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« The new man on the ECC | Main | IPCC: climate misinformers »

Andy Microband Burnham

The news that unconventional gas has become an issue in the Labour party leadership campaign is interesting. Andy Burnham is generally seen as something of a moderniser - he has proposed abolishing inheritance tax and tough law and order policies among other things. However, he has also been associated with the Brownite left from time to time and might therefore be best seen as being a man of flexible principles.

It's hard therefore to know what to make of his decision to come out against unconventional gas, apart from observing that his comments on the subject - saying we need stronger evidence of its safety, and that licences are handed out "like confetti" - suggest that he is quite remarkably ill-informed.

No doubt this is all a case of trying to win votes in the election rather than the setting out of a serious policy position. Nevertheless, he does seem to be risking as being seen as an anti-economic development candidate, someone who is happy to "contain" the prospects of economic development in the north-west and who will cheerfully stand by and watch energy intensive industry flee the country.

He's a kind of mini-Miliband I suppose. I guess that makes him a microband.

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Reader Comments (30)

I would say that the ONLY reason Burnham has come out against shale-gas development is because Cameron is for it. Such is the depth of politics in the UK, nowadays.

Jun 9, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Andy Burnham appears to have learned from the two previous Labour leaders how to lose public support.

The Labour Party has learned how to blame the previous Leader, for losing public support.

Labour seemed to be gripped by a vicious circle, of their own self belief.

Jun 9, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

...It's hard therefore to know what to make of his decision to come out against unconventional gas, apart from observing that his comments on the subject - saying we need stronger evidence of its safety, and that licences are handed out "like confetti" - suggest that he is quite remarkably ill-informed....

HE won't have 'come out against it'. His team will have suggested that he make this point, at this time.

From which we may make several possible guesses:

a) a competitor for the leadership has taken a position of supporting shale gas
b) his team think that he needs to bolster his green credentials to attract some waverers
c) his team think that he needs to say SOMETHING at this point which sounds important...

As far as I can see, what the rest of the world thinks, or what Cameron thinks, is completely irrelevant. These are manoeuvrings inside the Labour Party, and would bear no relation to any later policy that party may espouse...

Jun 9, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Bishop - is this such a low news day that you have to lift from "Wigan Today" a story about a minor politician who will be of no importance for the foreseeable future. Also one who, on the subject of fracking, is unaware of the latest report from that tool of the fossil fuel industry the EPA rebutting the scariest threat - to drinking water.
Did you not notice that the G7 has quietly moved decarbonising the global economy back 85 years and in doing so effectively bought agreement at Paris by abandoning all their current emissions strategy.
As M.Courtney has shrewdly pointed out elsewhere (WUWT), in 1915 the horse was the prime engine of motive power and local steam generation the prime energy source. Nobody can imagine the world in 35 years time let alone 85, its a safe bet fossil fuel energy will be obsolete by then (though not pushed out by wind or solar).

Jun 9, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

... and would bear no relation to any later policy that party may espouse...
... or indeed to any event currently or in the future likely to take place on planet Earth.
If insanity is deliberately repeating the same behaviour and expecting a different outcome then the Labour Party is truly insane. I'm coming round to Janet Daley's point of view that the party has, perhaps for all the best reasons, reached its sell-by date.

Jun 9, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Meanwhile, his paymasters in the GMB union has signed a landmark agreement with the fracking industry in a bid to accelerate the exploitation of shale gas and oil resources in the UK and boost local supply chains as the sector develops.

Jun 9, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood


Jun 9, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

This is what is known as "flying a kite". Throwing an idea up in the air, to see which way the political wind is blowing.

Political wind does not blow windmills round, and does not make electricity.

Of the UK's main political partys, Conservatives, Labour and Scottish Nationalists, not one has yet realised this.

Jun 9, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Radical Rodent,

Agreed. One of the landmarks in my disillusionment with Westminster politics came years ago during a TV discussion. The presenter asked a Labour MP why his party was arguing against a Conservative government proposal which, on the face of it, was something of which Labour might normally be in favour. The politician laughed and said "well, we are supposed to be the Opposition".

For what it's worth, I don't think that other party drones are any different, though they might be more cautious about expressing it out loud.

Jun 9, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Radical Rodent

Nice comma!

Jun 9, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

..MANY Men's principles are inside their trousers.
ask Mrs Cameron. guys should know that already ..& "principals" spelling works aswell

Jun 9, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Is he supporting tough law and order policies, or abolishing tough law and order policies?

Jun 9, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

The Labour Party needs to win three back three groups.

1) The immigrant population. Labour has traditionally helped the poor and maintained community cohesion (see mining communities as well as urban inner cities). But the 20hour a day shopkeepers are now moving up the ladder and being replace at the bottom by hardworking eastern Europeans - who can't vote as the Commonwealthers could. So Labour is trending down there - only in London with the sheer number of immigrants is it holding firm. Many are switching all the way to the Tories.

