Tag Archives: labour

Geogreen Labour to Embrace Nuclear Power

Blair planning revival of nuclear power,” by Roland Gribben, Telegraph, 3 May 2005, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2005/05/03/cnucp03.xml&menuId=242&sSheet=/money/2005/05/03/ixcity.html (from Tim Worstall through macroblog).

After Tony Blair wins reelection, one of his biggest plans is to increase British use of nuclear power

Downing Street policy advisers, with Mr Blair’s blessing, have been taking the lead in encouraging major industrial users, including chemical companies, glassmakers and brickmakers, and investment bankers to start discussions on building atomic plants in anticipation of a post-election change in energy policy.

One senior Government adviser has advanced the case for nuclear power accounting for 35pc of electricity generation, against 23pc currently. It could fall, on present trends, to a projected 4pc in 2020 when all but one of the early plants will have been mothballed.

The reasons given are both geostrategic and green — a perfect marriage of the two movements

While nuclear power hardly figured in the Labour manifesto, Mr Blair, briefly shadow energy secretary before he became party leader, has been signalling his support for a revival of the industry because it offers a ‘clean’ route to help meet targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Blair and his advisers recognise there will be considerable problems in “selling” the rebirth of nuclear power to the public, hence the emphasis on “environmental benefits”. The need for security of supply and “protection” against the rapidly rising cost of energy is also one of the points being made by pro-nuclear advocates.

Britain gets it. China gets it. France — which gets 70% of its energy from atomic energy plants — also gets it. We should too.

Friedman: Vote Labour

Sizzle, Yes, but Beef, Too,” by Thomas Friedman, New York Times, 22 April 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/22/opinion/22friedman.html.

Earlier, I wrote why the British should vote against the Conservative Party. Tom Friedman explains why the British should vote for Blair.

New York Times columnists are not allowed to endorse U.S. presidential candidates. Only the editorial page does that. But in checking the columnist rule book, I couldn’t find any ban on endorsing a candidate for prime minister of Britain. So I’m officially rooting for Tony Blair.

I’ve never met Mr. Blair. But reading the British press, it strikes me that he’s not much loved by Fleet Street. He’s not much loved by the left wing of his own Labor Party either, and he certainly doesn’t have any supporters on the Conservative benches. Yet he seems to be heading for re-election to a third term on May 5.

Indeed, I believe that history will rank Mr. Blair as one of the most important British prime ministers ever – both for what he has accomplished at home and for what he has dared to do abroad. There is much the U.S. Democratic Party could learn from Mr. Blair.

  • Because of Blair’s political bravery in supporting the Iraq War

In deciding to throw in Britain’s lot with President Bush on the Iraq war, Mr. Blair not only defied the overwhelming antiwar sentiment of his own party, but public opinion in Britain generally. “Blair risked complete self-immolation on a principle,” noted Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a pro-Democratic U.S. think tank.

Remember, in the darkest hours of the Iraq drama, when things were looking disastrous (and there have been many such hours), Mr. Bush could always count on the embrace of his own party and the U.S. conservative media machine and think tanks.

Tony Blair, by contrast, dined alone. He had no real support group to fall back on. I’m not even sure his wife supported him on the Iraq war. (I know the feeling!) Nevertheless, Mr. Blair took a principled position to depose Saddam and keep Britain tightly aligned with America. He did so, among other reasons, because he believed that the advance of freedom and the defeat of fascism – whether Islamo-fascism or Nazi fascism – were quintessential and indispensable “liberal” foreign policy goals.

  • Because of Blair’s expansion of globalization

The other very real thing Mr. Blair has done is to get the Labor Party in Britain to firmly embrace the free market and globalization – sometimes kicking and screaming. He has reconfigured Labor politics around a set of policies designed to get the most out of globalization and privatization for British workers, while cushioning the harshest side effects, rather than trying to hold onto bankrupt Socialist ideas or wallowing in the knee-jerk antiglobalism of the reactionary left.

  • Because of Blair’s conservative fiscal policies

And these improvements, which still have a way to go, have all been accomplished so far with few tax increases. The vibrant British economy and welfare-to-work programs have, in turn, resulted in the lowest unemployment in Britain in 30 years. This has led to higher tax receipts and helped the government pay down its national debt. This, in turn, has saved money on both interest and welfare benefits – money that has been plowed back into services, The Financial Times explained.

  • Because Blair will be a good lesson for the American Tory Democrat Party

Along the way, he has deftly eviscerated the Conservatives, leaving them with only their most fringe policies – another reason American Democrats could learn a lot from him. Their own ambivalence toward globalization and the new New Deal our country needs to make more Americans educated and employable in a world without walls, and their own ambivalence toward muscular diplomacy, cost Democrats just enough votes in the American center to allow a mistake-prone Bush team to squeak by in 2004. So if Mr. Blair does win in the U.K., I sure hope that Democrats in the U.S. are taking notes.

As Tom Friedman says, vote Labour.