More children taken to emergency rooms as availability of GP care declines
The proportion of children being taken to A&E with common illnesses has increased by 42 per cent over the past decade as care provided by GPs has declined, new research suggests.
Although the number of young people rushed to hospital has remained the same, far more are being treated for simple medical problems such as fevers, coughs and vomiting.
An academic paper claims that the emergency ward is now the “default option” for parents worried about their children’s health. It says the rise could be down to a “reduction in out-of-hours service provided by the patient’s usual family doctor”, as well as operators on NHS Direct phone lines telling callers to go to A&E. Many GPs opted out of providing evening and weekend care in 2004, forcing health trusts to rely on private firms to provide cover.
The findings were echoed by John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, who said: “Parents have found in the last few years that accessing primary care is more difficult than previously. “There’s a desperate need for better access in hours but particularly at weekends and evenings. “Out-of-hours care is extremely variable in terms of promptness of response and the level of reassurance given to patients.”
In the paper, published in the Emergency Medicine Journal, researchers from Nottingham Children’s Hospital and the University of Nottingham Medical School analysed 39,394 records for children aged 15 and under attending Queen’s Medical Centre A&E in 2007-08.
Comparing the results with those recorded a decade earlier, they found that more than a third (14,724) of the recent set had medical problems – as distinct from trauma or surgical ones. This represented “an overall increase of 42 per cent” on the 1997-98 figures.
Two-thirds of the children were under five years old, and most were found to have breathing difficulties, fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, a rash, cough or abdominal pain.
The authors say the increase may reflect better awareness of serious health problems such as meningitis among parents, but could also be down to the fact that they are more likely to seek urgent care rather than try to reach their GP.
“This may be a consequence of organisational changes with the NHS including NHS Direct, the GP contract and reduction in out-of-hours service provided by the patient’s usual family doctor, and the development of walk-in centres.”
They say their data support the claim made by Sir Ian Kennedy in a recent report that “A&E has become the default option for the treatment of children and young people”.
£25 milion cost of ‘bribing’ foreign criminals to go home
Half of foreign prisoners kicked out of the country are now “bribed” to go home costing the taxpayer millions of pounds, The Telegraph can disclose.
Almost 7,000 criminals have been removed from Britain in the past 16 months, but 47 per cent went only after taking advantage of a voluntary return programme which offers up to £1,500 in cash, a leaked document revealed. It also shows the trend is growing – just one in three prisoners deported in 2009 left under the voluntary programme.
The numbers mean that since the scheme began in 2006 the taxpayer has spent between £20 million and £25 million on persuading criminals who have no right to remain in the UK to go home.
The Coalition faced criticism last year after it emerged that it had trebled the value of the cash incentive to clear Britain’s jails and detention centres of foreign offenders. Those who agree to go before they have even finished their sentence receive the largest payouts.
The incentives, first offered by the Labour government to avoid drawn-out deportation battles, were criticised by the Tories when in opposition.
Figures for last year have not been officially published but a UK Border Agency document meant for internal distribution shows that between January last year and last month, 6,989 foreign criminals were deported. Of these, 3,338 went under the repatriation scheme at a cost of between £7 million and £12 million.
In October last year, the Coalition reduced the value of the package to between £500 and £1,500 but made it all available in cash for the first time.
Earlier in the year the package was worth between £3,000 and £5,000 but only £500 of that was available in cash.
Between 2006 and 2009 some 3,860 offenders took advantage of the scheme at a cost of around £12 million.
One immigration source said the packages were “essentially bribes”, adding: “If we could offer UK criminals such fantastic sums for their retraining, resettlement and housing, reoffending would drop massively.” Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said: “There is a case for encouraging returns but when it becomes quite so popular one wonders if it has gone a little too far.”
In opposition, Dominic Grieve, who is now the Attorney General, called the scheme “simply outrageous”.
Damian Green, who is now the Immigration Minister, said in opposition that Labour had abandoned any attempt at removing foreign criminals and was instead “paying them to leave”. Now, he says the scheme is “practical” and will save money. The Home Office last night said it refused to comment on leaked documents.
Muslim gang launched horrific attack on religious studies teacher they did not want teaching girls
A gang of four Muslim men launched a horrific attack on an RE teacher because they did not approve of him teaching religious studies to Muslim girls, a court heard yesterday.
