to tell government, he revealed that he had done so but they were 'just not listening'. So I repeat - 'who else do you prefer?'

May 22, 2015 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Can any one tell me why a commercial contract made by the National Grid for interconnector supplies is dependent on our being in the EU.
I know that despite being a listed Company the Grid is regulated by Government and sourcing of supplies is not always made on commercial grounds.
Included in Steve Holliday's statement "We cannot afford to lose the access to (European) energy supplies and interconnection". "Interconnection with Europe would reduce wholesale costs in the UK by £1bn a year" Surely this is not at the whim of Brussels?
It raises the question are we paying to much to our own generators, whether they be renewable or fossil fuelled?

May 22, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

Expect some SNP dunce inane to forest Culloden moor like Birnam wood, with wind turbines tall, one for every fallen Jacobite.

May 22, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

DaveB, the Member for Rab C Nesbittshire and Buckfast reminded me less of Braveheart and more of Ronnie (aka the clown) in Restless Natives.

May 22, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

God, even Englishman were appalled at the slaughter on Culloden moor, a poorly chosen arena and not at all suited to the Scots army who were bedraggled and not equipped for such a battle - but not so bloody bonny Charlie deemed otherwise.

Scots fought on both sides, the Hanoverian loyalists consisting of English, Ulstermen, lowland Scots, Hanoverian and Austrian mercenaries commanded by 'Butcher Cumberland'.

What a blood awful thing it was.

Please, let us not get into that sort of argument, it's just what the green folklorists - the SNP would want.

May 22, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

In a sane world, it would be amazing - staggering - that the SNP have been given chairmanship of the Energy and "climate change" Committee. However, it is Dave we are talking about, so, no, it is not amazing. All we can hope for is that there will be a majority of clear thinkers on the committee, who place energy security far above all other considerations, and render the chairman impotent.

May 22, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartinW

JamesG when you claim that you can pave the streets of Scotland with gold by keeping 'your oil money' and then claim your going to be 'fossil fuel free ' that is a hard act to balance. But it a lots easer to know what when you fall over that 'others' can be blamed .

Oddly if the SNP had won the 'yes' vote that would have had to face up to the reality that 'Westminster' would no longer have been around to blame for all the SNP's madder ideas so they would have lost not gained votes , the recent election results are for them perfect in many ways , as it plays into 'evil Tory ' its all Westminster fault that it rains, notion they push.

May 22, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

JamesG, the SNP are going to be saddled with the blame by the people of Scotland. Trying to blame Thatcher, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Rudolph Hess or Hadrian, isn't going to change the present position. It is not going to change the future either.

Scotland is now vulnerable to power shortages. No one is doing anything about it, but the current Government has positioned the SNP to take the blame. Has anybody done anything to avert this looming crisis?

The SNP won a decisive victory, but are not doing anything to keep the lights on. They are actually bringing the inevitable forward. The Swingometer may see another record 'swing' in 5 years time involving the SNP's share of the vote.

Waving a Scottish flag, does not generate electricity.

May 22, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


I live in Paisley. The idea of having as 20 year old ned from Glasgow as an MP is an outrage. It was the SNP having a laugh at Douglas Alexander. BTW her father is a school teacher ned.

How did the SNP win all these seats when they were completely trounced in the referendum ? I really don't know. Ask Rupert Murdoch.

May 22, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Scotland generally opposed the '45. It was a failed French plot to restore the Catholic succession to the British crown. Apart from the Highland clan chiefs and their serfs. The French were supposed to have invaded England but the plot was discovered.

The Jacobite rising of 1745, was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent. Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie" or "the Young Pretender," sailed to Scotland and raised the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands, where he was supported by a gathering of Highland clansmen.
The march south began with an initial victory at Prestonpans near Edinburgh. The Jacobite army, now in bold spirits, marched onwards to Carlisle, over the border in England. When it reached Derby, some British divisions were recalled from the Continent and the Jacobite army retreated north to Inverness where the last battle on Scottish soil took place on a nearby moor at Culloden. The Battle of Culloden ended with the final defeat of the Jacobite cause, and with Charles Edward Stuart fleeing with a price on his head, before finally sailing to permanent exile in France.

May 22, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I'm certain that SNP welcome the opportunity to take as much responsibility as it can over Scotlands affairs and especially over energy - where it has a lot of jobs to protect. It is certainly difficult to argue that Scotland is to blame when it is not in charge of energy policy and indeed has very limited powers overall but some of you are fervently trying nevertheless.

The recent election only proved that Labour was now rejected in Scotland as well as Tories. I don't think many folk grasp the significance of that. It will be very hard for Labour to recover because the Scottish party wants to be more left-wing while the English want to be more right-wing. Tories still have zero chance in Scotland and if you had read some of my previous comments you'd understand why. Whether we like it or not, Scotland prefers the Scandinavian model while the South of England cleaves to the USA. I am a Federalist, not a nationalist so I have no dog in the fight. I voted with my feet long ago.

Far from 'paving the streets with gold', which you just invented, the argument actually was that if the UK had kept a reserve fund from oil revenues as Norway did, then the UK would not have felt the financial crisis so badly - which is undeniable. The argument going forward is that some of the massive tax revenue should be set aside now.

