Campaign Report: 22 Days to Go

oil rig

Leave message: Government would axe fuel VAT post-Brexit.

Remain message: Lord Sugar says Remain’s better for business.

Cut through: Fuel VAT cut post-Brexit.

Leave social media count: 434,209 likes, 48,062 followers.

Remain social media count: 440,282 likes, 31,838 followers.

Odds: Remain 1/3, Leave 3/1

Latest poll: Remain 44%, Leave 47% (ICM, phone). Poll of Polls is now Remain 52%, Leave 49%.

Amber Warning: Rudd’s Russia Dud

Osborne ally Amber Rudd is increasingly used as a telly spokesman on energy and Europe – she should know her stuff since her brother is Remain spinmeister Roland. Though speaking to Justin Webb on the Today Programme, Amber did Remain no favours:

JW: “Why is Vladimir Putin still a problem for us if we leave the EU?”

AR: “Because Russia exports a lot of gas to the rest of Europe, we access our gas through Europe and by 2030-“

JW: “Through Norway, most of it”

AR: “Yes, well Norway is in Europe…”

JW: “But it’s outside the European Union”

AR: “But inside the internal energy market…”

The UK is 49.5% sufficient in natural gas with Norway supplying 55% of imported gas. Russia of course provides a nominal proportion of UK energy…

Rudd went on to claim Brexit would cause a “massive electric shock” and then weaponised the spectre of Fukushima:

“The thing about the gas market is you don’t know what shocks and what changes there can be to it. In Japan, after the Fukushima incident the LNG market for gas went through the roof, because all had to go to Japan. You don’t know what shocks there are…”

Remain weaponises a second human tragedy in as many days…

DECC Ready To Frack

frack to business amber rudd

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is beefing up its Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil to push ahead with a revitalised fracking agenda. Free from the shackles of Ed Davey, the OUGO are already advertising for three Senior Policy Advisors to help put the framework in place to support the shale gas industry – something that is high on new chief Amber Rudd’s agenda. The age of cheap energy is dawning…

Labour Still Promising to “Freeze” Energy Bills as Election Pledge

Labour abandoned their flagship “energy price freeze” when they realised the shambolic pledge would keep energy bills artificially high after the drop in the price of oil. Apparently it was only ever meant to be ‘a cap’, despite the party handing out hundreds of tiny ice cubes saying “Freeze that Bill” at their party conference.

It seems the Brewer’s Green literature department did not get the memo:

This leaflet has gone out in marginal seats this week…

With the promise to keep bills artificially high until 2017 a top election pledge…

Government Cave In to Labour’s Fracking Regulations

The government has caved in and accepted Labour’s amendments on fracking rather than lose tonight’s vote, meaning no drilling will happen until 13 new safeguards are met. A Labour Party on the run from the Greens put a cheap political stunt before cheap energy in the middle of a freezing cold January. And they wonder why people don’t trust them? Fracking hippies…

Reeves Abandons Labour’s Price Freeze: “World Has Changed”

Brillo was another happy reader this morning, skewering Rachel Reeves on Labour’s energy price “freeze” spin. Reeves admits things were different “at the time“, and says that now “the world has changed”. She also confirmed the “cap” is a new policy:

AN: “I think honesty matters here… When you announced this policy the only fear was that prices were going up. It never crossed your mind that wholesale prices might come down… so you used the language ‘freeze’ and you never used the language ‘cap’. Now you’ve been forced to change. I think it would be honest if you admitted that… Did you use the word cap?”

RR: “We didn’t use the word cap.”

Ed’s flagship policy is in tatters…

Via @liarpoliticians

Labour Scrap Crap Energy Price Freeze

Labour have quietly ditched their flagship energy price freeze policy after falling prices mean their genius master plan would actually leave consumers paying more. A truth-stretching Labour spokesman tells the Sun: “it has always been a cap”, rather than a freeze. Which is presumably why this page titled “Freeze That Bill” still exists on the Labour Party website, vowing “we’ll freeze your bills”.

Who would have thought Labour’s Chavista attempt to dictate prices would end up costing consumers more?