Gary Smith, 28, was left with facial scarring, both long and short-term memory loss, and now has no sense of smell. He became depressed after his face was slashed and he suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull and broken jaw following the attack.
The men were said to have attempted the assault several times, ‘lying in wait’ for Mr Smith before successfully am-bushing him on his way to work on July 12 last year.
The gang was recorded planning the attack by detectives who had bugged defendant Akmol Hussain’s car over an unrelated matter. They were taped saying they wanted to hit or kill the teacher just because he was the head of religious studies at the Central Foundation School for Girls in Bow, East London. In one recording Hussain said: ‘He’s mocking Islam and he’s putting doubts in people’s minds …. How can somebody take a job to teach Islam when they’re not even a Muslim themselves?’
Armed with an iron rod and brick, they punched, kicked and attacked Mr Smith, leaving him unconscious covered in blood on the pavement in Burdett Road, Tower Hamlets, East London.
Mr Smith was taken to hospital after he was found by two passers-by, and only regained consciousness two days later.
The gang, made up of Simon Alam, 19, Azad Hussein, 27, of Bethnal Green, Sheikh Rashid, 27, of Shadwell and Akmol Hussain, 26, of Wapping, fled the scene in a car and went on to boast about their role in the assault. Alam said he hit Mr Smith over the head with a metal bar saying: ‘I turned and hit him on his face with the rod and he went flying and fell on his stomach.’
Sarah Whitehouse, prosecuting at Snaresbrook Crown Court, said: ‘He was subjected to a violent attack while he was on his way to work. ‘His injuries included bleeding in the brain and a broken upper jaw. He has been left with permanent scarring to his face. The attack was pre-meditated and was vicious and sustained. ‘It was also a cowardly attack, carried out by a group of at least four men, using weapons, on the single victim who would have had limited opportunity to defend himself.’
The teacher had been at the school for eight years teaching faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Hinduism. ‘It was a cowardly attack, carried out by a group of at least four men, using weapons, on the single victim who would have had limited opportunity to defend himself’
Ms Whitehouse added: ‘He was targeted as the victim of this attack quite simply because of his position as head of religious studies at the school. ‘The defendants held strong religious beliefs and they chose him because they did not approve of his teaching.’
Hussain’s car had been bugged on an ‘unrelated matter’ and it was during that surveillance operation that some of the gang members were recorded discussing the attack. He spoke about a pupil at the school, calling her teacher a dog – an offensive name in Islam. He is then heard saying ‘this is the dog we want to’ and then a word is said in Sylheti – a language from Bangladesh – that means to hit, strike or kill.
Two other attempts, on on July 8 and one on July 9 last year failed when Mr Smith did not take his usual route to work.
Akmol Hussain, 26, of Wapping, Azad Hussein, 27, of Bethnal Green, Sheikh Rashid, 27, of Shadwell and Simon Alam, 19, of Whitechapel, all in East London, admitted GBH with intent. A fifth defendant, Badruzzuha Uddin, 24, also of Shadwell, admitted assisting the thugs by hiding blood-stained clothing.
Now British Elf ‘n Safety zealots warn: Beware low-flying GEESE
A keep-fit class in a local park is not an activity most would consider fraught with danger.
While participants may occasionally suffer minor injuries such as a muscle strain or a twisted ankle, health and safety zealots have identified a previously undiscovered danger – low-flying geese.
A fitness instructor was warned of the airborne peril after being approached to run exercise classes for office workers in a leafy part of West London. Before being allowed to organise the workout sessions, the instructor was asked to provide a list of potential hazards at Chiswick Business Park, which has attractive landscaped gardens centred around a lake.
After struggling to think of any dangers posed at the location, the woman received a form from the park’s own health and safety team highlighting the supposed risk of injuries caused by a ‘collision’ with wildlife. The form stated: ‘Instructors are instructed to stay clear of wildlife (eg low-flying geese)’.
One of the keep-fit participants said they were most surprised when told about the potential risk to their health. ‘When I heard about it, I thought it must be a joke,’ said a class member, who asked not to be identified. To be spending time deliberating whether a group of adults running on the spot are in serious danger from airborne geese does seem to be taking health and safety just a little too far.’
