Monday, July 03, 2006

Taxpayers Ripped Off Again - Smith Would Never Have Approved

“Biofuel folly based on ideology rather than solid evidence” by John Stewart in The Scotsman, 3 July:

FIRST it was "economically viable" then it was "sustainable", which gave way to "renewable" and now the latest fashionable buzz word is "bio". Soon every driver of a four-litre Chelsea tractor with two bags of pony nuts in the back by way of justification will salve his or her conscience by filling it up with bio fuel. Mind you, by 2010 when EU Directive 2003/30/EC comes into force, they won't have the choice - by law all fuel will have to have a 5.75 per cent bio content .

Joining the Renewables Obligation Order as yet another suspension of the free market in energy, this legislation underlies the current interest in bio fuels that has got NFU Scotland all excited. True disciples of Adam Smith, nothing gets the union going quite so much as the prospect of a captive market for one of its products.”

What a lovely example of the correct use of irony using Adam Smith’s name to expose, if not ridicule, the National Farmers Union’s cynical support for an expensive, subsidised and eventually most expensive way of using a popular notion of the need for ecology in energy policy to line the pockets of its members.

‘True disciples of Adam Smith’ – brilliant. The NFU is a PR outfit, sometimes called a ‘union’, that manages to portray farmers as the hard-driven poor, when in fact they are the most tax payer subsidised group in the UK (and in the EU). Their lobbying is so effective they are draining the public Treasury and managing to impoverish really poor peasant farmers (no 4-wheel SUV 'tanks' for them) in the developing countries.

John Stewart captures the NFU’s pretensions perfectly. Read his article and feel his measured anger (mine is off the Richter scale). Adam Smith would not approve of this latest wheeze. He had no illusions about landowners, who ‘love to reap where they never sowed’ (Wealth of Nations, WN p 67). And reap they do; far more from the lobbying of the NFU (and their equivalents in other member states of the EU) than they ever get by actually farming, though they don’t do too badly there, either.


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