Political opinion Craig Mackinlay MP: Covid, Ukraine, Southern Water and council assets

MP Craig Mackinlay

I didn’t think I’d be writing about Covid ever again: at least hoped not to be. I had my own 1st April surprise with a positive Covid test. I’d started to wonder if I was invulnerable to it after all this time given the higher risk lifestyle of daily public transport and the huge number of interactions MPs have, not least crammed in together on the green benches.

But no, just a day into the Easter recess it got me probably from a fellow MP. An unpleasant experience of one day feeling OK, another dreadful. Thankfully the rollercoaster has stopped, the test is negative but left a little jaded. Glad to get it out of the way though with an immune system further boosted by the real thing.

It hasn’t kept me away from the media particularly on the back of the government’s new Energy Security Strategy to ensure greater self-reliance. The strategy has many good points to encourage domestic exploration of what the North Sea can still offer which has to be better than imports; had many warm words about nuclear that I’m all in favour of but remained fixed on more renewables as the solution whilst glossing over the problem of intermittency of wind and the obvious problem of solar once the sun goes down.

This is the part of the puzzle that no-one is addressing and what I believe could usefully be addressed by considering shale gas extraction given that gas use will be with us for many years. The government has asked the British Geological Survey to undertake some serious work on the ‘science’ of fracking so not a green light but at least the door is left open.

The Ukraine war continues and the extent of the war crimes being committed by Russian forces becomes more apparent by the day. The Prime Minister’s visit to Kyiv to support President Zalensky was a powerful message that this country stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in the provision of military and financial support. The fact that the PM could travel by train from Poland without the fact leaking was a surprise in itself – if only Whitehall could behave in the same way.

There are many assets owned by local councils. Thanet has a multitude of them, often acquired through historical happenstance of a bygone age. We enter a political and philosophical argument as to what local councils are for and this is a thread that has been picked up by the Public Accounts Committee which I serve upon. Should councils attempt to be landlords or attempt to run a commercial enterprise? In the case of an asset which returns a good rental yield – probably yes, worth holding onto but in the case of assets which struggle to earn their keep or cross over the line into a commercial enterprise best suited for the private sector – probably not. The reason I raise this is because of the various enquiries I get by groups seeking to acquire community assets which may be better run privately or by charitable/community groups. An expansive topic.

As we move into Spring, our most vibrant economy of tourism shakes off the winter. Our tourist offer suffered last year due to various failures of Southern Water. To that end I have been trying to organise a public meeting for the community to put their questions to the executive team of the company. Getting a date to suit all has proven difficult and Covid restrictions had taken many possible sites out of use but I am pleased to announce that this meeting will take place on Thursday 21st April 6.30pm to 8.00pm at the Royal Harbour Academy (Upper site), Stirling Way, Ramsgate. On the panel will be Ian McAuley, CEO of Southern Water, Dr Toby Wilson Chief Environment & Sustainability Officer, an attendee from the Environment Agency and Ash Ashbee Leader of TDC. I shall be chairing the meeting. It will be advertised on all of my social media channels but do take the opportunity to advertise widely. In the meantime to register please email me at [email protected]. There is a maximum attendance of 166 and by confirmed ticket attendance only.

Happy Easter.


    • The problem with tidal is that the equipment needed to generate the electricity needs to be very robust indeed, to withstand the effects of storms.
      The idea has been bandied around for decades, without getting very far.


      As for fracking: we really really must stop using fossil fuels of any sort right now, or we’re stuffed.
      And what’s the point in fracking anyway, if the gas produced is flogged off to the highest bidder? There’s still plenty of gas produced in the North Sea by British companies, but it’s a commercial enterprise and the gas goes elsewhere. That’s capitalism for you.
      And as for BJ going to Ukraine – I was astonished not to see him wearing full camouflage gear and carrying an NLAW.
      (I’m the proper Andrew, BTW)

  1. Another tidal wave of nonsense from Craig.

    I hope Thanet does the right thing next chance we get. I hope the Conservatives do the right thing and get rid of him. He never bothers to actually research any of his views, he clearly has other agendas at work (investments??)…

    The man is dangerous.