The claim to be fossil free' was actually a mere ambition, not even a target and worded in a strange way (ie 'equivalent to 100%' which nobody could actually work out) that seemed to be directly contradicted by their published energy plan which had gas clearly front and centre of Scotlands energy policy future for most of the century.

Seemingly Salmond thought that since the 40% goal was likely to be achieved quite easily the goalposts could be moved but not many in his party were too keen to agree. I agree it is inconsistent political posturing - just like the shale gas moratorium on new licenses. The more observant will have noticed that Ineos is therefore still free to frack: It was merely a trick to foil Jim Murphy.

Meanwhile at last someone will try to protect North Sea oil and gas from further blundering tory tax rises.

May 22, 2015 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG


The SNP are a Murdoch project.

"Leveson Report: Alex Salmond had 'striking' willingness to lobby for Rupert Murdoch
Alex Salmond displayed a “striking” willingness to lobby the Government on behalf of Rupert Murdoch after developing a relationship of “mutual respect and admiration” with the media mogul, the Leveson inquiry has found.
Rupert Murdoch and Alex Salmond enjoy a relationship of “mutual respect and admiration”

The First Minister last night claimed he was exonerated after the report ruled there was not enough evidence to say definitively that he agreed to lobby for the takeover in return for the Scottish Sun supporting the SNP at last year’s Holyrood elections.
But Lord Justice Leveson noted that talks on both BSkyB and the Sun’s backing took place in the same conversation, which was conducted in the context of a “warming” relationship between Mr Salmond and News Corp."

May 22, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

More true to say that the Scottish Sun is an SNP supporter because it made them more money. Something wrong with that? But hey the English have the UK Sun, Express, Mail, Telegraph. Labour has the Mirror, Record and the BBC.

Golf Charlie
Far from waving a flag, I am trying to dispel some of the myths, half-truths and outright lies that Cameron, Milliband and the English press have been spewing about the SNP and which many of you - even the otherwise intelligent - seem to have swallowed wholesale. Everything the SNP have done has been about gaining political advantage in Scotland but be under no illusions; they will not sacrifice any of energy sector jobs. Their goal is prosperity rather than austerity and that will not be undermined by the greens backwardness. And as for fracking.....their energy minister is a clear supporter...

So I'd say watch this space...

May 22, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

In the 1980s, when English cities went up in flames against Thatcher, there wasn't one single riot in Scotland. That's right, those brave Scottish left wing radicals were too busy watching Corry-manantion Street and planning to raid the local pensioner's club.

I remember this because one of my pals was busted by Special Branch for leafleting Ferguslie Park in Paisley and driving round with a megaphone trying to start a riot. An incredibly dumb thing to do at so many levels. They had been after him for while.

You can the hint of the story of why Special Branch were called in at the bottom of this page

Special Branch operation in Paisley, 1979

May 22, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Carl Bernstein (Watergate) in the reality of Rupert Murdoch. It is monumentally naive to believe Murdoch is a mere media mogul.

"So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch's ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America's democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press.

In the American instance, Murdoch's goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election."

May 22, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

They never bombed anyone either - unlike the IRA; disgusting violence which nevertheless gained Ulster a parliament before Scotland.

So your point is that Scots are more civilised and believe in the ballot box before violence?

Actually former SNP leader Jim Sillars called Scottish voters '90 minute patriots' prior to his resignation in disgust. I was inclined to agree but things certainly changed!

May 22, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

A Global Leader - Introduced world leading climate change legislation to reduce emissions by 42% by the end of the decade, with annual targets and a minimum of 80% reduction by 2050

Investing in Renewables - The SNP-led Scottish Government has invested heavily in our renewables sector.

Earlier this week the majority of Scottish Labour MPs failed to vote for a moratorium on fracking in the House of Commons, despite Jim Murphy stating his supposed opposition to the technology at the weekend. Every SNP MP voted in favour of a UK-wide moratorium.

May 22, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air


Wasn't Salmond trounced and humiliated during the referendum ? Didn't he resign ?

Here is the little general tugging his (RBS) banker forelock to the Council on Foreign Relations, the centre of American global hegemony.

May 22, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

JamesG, I am not Scottish, but want Scotland to succeed. Pointing the finger of blame at everything English, may win votes, but it does not actually improve anything.

I would love to see Scotland take the lead in sticking 2 fingers up to the EU, Global Warmists etc. I like the prospect of your "watch this space remark" , but that is not what the SNP have been saying since Blairite days. Should I believe you, or what the SNP were saying before the election?.

I know from your comments here that you understand the green plan is a slowly unfolding disaster, so was the SNP in support of it, as a means of :

a) being anti-tory
a) it seemed like a popular idea at the time
c) it made sense
d) preparing the way for coalition with Miliband

The SNP made their position clear 2 months ago. 2 months is a long time in politics, especially when all the experts failed to predict the result.

People who talk about the rights and wrongs of federalism (for example), should spend more time with people who have to work for a living. It will do Ed Miliband some good.

