“Wow, you really are happy to see me, luv.”
“Blimey, no, I’ve got me ferrets in me trousers.”
Any Monty Python fans out there? For the non-initiated, the UK comedy troupe unleashed a barrage of wickedly funny absurdist humour that set a high watermark for comedy for decades. The Ministry of Silly Walks. Ancient philosophers playing soccer against one another. Legendary quotes such as this one from a French solider to “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal-food-trough wiper. I fart in your general direction.”
In order to get a fix, us fans had to go dust off old DVDs or sample random snippets on YouTube. There has been little comparable since the group folded. Until now, that is.
That famous British droll absurd weirdness has now infiltrated the news, and what makes it especially funny is that the newscasters deliver it with straighter faces than the legendary comedians.
The quote at top is not Monty Python, but it could be, and it is indicative of what passes for news in Britain. For the wise soul that does not pay attention to the news, Europe (and the UK in particular) is undergoing an energy crisis – industries are shutting down due to the high cost of power/natural gas, and citizens’ utility bills are going through the roof. Many cannot afford the bills and are taking drastic measures to keep costs down.
One British energy utility posted a blog (since modified), as reported by the BBC, offering helpful tips to consumers: Cuddle with your pets to keep warm. Eat porridge because it increases blood flow, but stay away from spicy chili because it makes you sweat. Have a hula hoop contest with your children.
If that’s not blistering satire, what is? The country is in the midst of an existential energy crisis where people may or may not be able to heat their homes, and a utility provides…that?
Nor is that the end of it. At the recent COP26 circus, the gathering of the world’s guilty global elites, celebrities flew in from around the world on private and commercial jets to formulate lectures on how the rest of the world needed to quit being such energy gluttons. Funny addendum: should there actually ever be any meaningful global emissions reductions, all serious commentators have noted that carbon sequestration will be a necessity. The hydrocarbon industry pretty much must be at the center of any CCS plans, because it is a game played on their gameboard.
Yet the organizers of COP26 barred from participation any hydrocarbon companies (though some snuck in to see what would unfold), as noted in Euronews: “COP26 has made it a policy to exclude polluters from the summit.” [Emphasis added]
So…providers of fuel are polluters, and not welcome. Hollywood celebrities on private jets are deemed not polluters, and hailed as heroes.
Furthermore, the EU has gone one stupid step further: both private planes and yachts are exempt from the latest EU Carbon Pricing plan
Let’s head over to Germany for a wrap, some stereotype-busting proof that the Germans can play the absurdist game as well as anyone. Germany is arguably the nation most advanced in its drive to go all renewable and to limit emissions no matter the cost. The country has spent hundreds of billions on wind and solar. Yet, at the start of this year, Germany shut down three perfectly capable nuclear plants that were injecting emissions free energy into the system. This lost power has been replaced mostly with coal and natural gas.
Actually, the last bit isn’t quite true – the Germans would love to replace the lost nuclear power with natural gas if they could, but because of a pissing contest with Russia, that gas is unavailable, and the rest of the world is in a bidding match for what is out there.
Sadly, the whole situation is not funny at all, even if these actors are. BNN Bloomberg summed it up well: “Europe’s energy crisis intensified as the risk of war pushed up gas prices, power-plant halts were extended and the French government asked its biggest utility to take a $8.8 billion hit to protect consumers.”
As much as I feel sorry for the citizens of Europe, two thoughts come to mind: first is that I’m glad this catastrophe isn’t happening in a place like Africa or India or other low income region; and secondly – you voted for these idiots. No gloating here though, Canada isn’t far behind.