2) The poor, white working class. They are threatened by competition from immigration and are switching to UKIP.

3) The intellectual middle class (the Owenite and Methodist tendency). These switching to Green as they seem so much cleaner than the war-mongering Iraqi adventurers in the Labour Party (they had joined Kennedy's LibDems).

Appealing to either 1s or 2s will alienate 2s or 1s. Not a good plan during the election stage.
So all the candidates have to go hard on the 3s.

Green is the key to the hearts of Geography teachers everywhere.

Jun 9, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

Microband.. Ouch but true.

Jun 9, 2015 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Burnham is ill informed about most things ask the people of Mid Staffs.

Jun 9, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStu


Burnham very deliberately pretended to be ill informed - but iirc memos released / leaked showed he did far more than sit on his hands - he obstructed and lied to cover up the lethal antics of NHS administrators like fatso Nicholson - who got promoted to "NHS CEO". Weren't there moves to prosecute NHS goons at Mid Staffs (manslaughter?) - and wasn't Burnham mentioned as an accessory?

I certainly don't subscribe to the "Common Purpose is responsible for everything bad" - but again ... iirc Burnham has close ties to that outfit?

People died unnecessarily on his watch and he did worse than nothing - and the creepy Scouser should have that on a card hanging around his neck.

Jun 9, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Registered Commentertomo

MCourtney, if Labour spent more time looking at the common interests of the common people, they would do better, than those that can afford the elitism of Common Purpose.

The combined might of a select few union leaders decided the fate of the Miliband brothers, and the last election.

Jun 9, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie, I'm still not convinced of the great Common Purpose conspiracy but I quite agree we should focus on the common interests of the common people.

The problem is that the "common people" are not engaged with politics, are not member of the Labour Party and so don't get a vote in the Labour leadership election.
Well, actually in the Labour Party they do get a vote in the Labour leadership election - but they won't vote and so aren't campaigned for.

Jun 9, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

"...a man of flexible principles" Does he live anywhere near Bray?

Jun 9, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Leave Burnham alone. He'll be fine as the next leader of the Labour party because he has not the faintest chance of ever being PM. His views on fracking are therefore irrelevant as he'll never get to apply them in practice.

Labour are out of office for a decade and whoever 'wins' the leadership contest is committing career suicide. (Hence Umunna, Hunt and (not yet an MP) David Miliband have all distanced themselves)

This is an interim, short-term position until the next GE, whereupon the occasion of the incumbents thrashing shall be followed by their retreat to the back benches followed by elevation to the Lords. By then we may even have seen some shale gas produced!

Jun 9, 2015 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Perhaps this will answer the conundrum about Burnham

Tell me if it doesn't work.

Jun 9, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

MCourtney, the leader of the union that funds the most Labour MP's, gets to call the leader, manifesto and the last election. He has not resigned.

The Conservatives have 'men in dark suits', Labour have 'men in dark donkey jackets'. Both use apathy amongst the majority to force through their minority view, and then blame the majority's apathy when it goes wrong.

It is not surprising that FIFA and the IPCC depend on developing countries, to maintain their control of democracy.

Jun 9, 2015 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It works; it just doesn't mean anything.
I see nothing in that list of links to connect Burnham to Common Purpose unless you're paranoid enough to imagine that saying "we have a common purpose to make our NHS great again" is some sort of coded message.
In which case I think it's about time we started looking on you as some sort of tedious troll.

Jun 9, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

So, Andy Burnham comes out against cheap and reliable energy.
No surprise there then.
With apologies to The Scottish Play:-
Burnham Wood. (sic)

Jun 9, 2015 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby


Jun 9, 2015 at 7:21 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos


Jun 9, 2015 at 7:21 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Cheshired at 4.09 is right. Burnham has no chance of being PM in 2020, the swing required is too great especially after the proposed boundary changes. Unless Cameron stuffs it up completely and Liz Kendall first is chosen and secondly turns out to be a first rate leader - far from certain, we will have Tory Govt until at least 2030.

Burnham is totally irrelevant.

Jun 9, 2015 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Hewitt

I simply do not know if Burnham is a fully paid up CP stooge - what I do know its that he's a mendacious conspiring sh** (OK... he's a politician...) but since we're bandying links try this 81 separate formal requests for an inquiry.... obstruction on an epic scale.

I'd agree that Labour in their present guise are unelectable - but we are still stuck with the rump of quango goons they installed who read the Guardian and network furiously to keep their fat thighs under the high table and the public sector unions who work Labour pols mouths....

Jun 9, 2015 at 8:45 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I have it on good authority that burning unconventional gas produces far more seeohtoo than conventional gas.

Jun 10, 2015 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

Martin Brumby

You could go further, with further apologies, to say that

Burnham would be a dunce and inane

Jun 10, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered Commenteramoorhouse

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