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David Cameron’s greatest crime

Apparently David Cameron is sometimes wont to ask: “Why does James Delingpole hate me so much?”

It’s a fair question: we used to be friends after all. And if I’m honest I wish we still were. Life would be so much easier and more fun if I were part of the Prime Minister’s inner circle: all those weekends at Chequers; all the hanging out with Jeremy Clarkson and the other groovesters of the Chipping Norton ‘n’ Witney set; all that material I’d be given for the eventual Authorised Biography.

Problem is, if there’s one thing I value even more than the friendships I made at Oxford it’s the British countryside. That’s why I’ve just moved into the thick of it, into a most especially beautiful part of rural Northamptonshire. So far I’ve loved every moment of it: the long walks down the Jurassic Way; the wild swims in the lake; the rabbits on the lawn, the deer in the woods, the owl hooting at night…

But there’s a snake in the Garden and almost everyone who lives in the country knows what it is and fears it like the Devil. I’m talking, of course, about the wind farm menace.

It divides once-happy communities; it blights cherished views; it wipes between 25 per cent and 50 per cent off property values; it causes insomnia, depression, palpitations, anxiety, sickness of all kinds; it enriches the cynical, greedy few at the expense of the many; it drives up energy prices; it kills birdlife and bats; it destroys jobs (creating only fake, taxpayer-subsidised ones), it does nothing whatsoever to benefit the environment, let alone arrest “climate change.”

That such a hideous menace could be allowed to stalk the land under a New Labour administration I could just about understand. But under a Conservative prime minister? Never! Or so one might reasonably have thought.

Wind farms, after all, are antithetical to pretty much every one of conservatism’s most basic principles.

They trample on property rights, stealing homeowners’ tranquillity and the value of their single most important investment, with not a scrap of apparent guilt or compunction, let alone compensation.

They place collectivism – and a peculiarly bastardised, ill-considered, ill-justified collectivism at that – before individual self-determination and liberty.

They pervert the free market, whose successful operation Britain so desperately needs if it is ever to crawl out of this (largely state-created) depression. Scarce resources are diverted from the productive sector of the economy into an industry which no one, save a few rent-seeking parasites and environmental zealots, wants or needs – and which would never survive without massive subsidy because it has no real economic value.

They are the antithesis of the commonsense, empiricism and pragmatism which are at the root of conservative tradition. Wind farms don’t work. They’re expensive. They’re unpopular. There is no evidence that they offer any benefit to the country whatsoever. So what conservative in his right mind would insist on building more of them with money we haven’t got?

Sure wind farms aren’t the only problem with David Cameron’s administration. But it seems to me that of all the legacies his Coalition is set to leave Britain, wind farms will turn out to be the longest-lasting, most destructive and disastrous.

What’s extraordinary is that so few in the Westminster bubble seem to appreciate just how much harm is being done to Britain’s most priceless asset: her countryside. With the odd notable exception such as Chris Heaton Harris MP almost no one in the Tory party is speaking out against perhaps the greatest crime perpetrated against the people of the country since the Enclosure acts. Worse, not a few Tory MPs – led by troughers-in-chief Tim Yeo MP and the possibly even more loathsome Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer) – are actively complicit in this “renewable” energy scam.

David Cameron is not going to go down in history as one of the great prime ministers. It gives me no satisfaction saying that because – believe me – I’d much rather choose to live in a world where the prime minister was a mate doing a really great job than an ex-mate doing an incredibly crap one.

But if he loves his country as much as I do – and certainly, during our Oxford days, he gave me no reason to doubt it – then there is one thing he can still do to restore his tarnished reputation. Not only would it leave behind him a truly valuable legacy but it would also show him to be a man of principle and courage: he needs to find a way of scrapping Britain’s wind farm building programme before any more damage is done.

It won’t be easy, of course. Not with so many powerful vested interests involved: Big Wind is ruthless, hugely well-funded and unconscionably mendacious; and of course it has many friends, not just among troughers like Yeo and Deben, but also within the Liberal Democrats.

But it’s not impossible. All he needs do is call an independent (ie one which neither Yeo or Deben has touched with a bargepole) inquiry into the economic, environmental and health impacts of wind farms. If that inquiry is remotely honest it will find that wind farms are a disaster in every conceivable way. Cameron will then – very reluctantly, of course – have to break to his father-in-law Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt and the wife of his beloved deputy prime minister the sad news that the British economy can no longer afford to splurge more wind geld into their bank accounts. Sure it will land him an earful from the wife and the Clegg. But isn’t that a price worth paying for saving the nation?