Look At It This Way - December 14, 2012

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Dear Santa,

I am writing to say I have forgiven you for not bringing me solar panels last year.

All that fuss over the Government trying to cut solar subsidies just before Christmas didn’t help.

But it would have helped offset my heating bills and made me happier about waiting till February for the “annual” Eon inspection our boiler should have had last month.

I’d also like to say I understand why you didn’t deliver the offshore wind farm you promised a few years ago when I sat on your knee (hope the knee replacement went well) and told you renewables were all the rage. Thanks to the RSPB bird guide I got last Christmas I know the common scoter moults near where the wind farm would have been situated and is called the Hysterical Duck because it panics and tries to fly away if anything, such as a trawler (remember them?) or wind farm maintenance boat draws near. And it’s hard to fly when you haven’t got many feathers. Ask Orville.

But this year I know what my Christmas present is likely to be. And between you, me, and the chief Elf and Safety rep, I don’t really want it.

It’s called My First Frackers Kit and when my friend Josh Fox said he didn’t want one either everyone giggled because no one knew what fracking meant. But I’ve studied the board and think the banker’s likely to win every time. It looks a bit like Monopoly to me. You buy little drilling rigs instead of houses and hotels and put them them all over the place. There’s a Community Chest-style card which says “You win a rebate thanks to cheaper shale gas - take £5 from the banker” which isn’t much when you consider there’s a Chance card which says “small tremor shakes your china, insurers will not underwrite.”

Then there’s a JobCentre Plus space you land on, not far from Utilities, with a Chance card. But when you collect your card you find most of the jobs are for highly skilled specialist workers - so how many locals will Pass Go?

In the olden days when Lancashire rocked the cradle of the Industrial Revolution it would probably have been called My First Cotton Mill, Coal Mine or Nuclear Power Station. But it’s still nein danke, Santa. So I’ve decided I want what I’ve asked for every Christmas since I was six. A bike. A bright yellow one. And this year Blackpool Council may have some to spare as their seafront rental scheme hasn’t quite worked out. I’m not surprised. The whole process was a bit fiddly and you had to ring a number and quote your credit or debit card and then try to lug the bike out of the rack and so on. It’s easier in the Netherlands. That’s the Netherlands, not Neverland, Santa.

PS: I promise to be good and not buy the wood burner I’d love. Mostly because it would involve lining the chimney...