Alex Salmond can say as often as he likes that we are heading for self-sufficiency from renewable sources – wave and wind power – by 2020, but hardly anyone accepts what he says.
The majority of experts don’t just not believe him, they mostly think he’s taken leave of his senses.
Even those heavily involved in the renewables industry do not think we can achieve generating all of our power and light from their technology in as few as nine years.
Worse, in fact much worse, is the fact that while Mr Salmond and John Swinney, his Finance Minister, berate power companies for racking up hefty price increases which impact heavily on domestic consumers – especially the old and the poor – they choose to ignore that part of the reason for the increases is the massive subsidy each of us has to shell out for the development of these new power sources.
It may well be that this is money we have to spend if we are to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, but a bit of straightforward honesty from the ministers in this respect would not go amiss. They might also acknowledge, as one leading expert said on Good Morning Scotland yesterday, that when it comes to cost, nuclear energy is the cheapest, while wind energy is the dearest.
But let’s leave nuclear to one side for the moment. What we must concentrate on is Mr Salmond’s 2020 target.
It is one thing for him to glibly assert the achievability of this target, entirely another for us to put aside all other energy sources simply because our First Minister says we can achieve self-sufficiency in renewables in less than a decade. From a political point of view, we are in pretty dire straits on this issue.
The opposition parties are still shell-shocked from their election hammering and their voices muted when it comes to trying to put Mr Salmond on the spot.
Tragically, we can expect not a glimmer of doubt, far less criticism, from his own backbenches, where sits a hopelessly supine bunch who believe implicitly every word uttered by their leader.
So, how are we to get at the truth when the armed camps on both sides of the argument hurl statistics at each other with an almost religious fervour?
Not by handing the matter over to one of the Scottish Parliament’s committees, that’s for certain. They are so dominated by the Nats that they will come up with any verdict that their leader asks of them.
Probably the best solution would be an independent commission of the great and good, untainted by the special pleading that so dominates this debate – always assuming that such a group could be found – who could deliver an accurate and sober assessment of the country’s energy needs. Such a body must include the possibility of nuclear power.
Perhaps above all, they could tell us whether Mr Salmond’s 2020 vision is realistic or merely another example of his normal hyperbole.
Talking of Wee Eck’s language, his attacks on the Supreme Court, and especially on Lord Hope, are becoming not just outrageous but entirely unseemly for a political leader when talking about a senior member of the judiciary.
In his latest petulant tirade, he even suggests that his words should carry more weight than the judge’s because he is elected whereas Lord Hope is not.
What, is he suggesting that our judges should run for election as they do in the USA? If so, he should explain more fully this revolutionary departure from our normal way of doing things.
The plain fact is that the entirely disreputable behaviour of him and his ministers has all but destroyed any credence they once had in their argument over the Supreme Court.
What with the increasingly intemperate language being used in this row and Education Minister Mike Russell’s high-handed “instructions” to councils over rural school closures, this is beginning to look like a pretty shoddy administration – big majority or not.
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