    It still flabbergasts me that one person can be wrong on so many topics.

    Brazen levels of ignorance.

      • Mcinly and the bunch of bonkers come chancers in the commons now will never ever get my mark again as a deplorable pensioner they have done nothing but put my standard of living below the poverty line does he expect a pat on the back fortalking about nothing but nonesence between kicking the old and vulnerable in the goolies over and over no thanks never again

  2. Good heavens! Where to start? The pressure on Southern Water has come mainly from Community groups, the very green option of offshore wind power has been lessened in this area as a result of McKinley’s ridiculous airport plan, a plan which is as much of a threat to tourism (if not more) as poo in the water! What a hypocrite

  3. The usual biased nonsense from our MP about the intermittent nature of renewables, this of course can be largely solved by investment in storage solutions which already exist today and which will further improve as battery technology continues to improve. As to the tourist economy in Thanet suffering from the pollution caused by Southern Water he is right but perhaps he could explain why he did not do more to force all water companies to clean there act up when there was the opportunity to legislate against it rather than let them off the hook. This does not even touch on his ongoing support for the nonsense that is a cargo airport with no proven need that will not only destroy the resurgent tourist economy in Ramsgate but which will cause very significant noise and other pollution all over Thanet if it should ever actually happen.

    • So we’re to pay over the odds for building excessive amounts of wind/solar because it rarely achieves its design generating capacity , then pay uet more again for incredibly expensive storage capacity for when the renewables don’t deliver.
      Economic lunacy in pursuit of a goal set for an unproven scientific theory .

    • There is an alternative to lithium batteries as large as a small town to store electricity, which as a former Central Electricity Generating Board engineer, I have tried to get Mackinlay to understand! Somewhere between 25% to 30% of electricity generated at night is not used, but it has still to be generated! Thats what nuclear power stations do, because they can only generate “Base Load” that is generation can’t be raised and lowered during high and low demand times, or be switched off at night. It would take about 10 days to restart a nuclear power station once it has been closed down, unlike a wind turbine that takes about 3 minutes so I was told.

      There are some 200 or more Pumped Water storage power stations throughout the world, and the UK built 3, two in Wales, and one in Scotland. The principle is the same as hydroelectric, except they use the same water over, and over again! The idea is to hollow out a mountain close to a large lake, that has capacity to store water at the top. The water is pumped up the mountain during the night using all that waste electricity thats being generated, but not used, similar to Off Peake Storage Radiators, remember them!

      Once the water has been pumped up the mountain at night at very much lower cost, its released at peak demand times during the day, at extra cost than was paid to pump it up the mountain! Thats how electricity can be stored, but I seem to have failed to get Mackinlay to understand this! Having worked on both conventional, and nuclear power stations, I know nuclear is far more costly to build, and run, as they are very much over engineered, and to date no one has come up with an idea as to how spent uranium fuel rods, and other “high” radioactive material can be stored!

      In November 2020 the Public Accounts Committee estimated that it will cost some £132 billion to decommission the existing nuclear power stations over a period of ten years! This will have to be paid for out of our electricity Bills, but so far its not been factored in! Nuclear Power Stations take far more time to build too, so in the meantime why not build some Pumped Storage power stations, and use up all that electricity being generated but not used?

  4. Lol I had a letter from Craig , he sticking up the bosses arse , we are doing this with the war , fair enough me thinks, we done britex etc , that’s good is or not? yeah we all like to see the cost of items going up be it in the shops or for fuel , he welcomes the people that come from over the water.
    The cons are sorting out the rising cost of energy bills with a loan to get people used to it, and fuel they reduced by 5p a litre but put 20p on it in the weeks before’
    It be up to the public on the next election to make their own minds up.

