Monty Python’s Black Knight Redux – energy policy version

Published 23 Oct 2012


“I am Arthur, King of the Guardian Readers. I seek the finest and the bravest knights in the land to join me in building my Clean Energy Camelot. Will you join me?” Musings on UK energy policy, with acknowledgements to Monty Python.

ARTHUR:You fight with the strength of many men, Sir fossil fuel industry.


I am Arthur, King of the Guardian Readers.


I seek the finest and the bravest knights in the land to join me in building my Clean Energy Camelot.


You have proved yourself worthy; will you join me?


You make me sad. So be it. Come, Leggett.

BLACK KNIGHT: None shall question gas.


BLACK KNIGHT: None shall question gas.

ARTHUR: I have no quarrel with you, good Sir knight, but I must build these wind farms.

BLACK KNIGHT: Then you shall die.

ARTHUR: I command you as King of the Guardian Readers to stand aside!

BLACK KNIGHT: I move for no man.

ARTHUR: So be it!


[parry thrust]

[ARTHUR after a short battle proves that gas has driven up UK utility bills]

ARTHUR: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.

BLACK KNIGHT: ‘Tis but a scratch.

ARTHUR: A scratch? Over-reliance on gas leaves the country exposed to international prices!

BLACK KNIGHT: No, it doesn’t.

ARTHUR: Well, what’s happened to utility bills then?

BLACK KNIGHT: Green charges are worse.

ARTHUR: You liar!

BLACK KNIGHT: Come on you pansy!


[parry thrust]

[ARTHUR demonstrates that North Sea gas output is in decline and the UK is now a net importer

ARTHUR: Victory is mine! [kneeling] We thank thee Lord, that in thy merc-

[BLACK KNIGHT hits ARTHUR with an oilfield decommissioning tax rebate while he is praying]

BLACK KNIGHT: Come on then.


BLACK KNIGHT: Have at you!

ARTHUR: You are indeed brave, Sir knight, but the fight is mine.

BLACK KNIGHT: Oh, had enough, eh?

ARTHUR: Look, you stupid bastard, you’ve got no rationale left.



BLACK KNIGHT: Just a flesh wound.

[Starts importing gas at from around the world, in competition with rising Asian demand]

ARTHUR: Look, stop that.

BLACK KNIGHT: Chicken! Chicken!

ARTHUR: Look, I’ll have your leg. Right! [whop]

BLACK KNIGHT: Right, I’ll do you for that!

ARTHUR: You’ll what?

BLACK KNIGHT: Come ‘ere!

ARTHUR: What are you going to do, turn Lancashire into one huge gas field?

BLACK KNIGHT: I’m invincible!

ARTHUR: You’re a loony.

BLACK KNIGHT: The fossil fuel industry always triumphs! Have at you! Come on then.


[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT’s other leg off]

BLACK KNIGHT: All right; we’ll call it a draw.

ARTHUR: Come, Leggett.

BLACK KNIGHT: Oh, oh, I see, running away, ‘eh? … You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to you…. I’ll bite your pylons off!

Musings on the Kyoto Protocol, with acknowledgements to Monty Python


Before I get a torrent of abuse from the gas boosters or hugs from the “environmental Taliban” (an equally scary prospect), let me make quite clear: the UK needs a nuanced mix of renewable energy, nuclear, gas and some oil, based on a foundation of dramatic improvements in energy efficiency. And yes, we should go ahead and try fracking, properly regulated and with full disclosure of data on fluids, costs and results. We are going to need gas for a very long time, particularly since 2/3 of our energy is used in transport, heating and industry, and only 1/3 in power generation. What we don’t need is a policy process based on Punch-and-Judy politics or captured by lobbyists of either side.