Shades of old Big ’Ead

GEORGE OSBORNE’S dismissive attitude toward his Lib Dem colleagues reminds me of how Brian Clough dealt with players who got too big for their boots.

In a typically frank exchange after being asked how he reacted when someone dared to say: “Boss, you’re doing it wrong,” the Middlesbrough-born manager replied: “Well, I ask him how he thinks it ought to be done. And then we get down to it, and we talk about it for 20 minutes, and then we decide that I was right.”

After listening to the arguments in favour of low carbon sources such as wind, solar and biomass, Mr Osborne will today pledge his support for gas to become the UK’s dominant energy source by 2030.

He has finally revealed his true colours and none of them are green.

How does backing a fossil fuel sit with David Cameron’s bold claim, made shortly after becoming Prime Minister, that he would lead the greenest government in history?

Answer – it doesn’t. It was merely a nice soundbite that sought to make a slashand- burn government sound like they were progressive and forward-looking.

Energy Minister Ed Davey will be feeling like one of Cloughie’s chastised charges this afternoon when Mr Osborne tramples over the Lib Dems’ green agenda.

“The Chancellor’s reckless dash for gas will send the nation speeding in the wrong direction,” said Friends of the Earth director Andy Atkins. “A strong economy and protecting the environment should go hand-in-hand, but the Chancellor’s shortterm agenda threatens to wreck them both.

It’s time to take the nation’s foot off the gas and fast track investment in clean energy.”

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said “On UK energy policy there are two jockeys on the horse which can only lead to one outcome – more confusion.

It is madness to burn more gas to produce electricity when wholesale prices are on an upward trajectory. Gas prices could go up 30 per cent in the next few years – probably five years or so. Burning gas for electricity will only force up prices further.”

Careful lads, carry on in that vein and you’ll be called in to the gaffer’s office for a chat.

THE Autumn Statement may be badly named – no one can deny that we are well and truly in the grip of winter – but it has become an increasingly important date on the economic calendar.

At the mid-point of the Coalition’s term in office, today’s announcement is one of the last chances for George Osborne to tackle unemployment and feeble growth.

For unparalleled coverage of the Autumn Statement join The Northern Echo’s live news blog. This morning, people from across the region will be blogging their messages to the Chancellor – please note that only short, insightful and clean comments will be used.

At 12.30pm when Mr Osborne addresses the Commons, we will hand over to experts at PricewaterhouseCoopers, who will give a running commentary of the key announcements. The live blog will continue throughout the afternoon with all of the reaction.

If you want to join the debate, email your comment to us at echo.business@ne.co.uk or call 01325-505097.

We are particularly keen to hear from jobseekers and families about what you’d like the Chancellor to do. Follow the blog at thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/10087038.

Live_News__December_5__2012/ Follow me on Twitter @echobiz

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