the Disillusioned kid: Me And The Secretary Of Sate For Wales
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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Me And The Secretary Of Sate For Wales

It's fairly unusual for me to find myself agreeing with lickspittle New Labour ministers like Peter Hain, but according to today's Guardian he has actually had a good idea! He has proposed
that we should change building regulations so that by law every new house and development in Britain should have photovoltaic electricity production and solar panels for water heating. I know that Patricia Hewitt [the trade and industry secretary] is keen on this, and we are talking to Gordon Brown and cabinet colleagues.
The report suggest that his reasons for making this proposal are based on concerns that "the Germans have stolen a march on us in a big way" in the development of solar power. It is not difficult to think of better reasons, most obviously the threat from climate change which a recent Pentagon report warned was a greater danger to US national security than terrorism. The threat to the UK and the entire world is no less serious.

For regular readers shocked by the sudden outbreak of optimism, don't worry there is, as ever, a downside. Jeremy Leggett, chief executive of Solar Century who designs solar energy systems noted, "This is an industry that needs support to get liftoff. We thought when the energy white paper was published two years ago that we would get it, but so far there has been a yawning chasm between their rhetoric and what they actually do." There is a very real chance that this chasm may not be bridged and Hain's comments will be filed away and forgotten. I hope this is not the case, but only time will tell.

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