Dear Orkney News,
Before Alistair Carmichael can join the long-running campaign for fair energy prices for folk in Orkney and Shetland – and indeed all off-gas areas across the Highlands and Islands – I think he needs to apologise to his constituents.
It was the same Mr Carmichael, after all, that used his position as Secretary of State for Scotland in the ConDem Coalition to warn us all against voting for independence. He was a leading voice in that Better Together campaign, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his Tory masters as they told us that independence would add up to £875 on our energy bills.
Well that scaremongering certainly worked. Orkney recorded the highest ‘No’ vote in Scotland and now we’re still part of an increasingly right-wing and insular UK, out of the EU and with escalating inequality. We are ‘led’ by a zombie Tory government, still waiting for a new PM to emerge with an credible solution to a cost-of-living crisis that many now forecast will be measured in human lives.
Despite being a net exporter of clean, green electricity, Orkney and other areas of the Highlands and Islands now face electricity unit costs of 51p from 1st October – 240% higher than in 2019. Meanwhile in the north of Norway, also a significant generator of electricity from renewables, the unit price of electricity is fixed at 3.5p for three years. Norwegian consumers are protected from the wholesale gas price increases in a way that the UK’s broken energy system has failed protect us – instead protecting private energy firms.
Given all this, I would suggest that after issuing his apology our MP should take the ‘bold action’ of signing up for the newly created Scots Lib Dems for Indy group – and maybe pick up a form for Liam McArthur too – and join the campaign to create a fairer more equal Scotland.
We need to build an energy system in an independent Scotland that will make Scotland’s energy work for Scotland’s people, not shareholders.
Robert Leslie, Orkney