The morning came late; it was after 8 am before I made it onto the road. The low morning sun was bright and watery, I rechecked my rear light. Elie weather had told me that the wind would pick up between 20 -23 mph by mid-morning, the flags flying at right angles to their flagstaff confirmed their accuracy.
I saw a cyclist, male, on a ladies framed bike; he was travelling along the pavement, so I nodded as I passed. Halfway along the cycle track, I saw the shadow of a cyclist behind so pulled over to the left, and give him the road; it was the cyclist I had passed earlier. He was pushing hard struggling to pass. So I jumped on his wheel, now my shadow cycled sat alongside his rear wheel. As he tired I put in a spurt and passed, looking back I saw he had given up and parked his bike by the fence. That competitive spirit never leaves you, I hope it never will.
As I neared Guardbridge, I turned onto the Strathkinness road, the road rises from sea level to 100m in about a mile and a half so a long climb. About 200 yards in front I spotted a lad on a road bike, he was peddling steady and easy up the climb. I surprisingly was gaining on him all the way. We crested the hill, more or less together, then his 700C wheels with their skinny tyres took over and left me for dead.
There is a big stooshie going on over the supply of gas into Europe. The mainstream newspaper in the UK is telling us that the high price of gas is all because the Russian government (Putin) is using gas as a political weapon.
So what is the truth behind the story? I watched Putin being interviewed on television, he was constantly asked why Russia was withholding gas to Europe – by the end of the interview, the Russian president must have been frustrated with the interviewer for constantly asking a question that he had fully answered a dozen times. He told her that Russia would supply as much gas as required by Europe, that the supply companies are in business to supply gas to anyone who wishes to buy. And repeated over and over, if Europe want Russian gas they must first ask for it, put in your order for gas and we will supply. We are already fulfilling all our contracts and more, he repeated.
So what is the problem? To find the answer we have to go to America, America is a supplier of gas to the world, it ships lots and lots of gas to the far eastern countries, so why not Europe? Simply really the far eastern countries are willing to pay the high market price for American gas, Europe is not.
Rather than tell the British public that their gas bills will increase tenfold over the coming winter, because the supply companies have been privatised, and if these companies paid the market price for gas they would be supplying gas at a loss, and find themselves bankrupted – or they will have to increase gas bills by an alarming rate that will force more and more people into fuel poverty and show the government in a very bad light. The government may be forced to step in and put a price cap on gas, but would then have to subsidise the gas supply companies (bailout unprofitable companies.) They may have to increase pensions and income support credits, to cover the high cost of living. Remember that there will be a General Election a few years down the line.
When you are in the shit, blame Russia.
Europe is not held to ransom by the Russians, it is held to ransom by privatized fuel supply companies. Scotland needs a publicly owned grid, a publicly owned generating network of wind, wave, and tide. A publicly owned gas supply company, or as Boris would say:
“We need to take back control.”