An all attack on the energy companies is in progress….the BBC, rather than standing back from the fray and giving us impartial news and information, is more than happy to land a few punches of its own.
We had ‘green’ companies complaining about their state subsidised profiteering being taken away from them…and linking it to yesterday’s scare stories about winter deaths….much exaggerated as shown in a previous post.
The company spokesman telling us that 50% of deaths were due to high fuel bills.
The BBC didn’t challenge that.
The BBC itself was questioning the profits made by the energy companies…and then this interview with Tim Yeo, the reinstated chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee.
Once again it ‘tackled’ the subject of Cameron cutting the ‘green crap’…with Yeo demanding no cuts be made…or else the poor will suffer.
As the not so very poor Yeo has many vested interests in green companies every time he or his committee promotes global warming or programmes to deal with it there is the potential that it puts money in Yeo’s pocket.
Conflict of interest? I can imagine any member of the Public would say so.
Yeo also states that there are no costs put onto the national grid system due to renewable energy infrastructure development….that’s just wrong….there are massive costs associated with connecting up wind farms to the Grid.
The interview seemed scripted…designed just to tick off and tidy up ‘myths and misconceptions’ about green politics and those involved in it….the final segment just confirmed suspicions.
Winifred Robinson asked Yeo about those apparent conflicts of interest…this is a subject that the BBC has avoided for a long time…and it is a separate question to that which was being asked by the Standards Committee in reference to the Sunday Times report.
Yeo claimed that if you read the report , and he invites you to read it from cover to cover, you will find it cleared him of all charges…‘you will find I have behaved properly in every possible respect’.
Yeo’s reply was highly misleading….because the Committee didn’t examine the potential conflict of interest generally, just in regard to a specific case, and in fact they suggested that they will investigate further such possibilities….and Robinson didn’t challenge his reply ending the interview there.
Yeo was allowed to slip out of that one almost as if it was designed that way.
Here are some extracts from the report to help you decide if the Committee cleared Yeo of having a conflict of interest as he claimed, by being chairman of a climate change committee advising government policy whilst also have large financial stakes in green companies…..
The committee concluded that Yeo had not breached the rules of the House, stating that “Mr Yeo made no improper commitments, despite the tone of the Sunday Times articles, and the energetic attempts of the journalists concerned to draw him into doing so”.
However, the committee confirmed it was now ready to move forward with a consideration of concerns raised by Speaker John Bercow that there might be “an inherent incompatibility between chairing a Select Committee and having commercial interests, even though fully transparently registered, in the sector covered by that committee”.
The Parliamentary Commissioner who investigated the allegations against Yeo said: “I have not found Mr Yeo to be in breach of the rules of the House but nevertheless have concerns about the external perception of the relationship between a Member’s outside employment and interests and his work for the House,” she wrote.
His comment that he told the director what to say in his evidence and linked to this is his comment that “What I do in private is another matter”. Taken together and at face value they could give the impression of a senior member of the House who has little regard for the rules and can easily find his way round them in order to suit his own purposes. This of course is the perception which is conveyed by the Sunday Times and strongly denied by Mr Yeo.
While the House takes a very reasonable position that a Member’s knowledge and interests may well enhance his or her ability to contribute to the work of the House and in particular to some of the specialist committees, there is equally a reasonable concern that that Member is then placed in a privileged position which he or she may be able to exploit for their own interests with few checks and balances to control this.
...A privileged position…to exploit for their own interests….????
Guess Yeo will be in the news again…maybe not the BBC news, but perhaps Sky will pick it up when the time comes.