Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blair's Nuclear Legacy

Tony Blair's announcement tonight that nuclear power is "back on the agenda with a vengeance" reveals several interesting facets of his leadership.

For an issue of such national importance, he chose to reveal his pro-nuclear position to the employers' club, the CBI. Blair's last major announcement on energy in November 2005 was coincidentally at another CBI shindig. The message to the people is clear. Blair couldn't care less about the opinion of the public when it comes to important issues like energy and the environment, but makes sure that the interests of big business are pandered to.

By pre-empting the conclusions of the energy review, Blair is also saying that consultation is useless in the face of his own personal opinion. The Sustainable Development Commission has worked hard in producing a way forward in solving our energy problems without resorting to nuclear power. Jonathon Porrit must feel somewhat let down. Perhaps by being close to government Porrit felt he would have an opportunity to convey a green influence over government policy. This doesn't seem to be the case.

The drive to change the planning process to speed up the delivery of new nuclear power stations represents a shift of power from local planning authorities to the government. The planning system is already heavily weighted in the favour of developers. So much for David Miliband MP's 'practice of empowerment'.

Recent commentaries over Tony Blair's accession planning have hinted that he wants to leave a lasting legacy. Given that waste from nuclear power stations will be around in a radioactive state for tens of thousands of years, it seems that Blair's Legacy will still be here long after the Pyramids have turned to dust.

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