Ignorance certainly is NOT bliss

Following a vote in the European Parliament this week Euro MPs did not vote to support a moratorium on shale gas development.

Given the “quality of the debate” we have to say that this was perhaps not particularly surprising.

In this clip you can hear two highly paid people (who are on different sides of the argument) “debating” the “fact” that the chemicals used in fracking are “salt, soapy water and citric acid – basically washing up liquid and lemon juice”

It’s evident that neither of them know the difference between citric acid (what you get in sherbet to give it a tang) and hydrochloric acid (what your dog’s stomach uses to dissolve bones), nor are they apparently aware of the other chemicals that might be used. These people are in positions of power and they are, it seems simply ignorant.

If you want to see a combination of ignorance and laziness at work then look no further than Paul Nuttall, who doesn’t bother with facts and simply spouts figures plucked from the air to support his arguments.

According to him shale gas will provide energy for the the UK “for up to 50 years” and provide “tens of thousands of jobs in the North West of England”. He also “knows” from evidence from the USA that “shale gas can reduce energy prices by up to 30%, which would be a welcome break for hard-working people in the UK in a time of recession”. “Finally” he happily tells us “shale gas can provide us with much-needed energy security”. He sums up “So we have more jobs, cheaper energy prices and energy security” . To him it seems obvious that shale gas must form a central part of any of our future energy policies”.

Well Paul, if only any of that were true – if bodies like the CBI and Deutsche bank didn’t all agree that shale gas will not bring down energy prices or give the UK energy security. If even the largest reliable published estimate to date didn’t give an estimated 2 years not 50 years of supply, if even Cuadrilla’s top published scenario didn’t suggest a maximum of 1700 jobs…

Mr Nuttall’s presence in the EU parliament is a testament to the damage inflicted on the political process when dissatisfaction with the policies and performance of the main parties allows the lunatic fringe in as a result of protest votes. If he could back his opinions up with properly researched facts his “argument” might be acceptable, but he simply doesn’t bother (or doesn’t know how to).

As it is, these people are being paid nearly €100,000 a year to pontificate in such blissful ignorance and to make decisions which directly affect our futures. Maybe Mr Nuttall is on a one man mission to prove the money spent on MEP’s salaries is totally wasted, thus becoming the living embodiment of a UKIP policy?

The only sadder fact in this debacle, is that it seems we have to count one particular MEP amongst the opponents of shale gas – Nick Griffin. They say politics makes strange bedfellows, but if this is the case I’ll sleep on the floor thanks.

The only real ray of light here was Arlene McCarthy MEP, quoted here from the Rochdale News

Arlene said: “It is important that we ensure there are robust rules to protect health and the environment before we start fracking. We have already seen it cause a minor earthquake in Lancashire in our region. That is why I voted in support of a moratorium.”

“Sadly my Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP colleagues did not share this view or the view of many residents in Lancashire and voted against a moratorium.”

Arlene added: “Fracking must be banned in sensitive areas, and all fracking should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment. This is the only way that we can guarantee proper public participation in planning decisions made by local authorities.

Any shale gas company which is looking to operate in the EU needs to know that they will have to meet the highest environmental standards.”

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