New Labour announced this week that it will decide on whether to press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power plants by the end of the year.
Britain’s ageing nuclear power stations will have to be closed down soon. This has led the nuclear industry to start lobbying for a massive injection of public money to fund a new generation of power stations.
But nuclear power is still unsafe. An internal report written by a manager at the Sellafield nuclear waste reprocessing plant was leaked this week. It highlights a range of dangerous bad practices — one section is headed “Homer Simpson works at Sellafield”.
The nuclear lobby is keen to resurrect its “clean power” myth — with the new spin that nuclear power will help cut the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming.
Nobody should fall for this argument. If the government was really interested in cutting carbon dioxide emissions, it would fund energy efficiency projects and develop renewable sources such as wind and solar power. This would do far more to cut emissions than an expensive and potentially lethal investment in nuclear power.
We should reject the siren calls of the new nuclear lobby — and call for real action on climate change at the 3 December demonstration.
Bribing big business to take over education
The government is getting desperate over its plans for privately sponsored academy schools. So ministers have unveiled a cut-price offer to attract businessmen into grabbing control of our children’s education.
Normally a company has to put up £2 million to sponsor an academy (the government provides the other £20 million). But even this tasty deal is not enough to ensure that Tony Blair hits his target of 200 academies by 2010. So now if you are prepared to sponsor four academies, you get one at a bargain price of £1.5 million — and even better rates are in the pipeline.
Academies carve up local education and hand power to businesses. That is why they have faced opposition from parents, teachers and school students. This has begun to worry sponsors — but instead of backing off from the policy, Labour is resorting to bribing firms.
The new iron curtain descends on Europe
How desperate would you have to be to climb over a razor wire barrier consisting of parallel three metre fences with police patrolling between them — and armed men on both sides of the barrier ready to shoot you down?
Last week at least five Africans died and over 100 were injured as they tried to get over the fences that separate Morocco from the Spanish colonial possessions of Ceuta and Melilla. Men who dreamed only of eventually getting a job in Spain hurled themselves at the wire, heedless of terrible injuries and the risk of death.
Before 1989, when people tried to cross the Berlin Wall into western Europe, they were hailed as heroes with a thirst of freedom. Now another iron curtain has descended around Europe — one designed to repel the poor, and to kill them if they will not go away.