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« Science says one thing, scientists another | Main | ECC elections »

Does Labour hate the North?

I missed this news a couple of days back, but it's quite an interesting as a demonstration of the results of the Climate Change Act and the duplicity of the political classes:

Yorkshire’s coal mine to close

More than 400 people are expected to lose their jobs due to the closure of the Hatfield Colliery in South Yorkshire.

It is closing 14 months earlier than scheduled.

According to trade union Prospect, 420 “high-skilled” jobs and further jobs in the supply chain will be lost.

The left-wing media are blaming the government of course. Here's the BBC, leading unsurprisingly on the thoughts of Ed Miliband:

Ed Miliband has said the government's failure to provide more funding for a South Yorkshire colliery is "wrong".

Of course Ed Miliband's Climate Change Act must go down as one of the principal reasons for the failure of the mine, alongside the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive, so one can be sickened by his hypocrisy, while noting that the Conservative government's position on the Act and the EU are largely indistinguishable so to hold them at least partly to blame is not unreasonable.

Meanwhile, we can only wonder at the Labour Party's enthusiasm for keeping dying Northern industries alive, while trying to strangle new ones at birth. What has the party got against the North?

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Reader Comments (30)

Whenever Ed Miliband opens his trap about energy I am reminded about his cunning plan / scheme to sell red painted electrons (at a notional discount) direct to Labour Party supporters in order to address "fuel poverty". It's near impossible to parody these people - whatever you dream up - they're one step ahead.

It's a race to the bottom

Jul 3, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Because of shale, the world's awash with cheap coal. That's what hastened Hatfield's demise.

Jul 3, 2015 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I am going to veer ever so slightly,

Hatfield Main, without looking at the figures - a efficiently run pit but even after the carbon floor price and all else [production costings], if the price of Hatfield's coal is more expensive than that say, of the stuff mined in Russia - should the UK taxpayer be asked to subsidize Hatfield's product?

Let us vary the scenario,

I beg, would the domestic consumer be happier in knowingly subsidizing coal production in the UK and with it, coal being burnt to produce steam power for turning turbines and RELIABLY generating base load electricity. Thus,- would it not be preferable to keep Hatfield's miners in jobs, as opposed to buying wind whirlygigs from China and paying Norwegian, Swedish engineers to stick said whirlygigs in British soil/sand and paying rich landowners a very generous annual stipend for the pleasure - at great cost to the domestic consumer................. .

Or, the British government could stand back and stop their meddlesome interference in the energy market and allow the generators - Energy companies free rein to produce electricity. End of Hatfield Main.

I tend to the latter.

Jul 3, 2015 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

No coincidence that this follows the conversion of the nearby Drax power station from coal to wood pellets imported from the U.S. Burning wood pellets is only profitable thanks to the policies that subsidise biomass, created by Milliband and perpetuated by his Lib Dem successors. Great story for David Rose or Christopher Booker to cover.

Jul 3, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterSellers

On the other hand, there is good news and local support for two mining projects: a massive tungsten mine in the edge of the Dartmoor National Park is just opening, likewise a phosphate mine on the edge and under the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Much more profitable than coal.

See here and here

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

To be fair, it's not just Labour. We have a society (duplicated in many countries esp Greece) where people want to win on both sides of an equation. Reduce CO2 but prop up coal mines. Have loads of benefits but pay low tax. Total security but absolute personal freedom. Our political system is such that each side gives the plusses of their own position so the public have evolved to disbelieve them. A good example is the redacted Defra report on fracking. What was left out was assumed anyway and the redacted sections just made people wary. I'm inclined to believe that the sections removed were there to be 'forced' out as the worst case. Had the original report been shown in full the anti frackers would be demanding to know what was left out of the full report.

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I think that was what Dennis Skinner was yelping at Cameron about in the HoC this week. Wondered what he was on about...I mean Cameron

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Ed Miliband - Gone but still spreading misery.

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

They will soon get new jobs in the Northern Powerhouse;>)

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

The south of England never forgave the North for its dominance during the industrial revolution.

