Madness comes in many different forms. Yet most of them involve losing touch with reality to some extent.
The distance between reality and the patient’s perception of it determines the severity of the condition. If that’s the case, then our PM is, to use a technical term, bonkers.
Mostly through no fault of his own, he presides over an economy suffering its worst contraction since the early days in the reign of George I. The government is trying to spend and tax its way out of trouble, which ill-advised strategy has already produced the most profligate increase in public spending ever seen in peacetime.
These are the kind of dangerous times that don’t really call for desperate measures. Rather than maniacally throwing good money after bad, we should grit our teeth and tighten our belts for a couple of years. Then, when the economy is back on track, we might be in a position to contemplate ambitious programmes requiring vast investment.
If one is permitted an analogy, when a man has suffered a heart attack he must recuperate slowly. After being bed-ridden for some time, he can start moving around the house, then go out on short walks, gradually increasing their length. Only having recovered much of his strength, may he then ease into more strenuous exercise.
However, Johnson’s plans are tantamount to ordering a coronary victim to get up and run a marathon – which is certain to be a shortcut to the morgue.
Of the two schemes he has announced, one, what he calls the Green Industrial Revolution, would be cloud-cuckoo land under any circumstances. The other, a £16 billion increase in defence spending, mostly to beef up the Royal Navy, is a right idea put forth at a wrong time.
The first one should go by the codename Operation Carrie On, doubtless reflecting as it does the woke passions of Johnson’s masterful mistress. It’s estimated to cost some £12.5 billion, but everyone knows this is only a point of departure – for the Moon.
I’ll spare you the tedium of going over Johnson’s 10-point programme item by item. Enough scientists and engineers have done so already, debunking this nonsense with more authority than I can bring to bear.
What caught my eye is Johnson’s promise to use nuclear energy as a vital supplement to those Quixotic windmills. That, he promises, will create 250,000 new jobs or thereabouts.
Since the parallel plan is to destroy the oil industry, it’s useful to remember that at present it employs 285,000 people in the UK. The nuclear industry, on the other hand, is only served by some 60,000 employees.
The unsavoury pie in the sky being half-baked by Operation Carrie On must have as a key ingredient a massive shift of jobs from oil to nuclear. This, although the government stopped short of committing to the construction of any new nuclear plants, including those that have been mooted for a decade.
I’ve always advocated nuclear energy as being by far the safest of those really able to satisfy most of our needs, and least dependent on natural resources. The world’s reserves of uranium are for all practical purposes unlimited, which is more than one can say for hydrocarbons. And uranium is always there, displaying none of the fickleness of the wind or the sun.
Now, if I know that, European governments and their advisors know it infinitely better. And yet the two great European economies, Germany and France, are shutting down all their nuclear plants.
That’s going to hurt France especially, considering that 85 per cent of her energy comes from nuclear facilities. It’ll also hurt us by ricochet since we get six per cent of our energy from France, not that the French fret too much about this side effect.
So why are they committing this act of economic suicide, or at least self-harm? Simple. Because exactly the same people who use warm weather as a weapon in a sustained attack on the West and its capitalism are programmed to destroy the nuclear industry – specifically because it provides a viable alternative to hydrocarbons.
Any attempt to increase its size on the Continent or in Britain will instantly lead to outbursts of civil unrest expertly whipped up by the CND and other subversive organisations that came to life as Soviet fronts. Strident campaigns ignorantly equating nuclear energy with nuclear weapons will paralyse not only the industry, but also much of the country.
Since most Labour leaders have CND experience on their CVs, they know how to sow mayhem, especially when a Tory government is in power. So Johnson can forget about relying on nuclear energy – the anti-Western ghouls won’t allow it.
As to getting rid of all internal combustion cars in the next 10 years, this promise shows that Johnson’s mental disorder is progressing nicely. He seems to think that covering the country with cadmium, lithium and discarded batteries will improve its ecology, while plugging millions of cars into an already creaking grid will solve our energy problems.
By contrast, his intention to boost the defence is both worthy and long overdue. After all, the issue of the Royal Navy ruling the waves was settled on 21 October, 1805. However, in recent years the French navy has pulled ahead, making Horatio Nelson totter on the top of that column.
That said, embarking on such a programme at this time is crazy, especially considering that the budget of £16 billion will have to be exceeded at least threefold, if the experience of all large-scale government undertakings is anything to go by.
Concerned as I am about Johnson’s well-being, I think he should take some time (like the rest of his life) off the rough-and-tumble of political life and go back to writing his column, this time about the green utopia. From what one hears, The Guardian has a vacancy.