Time: the future. Place: Britain

A clear starry moonless sky looked down upon a frozen Britain . A deep depression had passed through and deposited unprecedented quantities of snow on town and country. Snow ploughs and gritting vehicles had cleared a way through on the major routes, but footpaths and side roads were still not negotiable. A stationary high had now settled across the country and in the windless air the temperature was plunging steadily, already below -10C. On the hills giant wind turbines stood motionless in the still air. They were giant impotent icons of a failed religion and stark monuments to onerous and now pointless taxation over many years. In the gloom they seemed to point accusing fingers up into the sky.

At the control centre of the national Power Grid there was a nervous quiet, punctuated by short bouts of hushed conversation. They knew the crisis would occur in an hour’s time, at about 7 am. They had already made the dreadful decision as to which towns would be made to experience suffering and death by being deprived of power. This was a different world from the last time there were serious power cuts in 1970. It was now totally dependent on computer and related technologies. Owing to decisions made (or, to be more accurate, not made) in the first years of the century, the nation was grossly underpowered for such a circumstance. The domestic demand was already high, as almost everyone had left the heating on over night.

Some people had managed to get through to places of work. Cleaners turned on the lights and the great machines of industry began to hum. The power consumption crept up towards the critical point.

As it happened, pure accident relieved the men of the Grid of the responsibility of decision. In a remote rural area a giant high voltage transformer had not received its scheduled maintenance, as an indirect effect of the pressure on energy prices. Although worldwide energy was cheap and plentiful, ever-increasing green taxes, coupled with political instability, had made it otherwise. In that transformer, now working at full load, partial electrical discharges were producing solid debris and potentially explosive gases from the increasingly contaminated insulation oil. Suddenly, a bridge of conducting particles formed and a spark occurred. Into the arc poured the power supply for a whole area. The explosion was spectacular, showering the surrounding area with molten metal and blazing oil.

The adjacent area, also working at full load, experienced a surge and the automatic circuit breakers dropped out. So the dominoes began to fall across the country. By chance, an astronaut in the Spacelab was looking at a Europe whose shape was beautifully picked out by the street lights, when a black stain appeared in the middle of Britain. It spread rapidly and the entire island seemed to disappear off the face of the earth.

The first to die were among the elderly and infirm. As temperatures plunged they did not know what to do and gradually sank into a hypothermal coma. Next were younger people with disabilities such as breathing difficulties. People with gas and oil central heating suddenly had the realisation forced on them that, without electricity, their control systems did not work. Virtually untouched were people in remote rural areas, who had wood and coal burning stoves and plentiful supplies in store. Many people turned on their gas ovens and rings to try to obtain some life-giving warmth, but in consequence of the demand the gas pressure went down steadily and the distributors began to cut off supplies.

Water froze in the pipes and most households were without drinking water or sewerage. The trappings of modern civilisation, which only hours before had been taken for granted, now seemed as illusory as a mirage in the desert.

Some brave souls went out to seek supplies from the shops, but the shops had not opened. Without electricity the tills did not work and even the few who had staff who could perform mental arithmetic could not maintain accounts and stock control. Looting spread, as normally law abiding people saw the lives of their families under threat. The men at the Grid desperately tried to restore power area by area, but the consequent instant increase in demand foiled their efforts.

In hospitals emergency power generators switched in to protect those in intensive care, but some failed due to poor maintenance and the patients died. Emergency services were hopelessly overloaded and telephone networks began to break down. As local doctors’ surgeries began to open they found that they could not access patient records, which were all on computer. Seasonal flu again became a fatal disease as patients in high fever could not be kept warm.

So death and disease marched across the land. The economy collapsed and anarchy reigned. And it was all due to a Government White Paper in 2003 entitled "Our energy future – creating a low carbon economy".


I think that the above piece of writing is quite brillant and completely persuasive. It is certainly factually well-founded and it makes me glad that I live in sub-tropical Queensland where the winters are bright and sunny and utterly benign. The post is the work of Prof. John Brignell, in England. I am now however going to embarrass Prof. Brignell enormously (embarrassment is the English national emotion) by mentioning that he is a man in his latter years and not in good health. And, needless to say, his health needs are not well met by Britain's "National Health Service". Without being asked, I have therefore sent Prof. Brignell quite a lot of money to ensure that he can get privately what the "National Health" will not provide. And he has told me that what I have sent made a big difference. I see it as a priority to keep him alive and knowing the charitable instincts of conservative Americans, I have some confidence that some readers of this will share my view. Click here to email him.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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