Well worth the re-telling

This article first appeared in ‘Yours for Scotland’ and should be read by everyone (not only in Scotland) but across the UK.

Power from the Glens, Power for the Glens was a tagline from the 50s and 60s and in essence, it was true.

The state, or a state-owned company or board, built power-generating assets and the power was then sold to the populace at whatever price the politicians thought appropriate. And if the state decided to make an operating surplus or not, it did as it saw fit.

But in the 70s and 80s that all changed. Under the risible guise of people’s privatisations, Thatcher sold off the state-owned assets. Not to the people as was generally purported but to the corporates whose sole interest is corporate profit. And if you saw Sid, as one privatisation ad ran, you were to tell him. 

And look at it now, all of our natural assets sold off and corporate money-making now the only agenda in town, and all wrapped up in corporate trading structures that mask the true wealth being extracted from a hapless populace now struggling to even heat and light their homes—poverty in a land of plenty.

Oh, how how how we should reflect. Our gas and oil were worth nothing. It delivered immense wealth to other countries but not to Scotland. And our hydro. Blessed with lochs, mountains and glens our natural environment was perfect for hydro generation, with additionally, the benefit of pump storage to store huge quantities of baseload power from other sources when demand was low. Cheap electricity one would have thought. After the cost of the dam, the pipework and the turbine construction, it would certainly seem so. But no somehow it isn’t. Well not for the populace of Scotland.

And ditto gas. We were blessed with lots of that. They even piped it out of our waters direct to storage caverns constructed in the North of England. What benefit then from our gas? 

And now wind. Unlike our oil and gas which we were told was worth little, and was due to have run out around ten years ago, the wind is in a different category again. We, or should I say the corporates might be building lots and lots of wind farms, but we should understand that wind energy is really no energy at all. No, we should realise that because the wind doesn’t blow all the time, it’s really in truth no good. And that sadly is the latest myth to be visited on poor poverty-stricken Scotland. All that no good wind power, that will feed the national grid, inter-connectors, and allow power to be shared around, no good, no good at all. Why do they bother? Moreover, in Scotland, wind power, or any other source of power, can even be stored by pumping water up a mountain in times of surplus, to thereafter run it back down the mountain when needed, This of course bringing us back to Power from the Glens but not For the Glens, and why a start is just about ready to be made on the Coire Glas scheme in the Great Glen, and a scheme that will double the ENTIRE UK’s pump storage capacity. And this is only one scheme out of another half a dozen planned Scottish pump storage schemes waiting on the shelves of the corporates to be commenced.

Ah, what value Scotland’s natural resources. None it would seem. Well, not for most of us.Fuel poverty in a land blessed with resources. Gas has gone up because the wholesale price of gas has gone up. Priorly until about a year ago around half, or £500, was apparently the wholesale cost of a household’s heating and lighting bill. Now with the shortage of gas and the huge wholesale price surges, the average household bill predicted at over £4,000 a year by next spring will be composed of around £2,500 of wholesale costs. And so, with Scotland blessed with gas, oil, hydro and wind, who is making money, big money? We must ask Sid if we can find him!

But let us turn away from gas, oil, wind and water. Let us turn to aggregates and the little matter of Glensanda quarry near Oban. Hidden away from view unless you are a sailor, Glensanda is one of Europe’s biggest granite super queries. With coastal access, the quarry has over the last thirty years shipped nearly 300 million tonnes of granite to markets around the world. Texas USA, all over the EU, the channel tunnel, the HS2, it is a big export worth a lot of money. And, according to reports, there are another 760 million tonnes of identified reserves to go. And so, who may you ask owns this super quarry that is literally demolishing a Scottish mountain? Well, not Scotland. 

Seems it was found by an English man some thirty years ago whilst on a sailing holiday. Mr Yeoman was his name, Foster Yeoman was his Company, prior to him selling out to the absolutely huge global Swiss-registered Aggregates Industries. Should we be surprised?

But there you have it, we’re dismantling a Scottish mountain, over a billion tonnes of it in fact. What benefits from it then? It’s a good question. Probably like the oil and the gas and the hydro and the wind, not a lot.

But one last thing, and this is maybe a huge question. Since the commencement of nuclear power generation a permanent site to store high-level radioactive waste for the next hundred thousand years has never been identified. Still hasn’t but Scotland, although they will not say where, has always been a preferred choice. And so, with deep water coastal access, and granite strata, could Glensanda or similar be the plan? It’s a secret, but with all that high-level nuclear waste being temporarily stored waiting for a National ( Scottish or British ) and with England’s new fleet of reactors being built, I certainly would not bet against using a site like Glensanda for multi-millennia nuclear waste storage.

Scotland the land that just keeps giving – away!

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