The assessment form also warned of the dangers of trees, lampposts and benches. Instructors were told to ‘avoid trees with low-hanging branches’ and to keep clear of such areas completely ‘during low light conditions’.
They were also urged to ‘brief clients’ on the safe use of ‘park furniture’ and to ‘avoid all water features, or if moving past, to slow down and inform clients to avoid the water feature’.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said it did not have any records of anyone attending hospital accident and emergency departments as a result of injuries caused by low-flying geese. A spokesman said that accidents involving ducks or geese tended to occur when people tripped or slipped over while feeding them. However, she said that several thousands of people were injured every year after bumping into a tree or branch.
RoSPA occupational safety adviser Roger Bibbings criticised risk assessments that focused on trivial rather than real safety issues because they undermined the whole system.
Mr Bibbings said: ‘Part of the problem is that risk assessments can turn into a tick-box exercise in which ¬people include every conceivable risk and every conceivable hazard they can imagine. It doesn’t help anybody. When you get people going over the top on health and safety, it brings the whole system into disrepute.
A spokeswoman for Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, which runs the private park for about a dozen businesses, said all event operators had to provide ‘relevant’ risk assessments. She said that firms normally drew up their own assessments based on an inspection. But she confirmed that Enjoy-Work had itself drawn up the assessment referring to low-flying geese for one instructor because she was struggling to complete a form.
The spokeswoman said that the company had included a number of potential hazards that other operators running similar fitness classes had mentioned. She added: ‘I think it is a case that this issue was raised, it was of concern, and we like to look after the wildlife here and make sure it is safe. We do have a large lake on the site which is home to a lot of wildlife including ducks, swans, herons and geese.’
Apart from fitness sessions, events held for the park’s 5,000 employees include fireworks displays and barbecues.
Scottish schoolgirl wins right to use her iPod in exams as she can’t concentrate unless she’s listening to music
A schoolgirl has won the right to use an iPod while sitting her exams – after claiming she can only concentrate while listening to her favourite music. The girl won the unprecedented concession after threatening legal action against her school and examination authorities.
The Mary Erskine School for girls in Edinburgh, where boarders pay nearly £18,000 a year, has been forced to buy a new iPod that is loaded with the girl’s choice of music by a teacher – to ensure no exam answers are hidden among the tracks.
Staff had initially refused the request, fearing it would open the door to the possibility of cheating. The girl’s parents then took her case to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) examination board, which also ruled it out.
However, it was forced to back down after reportedly being threatened with legal action under the Equalities Act because the girl, a year six pupil, (equivalent to year 13 in England) often struggles to pay attention in class.
SQA bosses have allowed the pupil, who is in the middle of her Higher exams, to listen to the iPod as long as it can be ‘proved not to contain any prompts’.
School staff are understood to be unhappy with the decision but were forced to comply as the SQA is the governing body for Higher examinations.
The pupil has to sit in a separate area to prevent the noise from her headphones distracting other students.
The move has been allowed under what the SQA calls ‘special arrangements’. Now, SQA chiefs are bracing themselves for a flood of similar claims. Exam invigilators are also furious because loading the iPod has added to their workload.
They fear traditional exam invigilation will be severely disrupted because hundreds of other pupils’ iPods may have to be checked.
One insider said: ‘Everyone is very angry that this has been allowed to happen. The implications are massive. Once this girl has been allowed to do this, there’s nothing stopping all pupils bringing in their iPods.
‘The amount of manpower it will take to put music on every student’s iPod and check they don’t contain study notes will be overwhelming. ‘It will also present quite a logistical challenge to ensure those who do not have them are not interrupted by the noise.’
Nick Seaton, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘I would have thought the whole idea of using an iPod, or any other portable music device, in an exam would be ridiculous. ‘Exams are a serious matter and they lose their integrity when some pupils are treated differently from others.’
Thousands of Scottish schoolchildren are in the middle of their Standard Grade, Intermediate II and Higher exams at the moment. All other schools have a blanket ban on iPods inside the exam hall.
Linda Moule, deputy head at The Mary Erskine School, confirmed that the pupil has been allowed to use an iPod.
The SQA said the ruling would not automatically open the floodgates for other pupils. A spokesman insisted: ‘This decision sets no precedents. We receive many requests for “special arrangements” to be made every year and each is treated on its individual merits. ‘In this case the iPod is new and the music is loaded by the school and given to the candidate in the hall. It is removed by staff once the exam is over.’
