Friday, 16 September 2016

My analysis of by-elections from 15/9/16 and why it was a bad decision to approve Hinkley Point

Readers, the results of this week's local by-elections featuring Green Party candidates were as follows:

Carlisle CC, Castle: Labour 398 (46.5%, -3.3%), Conservative 228 (26.7%, +3.0%), UKIP 107 (12.5%, -1.2%), Liberal Democrats 88 (10.3%, +2.1%), Green 34 (4.0%, -0.8%). All changes are since this May.

East Hertfordshire DC, Puckeridge: Con  179 (42.6%, -24.6%), UKIP 79 (18.9%), Lib Dem 75 (18.0%), Lab 46 (11.0%, -8.9%), Green 38 (9.1%, -3.5%)

Newcastle-upon-Tyne MBC, Blakelaw:  Lab 1004 (43.2%, -20.0%), Lib Dem 654 (28.1%, +19.0%), UKIP 443 (19.1%, +3.0%), Con 119 (5.1%, -2.4%), Green 105 (4.5%, +0.5%)

Shropshire UA, Bishop's Castle: Lib Dem 862 (60.5%, -1.5%), Con 430 (30.2%, -0.5%), Lab 95 (6.7%), Green 37 (2.6%, -4.7%)

I personally find the result of the Puckeridge by-election most disappointing, since my good friend Tabitha had actually worked on her campaign (which I came to help) when other opposing candidates did not. The intervention of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats alone, however, was enough to cause a steep drop in the Conservatives' vote share, and we held up better than Labour did.

Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats have been performing well in local by-elections once again, their only downside being a 1% swing against them in Bishop's Castle in southern Shropshire. Their unexpected gain of Tupton, a small village in North East Derbyshire which contains many old mining communities and whose schools' alumni include Dennis Skinner MP, on a swing of over 35% from a standing start, is a case in point.

On the same day, the controversial and damaging Hinkley Point nuclear plant was finally approved even though it will greatly increase the price of UK electricity, even though it is already clear we need to move away from nuclear energy and towards actual renewable energy, and with evidence that similar power plants in France and Finland are years behind schedule and their construction costs have ended up as much as 60% over budget. Of all people, Lord (Nigel) Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and an infamous climate change denier, has slammed the project as a 'pretty lousy deal', especially given that the French state electricity operator, EDF, will have control over the plant, and we will not. As I have said before, this plant will also be potentially dangerous, like any nuclear power plant, and I know of no coherent plans to safely store that plant's nuclear waste.

Britain can meet its needs without nuclear energy or fossil fuel reliant energy-we just need more backing and better green infrastructure, and better investment in new renewable technological research and designs of renewable energy devices.

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