May 22, 2015 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This is course is all written by the English press and by Cameron

High Level Summary of Statistics Trend Last update: Thursday, December 18, 2014
Renewable Energy

The Scottish Government has set a National Indicator for the amount of electricity generated annually through renewable sources as a percentage of gross annual consumption to increase to 100% by 2020. The interim target of 31% by 2011 has now been met and a new interim target of 50% by 2015 has been set.

Now how do you do that without shutting coal fired stations ?

May 22, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Breath of Fresh Air, you fit wind generators on the hand held flags being waved by Scottish Nationalists.

Boredom may set in, and something else will seem more appealing, and easier.

May 22, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The great Edwin Muir called Scott and Burns sham bards of a sham nation. He forgot to mention sham energy policy of a party with a single basic policy. "It's Oor Oil'

The bizarre sham nation of Scotland. From the book 'Scott-land: The Man Who Invented A Nation' by Stuart Kelly

Walter Scott - from The Scotsman newspaper.

Waverley was followed by many other novels, but it was Scott's role as the impresario behind the visit of George IV to Edinburgh in 1822 which changed Scotland forever. Scott was part Peter Mandelson, part Simon Cowell; a politically astute fixer with an eye for what the public can be made to want. The visit was unprecedented. The last member of that ruling dynasty to set foot in Scotland had been "Butcher" Cumberland at the battle of Culloden, the final quashing of the Jacobites. Yet Scott managed to persuade the King – by then a portly, unpopular and divorced monarch – to come.

In part this was to bolster royal support in the aftermath of the Radical War and General Strike of 1820. In part, it was to keep George away from the Congress of Verona, where Britain, France, Prussia, Russia and Austro-Hungary were conducting sensitive and Machiavellian negotiations – in the words of John Prebble, George would have been "a peacock among hawks". In part it was to balance the state visit to Ireland: Scotland should not be overlooked. For all these reasons, George came. Scott stage-managed the whole event, even getting the King to wear a kilt. (George agreed on the condition he did not show the royal knees, using pink stockings to conceal his gouty legs.)

It's difficult to recapture how audacious this was. George would wear the "uniform" of the people who had tried to oust his great-grandfather from the throne: like Prince Harry wearing an SS costume. Scott circulated a pamphlet of hints where George was described as the "chief" to the clan of Scotland. He even spread misinformation that George could, legally, be considered the heir to the Jacobite claim to the throne. The visit covered Edinburgh in tartan, last seen as the symbol of an occupying force, put bagpipes and heather on every street corner, and made Highland culture the shorthand for Scottish culture. Even in his day, it was denounced as a "plaided panorama" and "Celtified pageantry". But its legacy is astonishing.

It's why Queen Victoria said that in her heart, she was a Jacobite. It's why nationalists wore kilts. It's why we have a "Tartan Week" in New York.

Almost anything we now consider culturally, even nationally, Scottish has its roots in what Scott did and wrote. From language to dress, from how others see us to how we see ourselves, from tourists to the cash they spend, is all Scott's doing – he was the man who forced the Treasury to allow the Scottish banks to keep printing their own notes, during the financial meltdown of 1825: it's why his face is still on Bank of Scotland tenners. Scott was always the marriage guidance counsellor to the Union, rather than its divorce lawyer. He was adamant that England was putting the Union in peril in 1825, and persuaded a decent outcome.

Scott-land: The Man Who Invented A Nation (rrp 16.99), signed by Stuart Kelly

Interesting fact from the book. The Walter Scott pantomime / pageant of 1820 (attended by the king) was the first time in history the kilt was worn or bagpipes played in Edinburgh on large numbers. Scotland is two separate countries with separate languages and culture..

May 22, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I refer you to the answer I gave to knr. Also see if you can seek out the SNP energy plan and notice when coal was supposed to be phased out - if and only if CCS was available. That was the key presumption and the reason they said 'equivalent to' 100% carbon reduction. Of course CCS is increasingly unlikely and policies and political gestures change. The Labour party once stood on a platform of exiting the EU and unilateral nuclear disarmament. Blair said education, education, education then introduced tuition fees. Thatchers slogan was 'Labour isn't working' and showed a long line of unemployed but within a couple of years of her tenure unemployment leaped from 1 million to 3.5 million. Welcome to politics!

golf Charlie
I refer you to the answer I gave to knr and BoFA above. Also you accuse me of pointing the finger of blame. Should I then somehow blame people not in power or just face the actual facts? As for the reason for the dumb CO2 reduction targets of the SNP, why are the Libs, Labs and Cons favour of utterly impractical 80% reduction by 2050? Is it maybe just calculated to steal the wheels from the greens with a sideways glance at the green party rise in Germany? Of course you don't have to believe anything; Fergus Ewing may be replaced by yet another green zealot at any time but how can a party be pro-fossil fuels and anti-CO2 at the same time? If Ineos at Grangemouth closed or Aberdeen became just a fishing port again would the SNP expect to stay in power? Sure if that was replaced by offshore wind at a reasonable price it would be great but fuel price increases are also contrary to their manifesto so contradictions are built-in. Which policy will win? I'm betting on Peilkes iron law - the voters will not stand for too much greenery if it simply costs too much.

May 22, 2015 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

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