British teacher who challenged rowdy pupil sacked after 30 years in schools
A teacher with 30 years’ experience told yesterday how he was sacked after a rowdy pupil claimed he grabbed his arm and left four small scratch marks.
Ronnie Lane, 56, admitted confronting the unruly 15-year-old boy, who had special educational needs, after he had repeatedly wandered the classroom ‘scrunching up’ other boys’ GCSE art coursework. The married teacher agreed that during the lesson in July 2009 he did touch the boy’s arm while asking him to release another pupil’s painting, to stop it being damaged.
But a tribunal in Liverpool heard how ‘minutes’ after leaving the room to find a colleague, the boy claimed Mr Lane had grabbed his right forearm so hard it left nail marks. Despite a retired senior police officer saying the injuries could have been self-inflicted, Mr Lane was sacked from West Derby School – even though the boy later refused to assist investigators.
Yesterday Mr Lane, from Wallasey, Merseyside, said he had only just returned to work that month after spending eight months off suffering from stress. He was teaching art to more than 20 GCSE students when the boy – referred to only as Student J – started disrupting the lesson.
‘He was getting out of his seat and walking round the room. This went on for 25 minutes. ‘He went to the other side of the room and grabbed another student’s coursework. When I asked Student J to return it, he did – but he then took it again. ‘I went over to Student J to take the work but he also grabbed hold of it, saying “Go on, rip it”. ‘I placed my hand momentarily on his wrist but he said “Get off or I’ll stab your eye out!”
I handed the work back to Student SR who thanked me, and asked Student J to leave the room but he refused so I left to summon help.’
The tribunal heard that on Mr Lane’s return, Student J complained to the other teacher, telling her: ‘Look at the marks on my arm.’
The tribunal was told that two days later Mr Lane was suspended and after several hearings, including an unsuccessful appeal, he was sacked for gross misconduct.
Vice chairman of governors Jonathan Jones told the hearing that a disciplinary panel had reached the opinion Mr Lane had ‘failed to control a challenging class’ and his conduct in grabbing the teenager ‘was not acceptable’. Mr Jones admitted that despite requests by Mr Lane’s union representative that all the boys in the class make witness statements, it was never done.
Instead only a handful of students’ statements were considered. Student JP wrote that Mr Lane merely ‘touched’ the pupil and claimed Student J ‘embellished the story’.
A green dark age developing in Britain
`Greener food and greener fuel’ is the promise of Ensus, a firm that opened Europe’s largest (£250 million) bio-ethanol plant at Wilton on Teesside last year – and has now shut it down for lack of profitable customers. This is actually the second shut-down at the plant – which takes subsidies and turns them into motor fuel – the first being a three-week refit to try to stop the stench bothering the neighbours.
Welcome to the neo-medieval world of Britain’s energy policy. It is a world in which Highland glens are buzzing with bulldozers damming streams for miniature hydro plants, in which the Dogger Bank is to be dotted with windmills at Brobdingnagian expense, in which Heathrow is to burn wood trucked in from Surrey, and Yorkshire wheat is being turned into motor fuel. We are going back to using the landscape to generate our energy. Bad news for the landscape.
The industrial revolution, when Britain turned to coal for its energy, not only catapulted us into prosperity (because coal proved cheaper and more reliable than wood, wind, water and horse as a means of turning machines), but saved our landscape too. Forests grew back and rivers returned to their natural beds when their energy was no longer needed. Land that had once grown hay for millions of horses could grow food for human beings instead – or become parks and gardens.
Whether we like it or not, we are now reversing this policy, only with six times the population and a hundred times the energy needs. The government’s craven decision this week to placate the green pressure groups by agreeing a unilateral tough new carbon rationing target of 50% for 2027 — they wanted to water it down, but were frightened of being taken to judicial review by Greenpeace — condemns Britain to ruining yet more of its landscape. Remember it takes a wind farm the size of Greater London to generate as much electricity as a single coal power station – on a windy day (on other days we will have to do without). Or the felling of a forest twice the size of Cumbria every year.
