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“…It’s five o’clock on Sunday afternoon in Sydney in winter. By any reckoning Sydney doesn’t get that cold. But I have been at my computer for a couple of hours, with three layers on top and a beanie, and have been cold the whole of that time. When I was married the heater would have been on. Women sensibly don’t like putting up with cold. Me, I’m the son of my father who was always concerned about power bills.

He had reason to be concerned; big power bills seriously dented the household budget. Mind you, I can’t remember a time when a coal fire was not heating the living room on a cold afternoon. That’s progress for you; from warm to cold in the space of childhood to older age. I’ve finally just switched on my gas heater. Ah! The luxury of warmth will soon envelop the room.

Now, for a moment, imagine (if you have to) that you live in, say, Melbourne or Tasmania or Canberra and it’s a cold winter afternoon. Now imagine you are poor and must account for every dollar. Power bills matter to you. You sit as a single mother with your young children wrapped in clothes and blankets. You’re old and clutch a hot-water bottle. You’re a coal power station worker thrown on the scrap heap, pacing the room, distraught at no longer being able to afford to keep your family warm.

Meanwhile in Point Piper and Toorak the deeply-green Smug and Swank families are enjoying the warmth supplied by under-floor heating throughout every room. But there are no double standards here. They are renewal-energy junkies to their cores. They have taxpayer-subsidised solar panels fitted across their vast roofs, which often earn them a rebate for supplying power to the grid. True, managing this reverse flow of power increases power bills for others, but that’s not their fault.

Madness prevails. Cheered on by green zealots, governments have accepted as settled a tenuous scientific theory, based almost entirely on black-box model predictions which have been seriously astray. If that is not enough, cheered on by carpetbaggers and snake-oil merchants, intermittent, unreliable, ineffective and cripplingly costly renewal power has been foisted on working-class populations scared into compliance.

On the flimsiest basis, the world has been turned upside down. Power bills have soared. Our governments and politicians have shown themselves to be as susceptible to superstition as those in bygone ages who sought the future in the entrails of animals. And then there are those in the broader community who simply accept any old rope handed down from authority. Give them the Little Red Book and they would have been fodder for Mao…”  Knavish Stupidity of the First Degree