Tha margaidh a’ chumhachd cho ceàrr sa ghabhas, le Murray MacLeòid

Chan eil fhios a'm an lùiginn a bhith nam oifigear naidheachd aig BP no Shell an-dràsta, no gin sam bith eile dhe na companaidhean mòra cumhachd, a dh’aindheoin a' phàighidh mhòir a tha fhios a tha a' tighinn le leithid a dhreuchd.

Le tòrr cumhachd a-nis a’ tighinn bho thuathan-gaoithe, aig muir agus air tìr, cha bu chòir dha leitheid na h-eileanan a bhith pàigheadh barrachd son an cuid dealain.
Le tòrr cumhachd a-nis a’ tighinn bho thuathan-gaoithe, aig muir agus air tìr, cha bu chòir dha leitheid na h-eileanan a bhith pàigheadh barrachd son an cuid dealain.

Tha an dà chompanaidh sin an teas mheadhan stoirm chonnspaideach an dèidh dha a thighinn am bàrr gun robh iad air prothaidean de $12.8 agus $19 billean dolar a dhèanamh an-uiridh – agus aig àm nuair a tha luchd-ceannach a' dol a dh’fhaicinn àrdachadh de 50% ann am prìsean cumhachd.

Tha na faclan a bh’ aig àrd-oifigear BP Bernard Looney na bu thràithe, gu bheil àrdachadh ann am prìsean mar “inneal-cruthachaidh airgid” dhaibh-san, a’ coimhead borb agus gun mhodh ri taobh a' ghoirteis a tha a' dol a thighinn air iomadach teaghlach.

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Tha e duilich dhan duine àbhaisteach ciall a dhèanamh dhe na prothaidean a tha companaidhean mar BP no Shell a’ cruthachadh, no na diofar chìsean a tha man coinneimh, ach nuair a smaoinicheas tu gu bheil na companaidhean sin a’ faighinn barrachd bhon sporan phoblach, tro thaic an Riaghaltais, na tha iad a’ cur air ais ann an cìsean, ‘s beag an t-iongnadh gum biodh fearg ann.

Tha adhbharan math ann taic a thoirt dha na companaidhean gluasad gu teicneòlas uaine, gu h-àraid nuair a tha an teicneòlas sin fhathast ga leasachadh. Ach, chan eil e mì-reusanta a bharrachd beagan a bharrachd dhe na prothaidean aca iarraidh a chur ri cuideachadh nan daoine as bochda nar measg.

Bheir “tiodhlac shòisealta” air mar ainm, no “cogais na poblachd”, no rud sam bith eile a thogras tu, ach thathas fada seachad air an àm rudeigin a dhèanamh airson dèiligeadh leis an ana-ceartas ann am prìsean cumhachd.

Sin as coireach gu bheil cìs as ùire air na companaidhean an-dràsta fhèin a’ dèanamh barrachd ciall na an taic bheag do theaghlaichean a tha an Riaghaltas a’ moladh.

A thuilleadh air dèiligeadh leis an àrdachadh ann am prìs, tha feum air atharrachadh nas bunaitaiche air an t-siostam – mar eisempleir, carson a tha sinne anns na sgirean dùthchail a’ pàigheadh barrachd airson ar cumhachd.

Tha seo tro shiostam sònraichte a tha a' ciallachadh mar as fhaide a tha thu bho far a bheil an cumhachd ga chruthachadh, ‘s ann as motha a tha agad ri phàigheadh mar thoradh gu bheil e a’ cosg barrachd a thoirt ann. Cuimhnich g’ eil e ag iarraidh fada a bharrachd taighean a chumail blàth ann an Sealtainn na tha ann Siorrachd Pheàirt agus le cumhachd ath-nuadhachail a’ fàs nas bitheanta chan eil seo idir cothromach, ma bha idir.

Tha an t-àrdachadh ann am prìsean an-dràsta ri linn ‘s mar a tha margaidh an t-saoghail air gluasad air falbh bho ghuail agus a-nall gu gas. Ach chan eil a bhith a' gluasad bho aon sheorsa cumhachd a tha dona dhan àrainneachd gu cumhachd nach eil buileach cho dona idir na fhreagairt agus e dìreach a’ sealltainn mar a dh’fheumar gluasad gu cumhachd ath-nuadhachail cho luath sa ghabhas.

Tha an èiginn ann an cumhachd an-dràsta ag iarraidh freagairt agus tòrr a bharrachd na tha Riaghaltas Bhreatainn a’ moladh ‘s cruadail gu bith ma choinneimh iomadach teaghlach.

Ach tha cuideachd cothrom ann dèiligeadh le ana-ceartas nas fharsainge sa mhargaidh, rud nach dèan na companaidhean leotha fhèin idir - mura feum iad tro iarraidh phoblachd. Tha cìs an-dràsta fhèin na thòiseach-tòiseachaidh reusanta a dh’ionnsaidh sin.

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

Despite the no doubt comfortable salary attached, I’m not sure I’d fancy being on the communications team of BP or Shell right now, or any of the other big energy companies.

Both these UK-headquartered global giants are facing a public relations storm after it was revealed that last year’s profits were a cool $12.8 billion and $19 billion respectively – and at a time when consumers are bracing themselves for a 50 per cent rise in energy bills.

An earlier boast by BP chief executive Bernard Looney that increased prices had turned them into a “cash machine” now looks spectacularly glib and insensitive given the looming cost of living crisis.

It is hard for the layman to properly digest the eye-watering profits of global giants like BP or Shell, or to understand the tax regime under which they operate, but when, according to campaign group Uplift, the public – through tax rebates – pay these companies more than they get back, while consumer bills soar, it’s hard not to feel a sense of resentment.

There is, of course, very good reason to encourage these fossil fuel companies to switch to new green technologies, and it makes sense to have some kind of assistance from the public purse while these are still emerging.

But it’s hardly unreasonable, either, to expect more of these massive profits to be used to help the poorer in society. You can call it a social levy, or a public trade-off, or any other term you wish, but it’s way past time something of its kind was done to deal with growing inequalities, with energy prices a major part of that.

That’s why a windfall tax on these companies makes more sense than a government pay-out direct to households, and for a variety of reasons.

As well as addressing the immediate price hike that’s coming for households, there’s a need for wider reform – such as why those of us in rural areas face significantly higher prices for our basic energy needs.

This is through an electricity surcharge which means the further away from the centres of power generation you are, the more you’ll pay on the principle that it costs more to get it there. But it takes a lot more energy to heat a house in Shetland than it does in St Andrews and with the market moving towards renewables, particularly offshore wind, this surcharge is completely unjustifiable – if there ever really was a case for it in the first place.

The current price hike is as a result of a global move away from coal to gas, but moving from one damaging fossil fuel to one slightly less damaging is not sustainable long-term and only underlines the need to hasten the transition to renewables, where Shell and BP will undoubtedly still play a huge part.

The current crisis requires immediate action and a lot more than what the UK government is proposing, as families face a gruelling few months.

But it also presents an opportunity to try and address some long-standing inequalities in the marketplace, something which the companies left to their own devices simply will not do. Therefore they must be given the public imperative to do so. A windfall tax is a good starting point.

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