Yet this ruthless violation of the landscape is not even the most medieval aspect of the government’s energy policy. Its financing would embarrass even the Sheriff of Nottingham. Every renewable project, from offshore wind farms to rooftop solar panels to bio-ethanol plants, is paid for by a stealth poll tax levied from everybody’s electricity bills called the Renewable Obligation.
The RO already adds an astonishing £1.1 billion to the electricity bills of Britons per year already; by 2020 it could be £8 billion, or 30% extra. Unlike the poll tax, which was merely not progressive, this tax is highly regressive. It robs the poor – including those too poor to pay income tax – and hands much of the money to the landed rich in three different ways: higher wheat and wood prices; rents for wind farms; and the iniquitous `feed-in tariff’, by which the person who produces electricity by `renewable’ means is paid three times the market rate. As a landowner myself I refuse to join the feeding frenzy of the last two, but I cannot avoid the first.
Lord Turnbull, the former cabinet secretary, put it this way in a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation this week: `It is astonishing that the Liberals who attach such importance to fairness turn a blind eye to this transfer from poor to rich, running to £billions a year. If you live in a council tower block in Lambeth you don’t have much opportunity to get your nose into this trough.’
Driving up the price of electricity this way destroys jobs. One Spanish study suggests 2.2 jobs lost for each one created by green energy schemes, another Scottish one finds 3.7. If you don’t believe the numbers, ask a local widget maker if the size of his electricity bill affects his ability to take people on or lay them off.
So let’s recap. The current energy policy is taking your money off you through your utility bills, handing that money to a rich landowner – like me – to buy first-growth claret with, putting up the price of your food and your (chipboard) furniture, threatening your job and spoiling your view.
It had better be worth it. The sole intended benefit you will get from all this pain is lower carbon emissions. Not a guarantee of a cooler climate, because Britain is such a trivial part of the world economy, and carbon dioxide’s effect on climate is one of several factors. But at least it will give William Hague a warm glow of satisfaction in showing the Chinese what he calls `the UK’s international moral leadership on the issue.’
But notice I used the word `intended’. Does any of this actually lower carbon emissions? With the single exception of hydro, not one of the renewables has managed to save an ounce of carbon. Wind is so unreliable that coal-fired stations have to be kept spinning in the background (powering them up and down wastes even more energy and carbon). Wheat for ethanol is grown using tractors running on almost the same amount of diesel – and is anyway full of carbon itself (infra-red rays do not distinguish between carbon atoms from plants that grew yesterday and from plants that grew 300 million years ago). Solar will always be a statistical asterisk in cloudy Britain.
As for wood, consider the effect of a simple rule passed by the London borough of Merton in 2003 and slavishly emulated by planners all over the country. The Merton rule requires all developers who build a building of more than 1,000 square metres to generate 10% of energy `renewably’ on site. The effect has been to make it worth my while to thin my woods in Northumberland for the first time in decades.
How so? Faced with the need to find an energy source sufficiently dense to fit on site, developers have turned en masse to wood (or biomass as they prefer to call it). This has led to convoys of diesel lorries chugging through the streets of London to deliver wood to buildings – how very thirteenth century! Delivering, drying and burning this wood produces far more carbon dioxide than delivering gas would.
And lo, by bidding up the price of wood, the effect has been to cause landowners to harvest their timber younger than before, which increases carbon emissions. Thus enriched by having lost less money in managing woods, people like me take a holiday – on a jet. So as policy own goals go, the Merton rule is a quintuple whammy. According to one estimate, Britain is producing about six million extra tonnes of carbon dioxide each year as a result of redirecting its wood supply from current use by the wood-panel and other related industries into energy supply.
The neo-medieval policy of picking winners – or rather losers – creates a salivating lobby for subsidies (even the RSPB takes money from wind farms to shut it up about their eagle killing). But it is saddling ordinary Britons with uncompetitive energy prices, lost jobs, rising fuel poverty, spoiled landscapes – and higher carbon emissions too. Time for a peasants’ revolt.
British Industry Rebellion Over Carbon Targets
Chemical firms lead calls to halt a leap in carbon costs that could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and will cripple the industry.
One British company uses more power than Liverpool and Manchester combined. Little wonder, then, that Ineos, the chemicals giant, is leading the charge against government plans to raise power bills by much more than the rest of Europe is proposing.