    • They didnt “do brexit” – this isn’t what people voted for – it’s a complete sham to claim this government delivered brexit. They botched brexit. That’s being generous.

  5. H’mm.
    You’ve on thin ice and playing with fire.

    Factette No1:
    When fossil fuels (typically hydrocarbons such as gas, oil and coal) are burned, they produce (mostly) carbon dioxide and water vapour.

    Factette No2:
    Both CO2 and H2O are “greenhouse” gasses; ie, they trap heat in the atmosphere. Water vapour rapidly leaves the atmosphere (it rains) but the CO2 stays there for 1000s of years.

    Factette No 3:
    Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, mankind has year on year (with a couple of exceptions) been burning more and more fossil fuels, putting more and more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

    Factette No 4: The average temperature of the atmosphere has been rising steadily since the IR.

    Conclusion: at the very least, human activity (there could be other agencies at work too) is causing a rise in global temperatures.

  6. Dear Craig,
    here is a cutting for you.
    No one, apart from a doleful little crew think that fracking and opening a new coal mine is a good idea.
    Even Andrea Leadsom, no pinko lefty she, has understood that drilling for elusive gas resources and digging for coal, will (a) cost time and money that could be better used elsewhere, and (b) will not solve the problem of high energy prices, now or in the future.
    Even if gas was found it would sell on the open market at world prices.
    The cheapest source of energy is onshore wind.Solar and offshore wind are next cheapest, followed by gas, and then nuclear.
    I agree tidal and wave power is a massive source of energy and as yet untapped, as is solar on all the many acres of available roofs in urban and rural britain.
    Better still Craig, let’s get on and insulate the houses and community buildings of Britain.If we use little energy, then price ceases to be a problem. There are around 25m houses in the UK and it costs between £8k and £20k to effectively insulate each house. Let’s strike a mean of £14k per house that works out at £35bn, a lot of money.But wait,Hinkley point C may cost as much as £22Bn, and that is just the capital cost, not the decommissioning cost or anything for long term storage of the waste.The govt wants to build 6 stations, which will only deliver some of our energy needs.
    Insulating our homes is a one off cost, no decommissioning, and upgrades can be done relatively cheaply and easily, compared to building Nukes.
    I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think it suits sectional and financial interests to have the UK population in thrall to big energy.I think Craig is knowingly or knowing him, unknowingly, helping the great and the bad, to prosper at our expense.

    • There is a problem with tidal power when it backs up the sea either side of the barrier/dam. This can cause severe damage to the coast, and I may stand corrected but I think France gave up this idea for this reason, somewhere where there was a strong tidal race, that damaged the coast, which had to be reinforced! I believe that is why the River Seven has not had a tidal system installed.

  7. It’s quite astonishing that all of the new homes beng built have gas powered central heating, and none has solar panels installed as a matter of course.

  8. I wonder if Craig has an opinion on Boris…

    “now is not the time for a leadership contest because of ukraine” no doubt….

    France are managing…. Hungary managed….

    When is the right time. Always an excuse with this corrupt lot.

    • I wonder if Craig has an opinion on Boris…

      I have a letter from Craig , its a long letter but it short it says he loves Boris.

      He hid behind the police investigation but in a roundabout way said if found guilty , he had a few parties so what , he said sorry , end of.

      I could not go and see my friend in hospital who died of cancer or his funeral .
      I doubt if I said sorry I would get another chance.

      • Your right Paul, I am a pensioner living alone, and am “Clinically Extremely Vulnerable” according to a letter I got from the NHS. I had to self isolate, like millions of others, because if I was infected by numpty anti-vaxxers, they could have killed me!

        Luckily the little family restaurant where I lunch most days, started a meal delivery service once customers phoned their choice in, which was literally a life saver! So, what was Johnson, and his misbegotten cronies doing during Lockdown? They were partying, even on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral! Johnson may be an adulterous scoundrel and a lying rogue, but one thing he isn’t, and that is he is not a statesman!

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