The "gentry" of Oxford and Cambridge, never forgave the "uncouth" engineers for being successful and demonstrating that sound engineering and practical know how is far more important than book knowledge.

And so the Oxbridge educated BBC and politicians have perpetuated the idea that engineering, industry, mining and all other things "northern" are "uncouth", outdated, "things of the past", "not the future", "destroying the planet", "causing global warming", "not fit for BBC", "dangerous", and generally that the north and northerners should know their place "below stairs".

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Of course the "labour party" as it is now hates the North, it is not a labour party any longer and has not been so since 1945. A more correct name would be socialist, or marxist but certainly not Labour with which it has no connection whatsoever. Keir Hardy must be spinning in his grave at the clowns using his creation.

Jul 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Energy costs in America have dropped and ours have risen until their industrial energy costs are approximately 30% of ours and everyone knows why - fracking, and despite Obamaesque token efforts to stop it. It'd be cheaper for Europe to import coal and gas from America than prop up any domestic production efforts.

It'd be even cheaper for energy-intensive industry to move out of Europe, and that's what is happening right now.

Redeploy all that mining expertise into fracking. That'd keep the jobs, keep domestic industrial capacity and slash people's power bills.

It all makes too much sense, which I believe ensures it'll never be done.


Jul 3, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Duplicity of the political classes is a modern day problem. Technically ignorant politicians and the media join the scientists on the global warming money go-round.

Jul 3, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

It's quite ironic that as hydraulic fracturing for shale gas/oil is stopped in its infancy, the manual fracturing for coal is also being stopped. But of course, coal fracking has not been stopped because over-worked coal seams might be causing minor earth tremors, or that its working is close to a water table, or that it has the potential to kill many of those who work at the face (and of course, many have), or that its product needs subsidy to sustain it - all things that Hydraulic fracking for gas does not enjoy....It's a mad world.

Jul 3, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

son of mulder:

The Northern powerhouses are all closing.... Ferrybridge, Killingholme...

Jul 3, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

I agree with most of what Mike Haseler writes. Ironically Ruskin played a part in this attitude too. During the sixties northern youth with maths and Physics aptitude would prefer to read engineering at university whilst the southern counterparts would read for science degrees.

Jul 3, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered Commentersrga

On a similar note, have the unions and their friends not noticed that closing Longannet will mean the end of the Great Hunterston Coal Train boondoggle, or have they just been bought off with vast quantities of "green" money from the taxpayer as usual? Could this be why the Waverley route reopening was so apparently unstoppable, was that the quid pro quo?

Jul 3, 2015 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

srga on Jul 3, 2015 at 2:56 PM

Many with a Science degree end up as Engineers, like me :)

We visited an early copper mine in Cornwall a couple of weeks ago:

It is amazing how developed the Engineering was, even in the 1700s, and the trade, including coal from, and copper ore to, South Wales, by sea. In fact, I was told, (by a Mechanical Engineer), that the Engineering was more advanced than the Science, with the materials used not being able to take the punishment that the more advanced Engineering required. Since then, Scientists, including Metallurgists, have made great advances, so that Engineers, presumably from the 'North', can successfully continue their 'trade' :)

We from the 'not very South' wouldn't want it any other way :)

Jul 3, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Many in the Labour party hark back to their working class roots, without any clue what they actually were.

Denis Skinner can be trusted to give his honest opinion. Miliband could not be trusted to find anything further North than Islington.

Jul 3, 2015 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Robert Christopher, 3:42 pm: Thankfully mining and engineering technology preceded their related sciences by at least 100 years, otherwise the Industrial Revolution would not have occurred until well into the Victorian era.

Economics also played a part - it took at least 6 tons of coal to smelt 1 ton of copper, lead or tin ore, so it was more economical to ship the ore to south Wales for smelting.

Plus you could fill the empty ships with enough coal on their return journey to fuel steam-powered pumping and winding mine engines, that were 10 times more efficient than the existing water or horse-powered engines.

Jul 3, 2015 at 8:07 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian on Jul 3, 2015 at 8:07 PM

All that you mention is presented very well at the National Trust's East Pool Mine.

