I was stopped in the bread aisle today by a nice lady who wanted me to switch my energy supply to Sainsbury’s. It’s a common thing in the UK and the energy companies are collectively known for the ethical standards they employ when selling their energy plans. It’s not a surprise so many of them sponsor weather bulletins — “Today’s weather is brought to you in association with Happy Energy, because we’re a shower of bastards.”
What’s interesting is the sales pitch that you get as you try and find a loaf. My energy supplier was recommended by Greenpeace. Generally that’s enough to persuade sales people from wasting my time. It’s growing less effective. I demurred saying that I didn’t want to sign anything because I was concerned that there was going to be a push for nuclear power and I’m not convinced it’s a good thing. Sainsbury’s, she assured me, had nothing to do with nuclear power. Sainsbury’s even sold a Green Energy plan.
Sainsbury’s don’t actually have their own power stations, they re-sell and right now they’re reselling for EDF. What was the news when I got home? French energy giant EDF has already said it plans to build four nuclear plants in the UK by 2017, without subsidies, following the government’s announcement. BBC News.
Nuclear power itself is not necessarily a deal killer for me, but being misled about it is. I’m also doubtful about the green nature of Sainsbury’s power. I’m sure they want to invest in renewable resources, but what is a renewable resource? Ask Lord Sainsbury. Lady O’Cathain offered me the opportunity of … agreeing that nuclear is a renewable source of energy — it clearly is so. The Times.
So was the nice lady mis-selling Sainsbury’s energy, or do they have a contract with EDF that the electrons they sell are driven by non-nuclear power?
…or as it’s now named Times Higher Education. If you’re looking for the re-launched THES the you may find it’s moved location in the paper shop. Rather than being stuffed next to the TES and TLS, I found it next to New Scientist, BBC History magazine and those strange magazines with headlines like “Inside the Asian Tiger” which are full of pictures of skyscrapers instead of big cats. It’s re-sized with a shinier cover but they’ve kept the ink which sticks to your fingers if you hold it. My attitude to the shift from paper to magazine is neutral — it’s still a good read. The website however is much better.
There’s usually something to comment on in
the THES THE. The problem has been that the website has been emphatically subscription only which makes linking to it a bit pointless. Reproducing the basic story would also be a chore, as well as bad thing to do from a copyright perspective. That’s changed.
From the week the news stories and archives of THES/THE are open. This means I can link to current stories like the ongoing problems with the RAE as well as the really good opinion pieces which are published, like Susan Bassnett’s Shrinking Volumes. I can also link to the book reviews. Simon Goldhill’s review of James Davidson’s latest book is a must read if you have an interest in Greek sex, which complements Tony Keen’s comments about the book on his weblog. With the archive being open too there’s the opportunity to revisit some older arguments. As an example here’s a book review I might be interested in.
At a stroke I think THE has become a lot more useful. Free access to its coverage of higher education will improve its prestige internationally. I’ll be able to share good bits from Laurie Taylor’s column. It’s good news.
And maximum joy! I’ve just realised I can link to Daniel Lord Smail’s article on Deep History so you can see what he’s written for yourself.