Via Rob Oxley

Big Oil Freebie for Conflicted Energy Committee Baronet

Regular readers will remember Sir Robert Smith’s attempts to follow in the sleazy footsteps of Tim Yeo, namely the conflict of interest between the LibDem baronet’s position on the Energy select committee and his registrable shareholdings in Shell, Rio Tinto and Glaxosmithkline. Financial interest, tick! What next for Sir Bob at the Yeo School of Milking Your Cushy Energy Job for Personal Gain?

Well, Smith has just declared to the parliamentary authorities that BP generously paid for him and his wife to go to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. No expense spared, natch. Freebie from big oil, tick! Robert will be be back scrutinising the laws that regulate BP next week…

Davey’s New Green Projects to Cost Taxpayer £1.4 Billion a Year

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has today unveiled eight new major renewables projects which he says will be funded by £12 billion of private sector investment to “boost green growth and green jobs“. Renewable projects are guaranteed a price for the power they produce, meaning that the difference between the guaranteed price and the price on the market is subsidised by the taxpayer.[…]


Peter Lilley Fails to Declare Little List of Energy Interests

Number 10 policy board adviser Peter Lilley regularly bigs up big oil in speeches to parliament, bemoaning climate change laws that “require us to replace cheap fossil fuels with energy sources that are at least twice as expensive and less reliable” last September and then going after vested interests in November:

“Politicians and environmental campaigners have a vested interest in fanning that suspicion to divert attention from the increases in the cost of energy that the political elite are planning in the move to increasingly costly renewables, with the added costs that they impose on the transmission network.”

What Lilley didn’t mention on either occasion was his own vested interest as the £47,000-a-year non-executive director of Tethys Petroleum Limited, an oil and gas exploration company based in Central Asia.[…]


Gove Outrider Attacks Osborne’s Budget

Henry de Zoete, the former DfE SpAd who was Michael Gove’s media man, has founded and runs an energy switching campaign called The Big Deal. It’s pretty clever – essentially a mass lobby organisation for lower energy prices. Interestingly Osborne had barely sat down by the time The Big Deal had sent out a press release “respond[-ing] sceptically” to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement that he would freeze the Carbon Floor Price, saying it “won’t help consumers” because of the Big Six and their nefarious ways.[…]


Government Trade Envoy’s £60,000 Conflict of Interest Charles Hendry’s Oil Job Linked to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

Tory MP Charles Hendry has been a busy coining it since he was sacked as Energy minister, landing a £48,000 windfall from wind energy giants Forewind and hobnobbing with Hanover lobbyists and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. On top of that, Hendry has now bagged another outside job as a consultant at oil giants Vitol.[…]


Last Person to Leave Venezuela Please Turn Out the Lights

Over in free and prosperous Venezuela last night, moderate and reasonable President Maduro addressed the nation on television. As he laid out his socialist vision of glorious revolution and the bright red future, large swathes of the country were plunged into darkness as crippling power cuts took out its oil refineries.[…]


Davey Pockets Private Jet Cash as Holiday Tax Soars

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey recently encountered some turbulence when his department were exposed as hypocrites for making air travel more expensive for holiday goers while charging two domestic flights a day to the taxpayer. Now Guido can reveal Davey has even more baggage.[…]


SKETCH: Energy Committee Lacking Energy, Power, Illumination

You’d pay quite a levy or premium on your fuel bill to wipe the smirk off their management faces.

It wasn’t a grilling. Parliament couldn’t afford the fuel. It was a little light poaching. It was coddling.

Wither-ringing quote of the day from Labour’s Ian Lavery: “How can the profits be fair if people can’t afford to pay them!”

Faced with such a confused and under-informed committee (Energy and Climate Change) the energy bosses realised they could say anything they liked.[…]


Cam and Clegg’s Own Energy Con

Dave is aiming to halve green levies, so says the Times splash this morning. Delve a little deeper though and this may not be the good news it seems. In order to satisfy Clegg, Cameron is considering simply shifting the money raised from green taxes on energy bills into general taxation.[…]


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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

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