The wealth created by the early Engineering enabled the inquisitive to initiate modern Scientific discovery. They put their leisure time to good use. The early Engineering also allowed a network of contacts, resources and infrastructure to be built up so that advances, in Science and Engineering, accumulated at an ever rapid rate, resulting in an explosion of industrial activity and wealth, the Industrial Revolution.

Jul 3, 2015 at 10:08 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

It's not personal against the North the Labour Party just despises industry and enterprise wherever it exists.

Jul 4, 2015 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

I was in Savannah Georgia yesterday and saw loads of wood being carried through town that didn't look of the building type. Looks the Drax group has loads going on around here and South Carolina and Louisiana. ie

for example.

Jul 4, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Strange that a coal mine needs to close. In Northumberland planning permission for coal mine on the edge of the North Pennine AONB was given last year!

Jul 4, 2015 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill Jefferson

@BJ cos firstly the Northumberland one is a cheap to operate OPEN CAST
and Hadfield is an expensive to operate DEEP PIT - workers cooperative.
- Secondly read how the manager explained “The problem was ...Government ..doubling their very own top-up carbon levy from £9.54 to £18.08 per tonne of CO2 ...result was that the energy companies stockpiled coal in advance of the increase in April destroying the market ".

BTW not only a Miliband connection
- "Hatfield is in the Don Valley constituency? If so where is Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley and Shadow for Energy?"

Jul 4, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

This is an interesting read with many current parallels:

"The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal-Mines" Author: William Stanley Jevons, Edition Used: London: Macmillan and Co., 1866. (Second edition, revised), First Published: 1865.

"The first great requisite of motive power is, that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when and where and in what degree we desire. The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

Before the era of steam-engines; windmills were tried for draining mines; "but though they were powerful machines, they were very irregular, so that in a long tract of calm weather the mines were drowned, and all the workmen thrown idle. From this cause, the contingent expenses of these machines were very great; besides, they were only applicable in open and elevated situations."

"Coal contains light and heat bottled up in the earth, as Stephenson said, for tens of thousands of years, and now again brought forth and made to work for human purposes."

"A FEW pages may be given to considering the policy of imposing duties and restrictions with a view to limit the consumption of our fuel.

The character of a general tax on coal was truly stated by Robert Bald. "It would unnerve the very sinews of our trade, and be a death-blow to our flourishing manufactories. Were our determined enemy set in council, to deliberate upon a plan to wound us in a vital point as a nation, the advising the imposing of this tax would be the most successful he could possibly suggest."

Written in 1865:
"Writers of the last century entertained most gloomy anticipations concerning the growing debt, and they were only wrong in undervaluing the industrial revolution which was then proceeding. But now we run the risk of being too confident, and losing the grand opportunities we enjoy. It is growing wealth that makes a happy and prosperous country, and, no matter what be the absolute wealth of the country at a future time, it is idle to suppose that a popular government with a stationary revenue would ever impose new taxes to pay off an old debt."

Wanna bet!

Note the mention of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, whereas for global warming purposes, it didn't happen until 1850.

Jul 5, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

...we can only wonder at the Labour Party's enthusiasm for keeping dying Northern industries alive, while trying to strangle new ones at birth. What has the party got against the North?...

Nothing to do with the North. It's Socialism.

Your supporters are workers in dying industries - everywhere. Booming industries tend to support capitalist right wing policies which let them make a lot of money. A declining industry lives on handouts, and supports a socialist system of grants.

And, of course, a complex grant bureaucracy means lots of gainful employment for your socialist chums...

Jul 5, 2015 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

It appears that many more jobs are being created in the wind energy sector. 3800 between 2010 and 2013 with many more to come.

Jul 9, 2015 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Eli, jobs 'created?'

'Created' by consumer demand, free market entrepreneurial initiative or by tax payer financed subsidies for the benefit for the friends / supporters / financiers of the politicians in control of access to the publicly financed trough?

We disagree on creationism!

Natural evolution is the way to go!

Jul 10, 2015 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Created, as in created. more people are employed by renewable industries than employed by coal mining. Thatcher saw to that.

Jul 10, 2015 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

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