East Lothian Courier – 21 September 2023


Last week in Parliament saw me raise the issue of public ownership of offshore wind. As the pillars and turbines become more visible both in the Forth and along the length of the east coast who’s benefitting.

Of course, the skills of private firms and multinationals are both welcome and required. But there should also be an opportunity for both a public stake to be held in it and for a public energy company to operate there. I made the point that Denmark has taken a 20% stake in every offshore field. It neither stops big multinationals operating nor has this seem them flee. That should be getting done here.

Moreover, as I pointed out research from the House of Commons library shows that the largest shares of UK offshore wind are owned by the Danish State Company Orsted with 20.4% and the Norwegian State operator, Equinor, with 9.2%. Meanwhile UK public entities own 0.03%.

In Scottish waters six state operators are engaged but none reporting to either Edinburgh or London. Instead from Communist China through the UAE, Norway, Ireland, France to the conservative Government in Sweden we’ve state companies from other lands.

It’s not just the loss of wealth and profits. A state energy provides for energy security, access to affordable power for citizens and businesses, a Just Transition from fossil fuels and investment in new technologies. It should be done here, so that we benefit from the turbines not just watch them turn but struggle to afford the energy they produce.

I also raised the issue of Julian Assange who the USA is seeking to extradite for his exposure of their war crimes through his site Wikileaks. His only offence in the UK has been a minor breach of bail, something which usually only merits a very minor sentence. Yet he’s been held in Belmarsh Maximum Security facility since April 2019. He’s also not been allowed to attend a court hearing since January 2021. That is cruel and unusual punishment. As the UK was complicit in the Iraq war and the horror it unleashed, now it’s facilitating this persecution.