Blog: Is Osborne a convenient scapegoat for gas angst?

Everyone knows George Osborne loves a bit of gas – right? He loves the fossil fuel so much that he simply HAD to be the one announcing the gas strategy […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Everyone knows George Osborne loves a bit of gas – right? He loves the fossil fuel so much that he simply HAD to be the one announcing the gas strategy in his Autumn Statement this week. Except, does he really?

It’s almost a given in the press that he can’t get enough of the stuff. But is it actually rather convenient for the Department of Energy & Climate Change that the Chancellor picked up this potentially flammable piece of energy press?

In a bizarre twist, perhaps it’s lucky for Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey to be able to palm off a – whisper it please – fossil fuel policy onto a Coalition scapegoat. I mean, colleague.

Or maybe it’s a classic case of political misdirection? DECC prepares the press announcement, the Treasury publicly announces it, nobody quite knows who to wave their pithy ‘Frack Off’/‘climate change killed the dinosaurs’ placards at.

For those in the energy sector who feel the need to rip into gas as an energy source, Osborne is an incredibly handy bogey man. But as he announced the gas strategy in the Commons, he didn’t seem to get a particular thrill from the word gas. (But perhaps that was because there were a mere four sentences referring to it.)

As you’ll discover if you watch our TV report on the weekend’s anti-shale gas, pro-environment protest (Osborne gets fracked by the masses), the man is apparently responsible for the woes of the entire planet.

He is, quite obviously, not. Criticise the man for his Professor Snape-like lack of charm, his uncanny knack of looking evil in paparazzi snaps or even for apparently blocking the UK’s 2030 decarbonisation target, if you will, but not purely for helping out gas.

Lord knows we can’t rely on a dash for gas but there’s only so much gas-bashing rhetoric you can take. There’s been so much gassing about gas I’m nearly sick of the word.

For me, this tweet from Imeche’s Head of Energy sums it up nicely: “Engineers can build anything; #nuclear, #renewables, #gas, but not a time machine if lights go out; time to start building”.

We can’t criticise one fuel, we need them all.

For the record, the dinosaur placard on the climate change march was one of my favourite – the more eye-catching, the better. Next time let’s make it an owl – for the wisdom of energy efficiency. We could probably do without the George Osborne masks though – they’re just plain creepy.