The firm’s pleas have gained little traction. Last week the government accepted the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to agree a new target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2027. It will make Britain the first country in the world to commit itself to targets beyond 2020.
Manufacturers say the move, taken with other plans, including a UK-only carbon tax, will cripple industry. They insist thousands of jobs will be lost as firms move their plants to countries where the cost of doing business is lower.
Tata Steel last week announced it was cutting 1,500 jobs at its Scunthorpe and Teesside plants. The company, which employs 21,000 in Britain, has held high-level talks with government in recent weeks over its energy plans.
Meanwhile, in a letter to No10 this month, Ineos founder Jim Ratcliffe warned that he could be forced to shut the firm’s Runcorn chlorine plant, a big energy user and employer of more than 1,000 people.
The outcry is growing. Civitas, the think tank, will this week publish a report warning of an “annihilation” of the UK chemicals industry, which employs 600,000 workers.
David Merlin-Jones, author of the report, said: “The current set of ‘green’ policies, whereby levies and taxes are used to punish the greatest energy users like the chemical sector, will prove to be economic suicide. Existing policies are based on short-termism, expecting too large a carbon reduction in too short a time.”
Business secretary Vince Cable is understood to have tried to reassure several top industry executives in the last week that the government will honour its pledge to introduce measures to mitigate the harshest effects of new climate-change laws. What those will be is unclear.
There are a couple of ways in which Britain’s low-carbon laws will set us apart from the rest of Europe.
One is the “carbon floor” — a tax on pollution on top of levies imposed by the European Union. From 2013, to meet EU climate-change targets, big polluters — such as steel makers, paper mills and chemical companies — will join power plants in having to pay for the pollution they create.
On Friday a permit to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide cost £14.31. The carbon floor, introduced by the chancellor in his March budget, will start in 2013 at £16 a tonne, rising to £30 by 2020.
Big manufacturers say the levy will push their running costs far beyond those of rivals in continental Europe and the Far East.
According to Civitas, total energy bills — which include the cost of the carbon floor, EU carbon permits and wholesale gas and electricity — could rise by 141% by 2020.
“If the government continues to simply add one energy or carbon reduction levy after another on to the energy-intensive sectors, then the risk is that these industries will no longer be able to compete internationally and will simply cease to operate in the UK.”
The other factor that distinguishes Britain is the more aggressive pollution targets that the government agreed to last week. The UK has already pledged to slash emissions by 34% of 1990 levels by 2020, and by up to 80% by 2050. Other EU nations have also signed up to 2020 targets. None, until Britain this week, had signed up to new interim measures to accelerate the low-carbon makeover.
Christopher Booker: Wales In Revolt Over Mammoth Wind Farm Scheme
On Tuesday the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff will see the biggest demonstration so far in Britain against the disaster now being set in train across the land by the Government’s infatuation with wind power. Nowhere is this more obvious than in mid-Wales, where the Assembly wishes to see the hills covered with up to 800 giant wind turbines, up to 415ft high, visible over hundreds of square miles. Recently In Parliament, Glyn Davies, the Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, spoke about the anger this is arousing locally, recounting how one recent meeting called at short notice in Welshpool had drawn 2,000 people.
Mr Davies described how the problem is not only the turbines, but the need for two vast substations and 100 miles of steel pylons, up to 150ft high, to carry the electricity into Shropshire to connect with the National Grid. But although he may have spoken eloquently about the visual and social impact of this project, he failed to spell out its nonsensical economic implications. To build 800 two-megawatt turbines would cost at least £1.6 billion, plus, it is estimated, another £400 million for the pylons and sub-stations. With the output of Welsh turbines last year averaging less than 20 per cent of their capacity, thanks to the intermittency of the wind, the power produced by this £2 billion project will average out at little more than 300MW.
Yet contrast this with the 882MW produced by Centrica’s new Langage gas-fired power station near Plymouth, costing just £400 million. This single plant, built for a fifth of the money, covering a few acres, will produce nearly three times as much electricity, without disfiguring one of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain. Those Welsh turbines, costing us all £120 million a year in subsidy, will produce power that could have been generated without subsidy at a 15th of the cost. How many of those Assembly members on Tuesday will manage to step outside the bubble of illusion surrounding wind power, to recognise just what insanity they are being made party to?