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BBC Give Ed Davey Free Rein To Spout His Nonsense

October 26, 2017

By Paul Homewood




With huge irony, the day after the BBC had flagellated itself for allowing Lord Lawson to make comments without challenge, the Today programme interviewed Ed Davey.

The topic was Dieter Helm’s new report criticising successive government’s energy policies and highlighting the ruinous cost of them. Ed Davey was, of course, one of the guilty parties, but (surprise, surprise) the interviewer, Nick Robinson, gave Davey pretty much free rein to spout his nonsense.



The segment starts at about 1.52 into the programme and Robinson makes a good start with his opening remarks summarising Helm’s conclusion that “spectacularly bad decisions have been made by ministers to subsidise green energy and nuclear power”.

Asked how he pleaded, Davey retorted:

“Not guilty. If you look at the auction just a few weeks ago, we saw the price of offshore wind falling by over 50%.

It’s been a massive success in reducing the cost of green energy”

Robinson points out that, as Helm states, Davey’s decisions trapped us into expensive subsidies for old tech, rather than wait for costs to fall. Davey replies:

“No, I think that people looking at solar and wind say these are the technologies of the future. “

This of course totally fails to answer the question posed, but Robinson was not prepared to press Davey further on the matter.


He does however remind Davey that the OBR forecasts that the cost of green subsidies will more than treble in the next five years.

In reply, Davey waffles about there was always going to be a cost of transitioning to a low carbon economy, but that the costs of climate change would be dramatically more.

Robinson could have challenged this unsubstantiated claim, particularly with reference to the UK. He could have pointed out that the tiny reduction in CO2 emissions achieved so far by the UK won’t make the slightest difference to the world’s climate.

He could have reminded Davey that emissions in the rest of the world have rocketed since the UK passed the Climate Change Act.

Or he could have followed up his original question and asked Davey why he did not wait until the cost of renewable energy fell.

In fact, he does none of these things, and asks one more tame question about current government policy, which allows Davey to claim that renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels and that loads of green jobs are being created. Again, no challenge is made.


All in all, another gutless performance by the BBC.

  1. Robert Fairless permalink
    October 26, 2017 5:18 pm

    This man’s (Davy) views have cost the country many many millions and he was a leading destroyer of our energy industry. An equally stupid PM rewarded him of course.

  2. Tim Hammond permalink
    October 26, 2017 5:20 pm

    Ah, the old “Green jobs” fallacy.

    Does the fool Davey not understand that having more jobs to produce the same amount of something will make it more expensive? We want fewer jobs. not more, for everything we do, as that means those people doing it are being more productive.

    That fees up people to go and produce other stuff elsewhere.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 28, 2017 12:35 pm

      Is it still 3 real jobs destroyed by every green job created? Steel industry just hanging on by its finger tips to avoid joining aluminium smelting.

  3. October 26, 2017 6:33 pm

    The BBC is often telling us how poorly we perform with regard to productivity. Strangely they never mention that it is mainly due to rapidly falling productivity in the energy sector.

  4. October 26, 2017 6:37 pm

    “BBC Give Ed Davey Free Rein To Spout His Nonsense”. That is 100% correct. It is no wonder the country’s electricity system is in a meltdown situation when people like Miliband, Huhne, Davey, Rudd, Clarke, who all know nothing about the technology of electricity generation and supply and can all spout endless nonsense, unchallenged by the BBC, have been in charge.

    • Ian permalink
      October 26, 2017 6:53 pm

      In June, Davey was interviewed on Daily Po9litics on a similar topic. I complained that his special interests (Google him) hadn’t been mentioned when he was introduced, which must colour his views. My complaint went through all three stages of the BBC complaints procedure and eventually on to OFCOM. Basically, their response was: “We don’t have to.”

      The same happened again today. How is it that a must-have agenda item on even local government scale politics requires speakers to declare special interests, but the BBC doesn’t think it necessary? I should perhaps rephrase that “… so long as the interviewee is singing their song?”

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        October 26, 2017 7:46 pm

        Well done for challenging the hypocrisy of the BBC, I guess that the response was predicted. So Lawson needs to be challenged and ideally hanged, drawn and quartered, but Davey is an honourable man ….. and an Independent advisor!

  5. October 26, 2017 7:19 pm

    As suggested by Ian I did look up Davey’s business interests. Davey has taken up several business appointments since leaving his role as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in May 2015.
    This is an entry from Wikipedia and, if accurate, a prime example of conflicting interests:

    1) Mongoose Energy appointed Davey as chairman in September 2015.

    2) Davey set up an independent consultancy in September 2015 to provide advice on energy and climate change.

    3) In January 2016 Davey was appointed as a part-time consultant to MHP Communications, the public relations and lobbying firm representing EDF Energy. Davey was criticised by press commentators for the potential conflict of interest between his previous role as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and his role at MHP. As Secretary of State Davey awarded EDF the contract to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

    4) Davey’s appointment as Global Partner and non-Executive director of private equity investor Nord Engine Capital was announced in February 2016.

    5) In July 2016 he became non-paid patron of the Sustainable Futures Foundation, a charity promoting environmental sustainability for the public benefit.

    It’s not about the climate stupid, it’s the money. If only Bill Clinton had said that.

    • saxonboy permalink
      October 26, 2017 7:36 pm

      Great post Simon, can we have the facility to have ‘upvotes’ Paul ?

      • Simon permalink
        October 27, 2017 9:24 am

        Thank you saxonboy, I think when it comes to challenging political decision makers, such as Davey, the established media are lightweight, particularly when the political bent suits them.

