UKIP gets Tories to go Polish on gas, to all our benefit
UKIP and its Polish allies are breaking new ground, almost literally. The UK and Poland should be pushing for more cooperation on shale gas, and energy security generally. A beautiful friendship is born
As a Pole, loyal to the UK, and therefore to the cause of freedom and original thinking, before joining UKIP over a year ago I perceived it to be the real Conservative grassroots, if not a kind of think tank for open minded people of whatever origin. By now it is obvious that UKIP serves as both grassroots and a think tank in one for both the Tories and Labour.
Whatever policies it comes up with get snapped up by either of the less imaginative mainstream parties.
One of such policies was outlined during UKIP's September 2013 conference, where the party's energy spokesman Roger Helmer MEP set out the clean energy case for shale gas (compared to other fossil fuels) but also pointed to what should be done with the gas revenues.
Using Norway as an example, Roger Helmer suggested that the UK should create a sovereign wealth fund through which it could reinvest the profits from fracking, as opposed to spending them on current consumption as was done with the North Sea oil revenues.
It was at that conference that UKIP publicly linked the UK "Greens", who have been especially disruptive to shale gas projects, to Russian and Middle Eastern interests.
So it is heartening for me as Friends of Poland in UKIP chairman with a long-standing interest in fracking to see that the Conservative government decided to apply some of UKIP policies; and in particular the Minister of State for Energy Michael Fallon announcing in April 2014 the UK's cooperation with Poland on shale gas studies.
It is absolutely critical that both countries foster closer energy links, given that they are the most serious countries in Europe about shale gas exploration, in contrast to the EU core composed of Germany and France who are everything but.
Of course, now that David Cameron met his Waterloo in Ypres, the UK, for all practical purposes, joins Poland on the EU's periphery, which is not a bad thing, given that most EU economic growth is currently happening in the UK and Eastern Europe.
Angela Merkel may be acting as the medieval Pope anointing her puppet Holy Roman Emperor -- Jean-Claude Juncker -- but it is largely David Cameron who allowed her to believe she holds all this power by courting her in Berlin for months over the "membership renegotiation" rather than using official EU means in Brussels
In essence, "he f****d it up", as pointed out, somewhat undiplomatically, by Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski. Even though Juncker's win/Cameron's loss only pushes the UK closer to Brexit whilst the EU tends towards a Fourth Reich, or to find a more politically-correct Generation Y name: "Germany+", we should not forget about our common interests on the continent.
The bottom line is that EU or no EU, Poland, the UK and the rest of the continent will have to buy gas from Russia at whatever price Vladimir Putin decides to charge... unless we all do something about it and develop our own energy base.
As we see from the recent events in Ukraine, you cannot stand up to Russia and expect the gas to continue flowing in your direction, which is the very unfortunate situation that our continent finds itself hostage to.
Incidentally, Ukraine also has an abundance of shale gas, and should be brought into this UK-Polish pact, as well as the proposed Respublica Nova organisation fostering economic and military cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. Aditionally, the real reason for the West getting involved in the Persian Gulf and Middle Eastern conflicts is to do with its reliance on oil from that region.
Of course, the USA and its NATO allies should not leave that part of the world to its own destructive tendencies. In fact, there is now more of a case than ever for the creation of a NATO-aligned Christian country to preserve the indigenous pre-Islamic Christian population, perhaps out of part of Syria or Iraq and using Israel as aprototype.
That discussion may be left for another day, but it is important that the West unhooks itself from unreliable, crazed, and dangerous energy providers and the constant military conflicts that come with it.
So what would I like to see more of? UKIP has proved itself to be much more than a grassroots organisation or a think tank.
Energy matters. It is now time for MEPs to push for progress on shale gas policies in Brussels, even better if they engage MEPs from Poland on this matter. After all, UKIP is the most pro-shale gas party, so let's now act on these credentials, given we have the critical mass.
Furthermore, such a confederation of pro-shale gas MEPs from the UK and Poland could facilitate extraction efforts by, for example, supporting British companies' investment in Poland. BG Plc, for one, has an unparalleled expertise from its fracking efforts in the USA which it could bring to Poland, but there is a whole host of other British companies, some of whom are already active there.
Equally, Polish PGNiG could be encouraged to drill in the UK. Universities could be roped in to improve technology and so on.
Since the beginning of this year we have witnessed two major disruptions to energy stability: the Ukrainian-Russian conflict and now the rise of ISIS in Iraq, and it is only the middle of the year. We need to act and fast to immunise ourselves from external energy providers, just as the USA has done over the last decade.
No more time should be wasted on relatively minor scuffles over who should or should not, for example, be the EU Commision President.
Przemek Skwirczynski, Chairman, Friends of Poland in UKIP
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