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The Disraeli Room is a hub for new ideas, commentary and analysis. ResPublica's blog is named after the great reforming Prime Minister of the nineteenth century, Benjamin Disraeli, and welcomes contributions from across the political, academic and professional spectrum.
Presently, the United Kingdom and the Ukraine seem to be on the brink of separation, and what is noteworthy is the different ways these break-ups appear to be playing out. There are already dead people on the streets in the Ukraine, while Scottish Nationalists remain unharmed by the forces of the State.
Voter engagement among the young is low and seems set to fall still further: only 44% of those aged 18 voted in the 2010 general election, and only 12% of this age group say that they are “certain to vote” at the next from 30% just two years ago.
There are those who view religion as a force for good and wish to see it play a greater role in shaping society, and there are those who view religion as a malign and wish to see it forced to the margins of society.
Soon after the financial crisis hit in 2008, the most pressing issue on everyone’s mind was how our finance sector could be reformed so that a meltdown of this degree would never again occur and economic stability could return to the UK.
Last week’s Community Energy Strategy sets out, in part, to identify how to support investment funding for community energy. A series of grants and funding schemes from across different parts of government are highlighted.
DECC’s Community Energy Strategy is a glass half full for some, and half empty for others. Jonathan Porritt gave it a 4/10. Megan Darby of Utility Week was rather more impressed and summarised it in a very readable article entitled “DECC feels community spirit.”
Publication of the first Community Energy Strategy is a welcome recognition that the UK’s energy consumers don’t have to be abandoned to the mercy of faceless multi-national conglomerates. The community energy model is well proven in many parts of Europe – and the USA come to that – but hitherto hopelessly under-exploited in the UK.
It’s been a truism of community energy activism for many years that what communities have managed to achieve across the UK has been ‘in spite of’ the policies and regulations which shape our energy system rather than ‘because of’.
If you haven’t been to Goldthorpe before, you may be unaware of its rich history. A former mining town within South Yorkshire with a proud heritage, it has fallen on hard times in recent years, and is now amongst the most deprived areas in the UK.
This strategy could not come soon enough. At a time of rapidly rising energy bills and growing concerns over the impact of energy infrastructure on our precious landscapes, community energy offers people a chance not only to take more control of their energy – where it comes from and what it costs – but also feel confident that the places they love have not been sacrificed to generate it.
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