The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Saturday, October 15, 2005
After the DTI
by Peter

This article from the BBC brings back memories of the 1980s. Before becoming Chancellor, Nigel Lawson was Energy Secretary. Famously he offered the quote that "The energy policy of this government is not to have an energy policy". A short time later the Department of Energy was folded into the DTI.

Lawson was being economical with the truth (remember the miners? remember Sizewell B? the privatizations?). In practice the Tories spent a lot of time thinking about energy, and reduced energy costs in the UK down to the level of most other EU Member States. This is one of the reasons that the economy has done better over the last decade and a half.

Nowadays few policies are more important than energy (and Lawson has re-emerged as one of the forces behind the House of Lords report on the likely impact of climate change . discussed here). Once we have abolished the DTI, we will need to rescue a Department for Energy from the wreckage. It is going to face a difficult task. We will want to reduce energy use and promote renewable sources. But we will wish to avoid damaging the economy.

Fighting climate change is, perhaps, the ultimate public good. We won´t be able to fight that fight through altrusm alone, not even our own.
posted by Apollo Project @ 9:45 am  
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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.

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