Eugene F Parte (September 1) asks a pertinent question about the cause of the energy crisis and the current inadequate response. In short, there are different contributing factors at play which can be attributed to globalisation, left-wing activism and government policy.
The interventionist approach of governments to everyday life, particularly in response to Covid-19, is one factor. In choosing to shut down society to mitigate the effects of the virus, many governments in western society paid little attention to the consequences of this policy. As many businesses were forced to close, demand for energy dropped. As economies were opened simultaneously, the subsequent demand for energy outstripped the supply available causing prices to rise, the costs of which have been passed on to consumers. Ergo, everything seems much more expensive than it did two years ago.
A second factor is the dogged pursuit of ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by western governments and climate change activists. Cheap sources of energy – coal, oil, natural gas etc – have been put beyond domestic use as part of the drive towards more ‘sustainable means’. The failings of this policy means energy companies are compelled to purchase supplies, at great expense, from global markets which are quite volatile at present.
Instead of facing up to reality, political parties and activists are revealing their anti-capitalist tendencies by portraying the energy crisis as some grand conspiracy by companies to gouge prices at the expense of human welfare. The truth is the energy companies are acting in line with public policy which is determined by the hugely influential green lobby.
Those who support the net zero approach were supportive of the government’s approach to Covid, choosing to put ideology ahead of pragmatism. The consequences are now plain to see as our economies are ravaged by the inflationary effects of lockdowns, furlough, a profligate monetarist approach and the unaffordable net zero strategy.
Stormont politicians do not emerge from this without criticism. Many of our representatives have little experience working in the commercial world and seem to think that the solution to the energy crisis, like all problems, can be solved by handouts and more state intervention. Only a society which values capitalism, individual liberty and supports an independent energy policy can provide prosperity to its citizens. The alternative to this is playing out before our eyes and is causing hardship for everyone.
People living with cancer face a financial wrecking ball
Many people living with cancer in Northern Ireland are feeling enormous pressure right now with the spiralling cost of living and soaring energy bills. This is on top of the devastating financial burden a cancer diagnosis can bring as a result of extra, and often unexpected costs. Cancer alone can be a financial wrecking ball.
Macmillan services are hearing from people who are anxious about how they are going to financially cope in the months ahead – they are worried about the cost of living – and justly so.
Without a functioning Executive, people living with cancer are being let down. The pandemic continues to affect health and social care; waiting times are an unmitigated failure; and people are already struggling to heat and eat. Northern Ireland is spiralling into an unprecedented crisis with a complete lack of governance.
The news following the chancellor’s visit, that the £400 energy bill discount will be delivered in Northern Ireland, is something of a short-term relief but the lack of urgency around the time frames is distressing and will not reduce the stress and anxiety that people are feeling so sharply.
Strong political leadership, and reassurance for people living with cancer are urgently needed. Above all, an Executive is needed and needed now. People living with cancer need to live, not just survive.
McMillan Cancer, Northern Ireland
Lucid Poll asked wrong question
Throughout history nationalist Ireland has described Michael Collins as a traitor who ‘sold out’ the nationalist people of Northern Ireland, a naive fool who was tricked into signing the Anglo Irish Treaty by the duplicitous British and now on the 100th anniversary of his killing he is claimed by various shades of nationalism as a ‘national hero’.
Missing from any reflection or discussion on Michael Collins and his reasoning for signing the Anglo Irish Treaty which brought the War of Independence to an end is the fact that Michael Collins, without compromising his Irish republican ideals, believed that the pursuit of a 32-County Sovereign Ireland was not worth the inevitable sectarian slaughter of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. In that sense he was a progressive pragmatic republican who would have disavowed the current republican leadership belief that there was no alternative to the sectarian murder campaign which is euphemistically called the ‘Troubles’.
Sinn Féin may take comfort from the recent Lucid Poll which indicated that approximately 70 per cent of nationalist people share Sinn Féin’s claim that there was no alternative to the IRA campaign. But perhaps the poll asked the wrong question, for I believe that had nationalist people been asked do they believe that there was no alternative to the sectarian murder of their Protestant neighbours, friends and work colleagues many of the 70 per cent would disagree with Sinn Fein’s position.
Dungannon, Co Tyrone
Let the young people enjoy themselves
In reply to Colm Long’s letter – ‘Infernal Din’ (August 31). My question to Colm is, did he ever enjoy himself when he was young?
GAA needs to bin present All-Ireland schedule
For the vast majority of GAA followers, the absence of top class inter-county football and hurling on television in the late summer and the autumn is most disappointing. The present All-Ireland football and hurling championship schedule should be binned forthwith.
J ANTHONY GAUGHAN
Blackrock, Co Dublin