The Spectator Debate

Why are all the turbines stationary so often … because they are misunderstood said Niall Stuart – Scottish Renewables. Sounds about right!

I was unable to attend but I have this report from the website.

A poll was done on entrance and departure from the event.


                                       For                             Against                                Don’t know

Before                      66 (38%)                        36 (20%)                                  74 (42%)

After                        126 (72%)                       50 (28%)                                   0 (0%)



The debate sponsored by Brewin Dolphin was held in the National Museum of Scotland in a lecture theatre which was packed. As one would expect Andrew Neil was a superb chairman. He allowed the debate to flow freely even alternative the intended order of speakers to let the conversation follow the natural flow.


First on was Andrew Montford. Having seen his presentation as St.Andrews I was expected a rather narrowly focused presentation. Instead he flowed freeely through all the main points. The climate models are not validated, the “science” leads to the one universal answer to life the universe and everything: 43 … as in $43/tonnne of CO2. There was talk of scientists fiddling results, although at the speed he presented I was hard pressed to note it. Why are we doing this when if anything happens it will happen long after all of us here are dead, when our descendants who will be much richer than us will be far more able to pay than the poor of today. It is ignorance and wishful thinking in Holyrood. And the problem of gas backup to cope with with iintermittency probably means that we produce more CO2.

Then came Niall Stuart all assured and cocky “if I am wrong … ” he started “but you are” shouted back a member of the audience. Niall’s whole presentation was a bit like a dog running around sniffing lampposts and peeing on them. “I’m here to present the facts”, he said. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could export wind like we export whisky and electronics. 35% of electricity is from renewables. £750million of investment, Wouldn’t it be nice to get lots of jobs. It’s costly to decommission nuclear. “We are talking about the birth of a new sector”. Hasn’t Struan Stevenson had his quota of red herring?

Struan Stevenson MEP was assured and confident. He had been to the Whitelee wind visitor centre. He had bought “the worlds first mini solar powered windmill”. It had a 3year guarantee, it had not worked. Electric blls before wind were £522, now they they are £1052. Wind power is not clean, not green, not a panacea for climate change. We do not want to reindustrialise Scotland. He didn’t like nuclear but there were benefit. Germany was building 23 coal fired power stations to produce the power for the industry building the windmills they send to us/ Peat bogs which stored huge amounts of carbon were being torn up for wind in what amounted to eco-vandalism.

Prof Stuart Haszeldine. Took the attitude who thought he should be listened to, because he knew the science. He then went on to talk about economics policy, etc. etc. where he has not more right to be listened to than anyone else. But his presentation started well. He was the only one to make use of graphics. The temperature was rising Muller (who he called said had been a sceptic and seen the light) agreed which just proved that it was all happening. Acidity had risen. It all started so well and was even quite good until he mentioned that it was all going to end in serial war “do you really want that?” [Or he may have said “cereal war” – perhaps a reference to food wars]. Strange how I don’t remember serial war being on my science curriculum – but presumably he’s also an expert in that as well. Fossil fuels are all running out. Coal mining [used too] cause[s] lots of deaths.


“I’ve built a greaty golf course and turbines are horrible”.

It wasn’t the most thoughtful or deep presentation, but it certainly got the most laughs. And the serious point was made that wind kills tourism – spoken with passion by someone who knows.

Stephen Bayley

The question had been asked whether Trump was supporting or opposing the proposition as there was more than a little dislike of the way he did business in Scotland. However, Stephen Bayley was also far from being an obvious asset to his side. “Everyone hated the Eiffel tower when it was built and yes wind turbines are horrible but one day people will view them like they view stone henge (high on drugs chanting as they stare at the sun?).

Point from Questions

•We would have to flood all Scotland’s valley with hydro

•Why are receding glaciers showing villages (Andrew then talked about medieval warming, unaware that these were bronze age villages)

•Niall 11GW interconnector needed

•Shale gas – is a disaster because a drilling station is needed every 2km (so far fewer of them than windmills). There’s a 1.2 level earthquake “I bet that’s about what Alex Salmind causes each time he sits down”, replied a nameless MEP.

•Arctic ice – at all time low … Andrew mentioned that Antarctic ice had just been at record high

•Why are all the turbines stationary so often … because they are misunderstood said Niall.

•What about my spy’s who inform me its all going to be sub sea turbines?

•Where are 11,000 jobs

•What about renewable heat?

•We need interconnector to export

•Has the prof read the hockey stick – it’s too thick


It was a thoroughly enjoyable debate. The speakers all did well and none were dull and all had clearly put in effort. It seems churlish to criticise … however, it would have been more interesting if Niall Stuart had been more on form. He sent too much time attacking the other speakers and not enough time developing his own case. It was as if he expected to have the audience on side and was unprepared to work to make his case with the result that Andrew Neil ended up having to ask some questions which might have come up in the debate if Niall had been more on the ball. Prof Haszeldine was lacking in much substance. What he had to say was said in the first few sentences after which it petered out into bland assertions. Andrew Monford I felt tried to pack an awful lot of detail into a very short speech which whilst I liked what he said, I felt much of it may have been missed by someone not familiar with the subject. Struan Stevenson did not have a lot to say but said it well.


Please note. Quotations, etc. are taken from notes and may not match exact wording used.


About Dougal Quixote

Slightly mad. Always believes a cup is half full so continues to tilt at Wind Turbines and the politicians that seem to believe it is their god given right to ruin Scotland for a pot of fool's gold.
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