ONE CANNOT know with what narcotic Boris Johnson is stuffing his hookah but it must be very exotic because it is producing one pipe dream after another.
The latest throwaway trillion-dollar illusion is to have every vehicle on British roads within 10 years powered by electricity. Electric power sweeps off the virtue-signalling tongue, but is actually swathed in misunderstandings. First, it does not emerge free from a bright blue sky.
It has to be generated and that usually means burning something – not perhaps in your car but somewhere else. And that means residual eco-gunge. And it is not even cheap, let alone free.
Yes, the wind is free but entire horizons full of turbines have to be built and they cost an arm and a leg. That is why they generate for the profiteers huge subsidies, which you do not see because they are folded into general taxation. But it will take a generation to amortise what we have built already. And they have to be constantly maintained – further costs.
Finally, the wind does not blow all the time so they need a back-up system – more carbon-burning.The final therm is not free at all, but one of the most expensive energy providers that we know.
There is the sun – also free. But those photo-voltaic black sheets cover the landscape, blacking out fields where food could be grown. And the sun does not shine much in this country – so more traditional back-up systems. More burning.
The two truly free sources are tide-power and geo-thermal but these would need great installation costs. But a shrewd government would divert the £100 billion earmarked for a London-Birmingham rail line that we do not need and within that decade provide electric power generated by the roaring tides that sweep onto the shores of our island twice a day without cease.
Geo-thermal means sinking a borehole to the blazing centre of the Earth and harnessing the resultant free steam to create electric power. Neither have even been tried.
The big problem with electricity remains this – it cannot be stored in large reserve quantities like wood, coal or oil. It must be generated and used in short term.
Yes, there are batteries – heavy, cumbersome and needing rare metals which African children now mine in slave conditions. The problems of electric cars for long distance and quick re-fill are being attempted, but have not been solved by a long shot.
Also unattempted yet is the actual costing of our Prime Minister’s pipe dream.
I have earlier and perhaps frivolously used the term “trillion dollar”. In an age when staggering figures are being bandied about like confetti even a thousand billion must seem crazy – but who knows?
We have just been told that our national debt has now gone well over £2 trillion with masses more to come.
So up there in Downing Street figures seem to have lost all true meaning. After all, they will always eventually be met by that beast of burden – the taxpayer.