  6. saxonboy permalink
    October 26, 2017 7:33 pm

    A Fruitloop Mongoose on the loose anyone ?…and that idiot Cameron bought this clowns ‘Green Crap’. When the lights go out and anarchy breaks out people, those that are left, will want answers.

    • keith permalink
      October 27, 2017 8:48 am

      Sorry, I think the energy swamp is so deep these clowns will get away with it and never be challenged. In any event who is to challenge them, the newspapers are just full of incompetent media university jerks who have no idea what investigative journalism is all about and the BBC/Sky are full of left wing greenie presenters who like Nick Robinson have no idea how to pose challenging questions on the energy/climate change issue.

  7. October 26, 2017 9:45 pm

    There’s now a transcript of the interview here:

  8. Athelstan permalink
    October 26, 2017 9:45 pm

    Didn’t Davey ‘study’ PPE up at the dreary spires? An ineffable course specially reserved for blatherskite shi$3hawks, fuqwits like potatoEDavey and call me dave.

    • Bitter&twisted permalink
      October 27, 2017 7:11 am

      Poorly Planned Excrement.
      The greatest destroyer of common sense known to man.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 28, 2017 12:30 pm

      The worst one always do. Those who did geography aren’t much better it would seem.

  9. October 27, 2017 9:33 am

    ‘Or he could have followed up his original question and asked Davey why he did not wait until the cost of renewable energy fell.’

    Intermittency of wind and solar creates serious costs for other forms of electricity generation, costs which are bound to increase along with the percentage of renewables in the system.

    If Davey likes job creation for its own sake, he could propose that workers are given shovels to dig holes for the concrete bases of wind turbines. Hey presto – more ‘green jobs’ 😦

    • AlecM permalink
      October 27, 2017 11:02 am

      Davey is an arrogant, privately-educated Lib Dumb fool.

  10. mothcatcher permalink
    October 27, 2017 11:16 am

    I heard the interview and wholeheartedly agree that Davey got off lightly. However, you’re probably being a little hard on Nick Robinson for expecting him to challenge Davey’s statements in the way that you suggest. Robinson is far the best of the BBC’s interviewers, challenging and putting into context his interviewees’ statements about as well as could be expected in the time and preparation available to him, but in an invariably polite and reasonable way. And he does so irrespective of where on the political spectrum the guest is situated. No Kuenssberg or Harrabin he!

    The real question should be the overarching bias of BBC editorial policy. In any other area of policy, a report like Dieter Helm’s would have been paraded by BBC in huge headlines couched in terms of Government failure, backed by feature programs giving a loud voice to Government critics. Clearly that hasn’t happened, and doesn’t seem likely.

    We’ve a long way to go yet.

    But boy, is that Helms report a real honey!

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      October 27, 2017 3:45 pm

      Spot on! BBC editorial “policy” (which it would emphatically deny if you suggested it) is at the core of many of Britain’s political woes.

      And context is everything. In most spheres a report like this would have resulted in the BBC “holding the government to account” but in this instance the government is doing what the BBC believes to be The Right Thing — though why the BBC per se should be qualified corporately to believe in Right and Not Right is a mystery — so they get a free ride.

      But not completely free, notice! So their interviewee is actually an opponent of the government but is defending government policy which was also his policy. Neat, eh? The sort of manœuvre that in ballroom dancing gets you a sprained ankle!

      Sooner or later it will catch up with the BBC. Robinson almost certainly gave Davey an easy time because the objective was to discredit Helm’s report, else why invite Davey at all?

  11. Douglas Brodie permalink
    October 27, 2017 1:33 pm

    Andrew Neil demolished then energy minister Ed Davey in an interview during which Davey used every trick in the book of climate propaganda spin, misinformation and deception. He labelled climate sceptics as crackpots, flat earthers and deniers who should be denied a platform (because the science is supposedly settled). He denied the significance of the “pause” in global warming (this was in 2013) and he invoked the fraudulent 97% consensus mantra, thankfully rebutted by Neil.

    Watch it here

    Davey’s lucrative renewable energy jobs are listed here

  12. CheshireRed permalink
    October 27, 2017 3:01 pm

    The central premise of Ed Davey’s entire ‘renewables’ blag has been *proven to be incorrect*. Not subjectively, but objectively. He based ALL his prices, contracts, FiT’s and all the rest of it on a diminishing FF supply which would then lead to higher prices. Wrong on all counts. Literally every single one. Seldom has a Minister been so comprehensively disproven, and we’ll all be paying the price for (literally) decades to come.

  13. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    October 27, 2017 5:16 pm

    I’d forgotten the Andrew Neil interview. THAT’s what a well-briefed interviewer (his demolition of the 97% figure was great) can do if given the time. But of course, the Today programme has long since stopped being anything except lightweight entertainment and topical soundbites. If anyone was listening this morning to Sir Michael Parkinson giving a glowing testimonial to – what else ? – the Today programme you really have to wonder what Timpson and Redhead would have made of it back in the day when the programme really was essential listening.

  14. October 27, 2017 8:25 pm

    Today’s BBC tips
    R4Feedback pulled a fast one in reporting the Lawson
    (my BHu comment Oct 27, 2017 at 4:56 PM )
    Someone else summarises better

    Then 12:15pm R4 You and Your tried to pull a fast one by plugging the Swansea barrage
    (cos the Helm report yesterday basically said the pricing system would not work)
    R4 put on one Prof who’s an enthusiast
    then brings on another expert’ who is also very pro
    but there was a good debunk in private Eye.. see the tweets above it.

  15. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 27, 2017 9:34 pm

    Paul H, don’t know if you saw this, biodigester shut down, no one to clear up the mess.

    • Ian permalink
      October 28, 2017 8:21 am

      Guess what, BBC news report linked here has been withdrawn. Purely procedrual, of course.

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