Mad Al’s Scottish Power Trip

Guido was wondering how long it would take for Alastair Campbell’s outside interests to crop up now he is back helping out Miliband. Turns out just a few hours. Labour have wasted no time sticking the boot into Scottish Power after they put up energy prices by 8.6% this afternoon. Who does Scottish Power’s PR? That would be Mad Al’s very own Portland Communications. Cosy…

PMQs SKETCH: No More Ladies’ Tennis

What very different reactions to PMQs. Some scored it all Miliband’s way, I gave it half and half, sophisticated pollsters registered everything in between and at either end.

It was, we can agree, less like the Ladies’ tennis we’ve been seeing lately.

Shouty Dave? Perhaps – but then the Speaker organises it that way by letting Labour barrack more loudly. Clever Ed’s cunning questions? Possibly – but there’s still no getting past the comedy teeth and the looming lips.

Ed claimed a consensus on the need to recoup cash from energy company profits – his price freeze or John Major’s windfall tax. John Major who had won a majority, unlike the prime minister. Laughter. Labour resurgent.

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VICTORY: Cameron Promises to “Roll Back” Green Taxes

Guido has spent the last few weeks arguing for green energy tax cuts. This is Green Ed’s cost of living crisis, so it makes sense for the Tories to bin their commitment to these taxes now, and let Miliband be the one who pledges to increase energy prices at the next election should he want to bring them back. Green taxes bump up gas and electricity bills by up to 9%. 

At PMQs Cameron promised he would act:

“Where John Major is absolutely right is that the bills have reached a completely unacceptable level and need to take action on that and we need to help people pay their bills and help to get bills down. We also need to roll back the green charges that he put in place.”

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson confirms: “One way or another, the PM is determined to roll back green levies”.

Just this month Cameron said that green taxes were “necessary”, and of course he was all for them in opposition: “We think the share taken by green taxes should go up. My policy of green energy first is absolutely right”. This is a significant u-turn, but it has potential. Until now the Tories have largely failed to respond to Ed’s energy bill freeze policy. A point driven home in the chamber today. Let’s see what comes of Dave’s promise…

Don Foster’s Afternoon Whip Around

New LibDem chief whip Don Foster should learn when to keep his mouth shut. While topping up his legendary booze cabinet in Westminster Tesco’s early yesterday afternoon, a far from salubrious looking Foster treated himself to 40 black Superkings and a tin of Roses. Lucidly chatting with a flirty woman in a lovely grey tracksuit, Foster bragged to his mystery lady friend how he had kept the LibDems in line over yesterday’s nuclear announcement despite her claims that “it’s basically a subsidy”. It’s not really the job of chief whip to publicly agree that there were internal party ructions. Then again, that is what you get if you appoint your third choice chief…

What Ed Davey Used to Say About Nuclear Power

Ed Davey has been cleaning up his website of any awkward things he might have said before he was Energy secretary. Like when he launched the LibDem energy policy in 2006, under the headline “Say No to Nuclear”:

“A new generation of nuclear power stations will cost taxpayers and consumers tens of billions of pounds.

In addition to posing safety and environmental risks, nuclear power will only be possible with vast taxpayer subsidies or a rigged market.

It is an issue that crops up in my postbag time and time again. People don’t want nuclear…”

Proof if you ever needed it that Davey is a LibDem.

SKETCH: Nuclear Meltdown of LibDem Principles

The Lib Dem mutant formerly known as Ed Davey stood up to make his announcement. The extra organ he had grown in order to accept and promote the use of nuclear power – he kept that under his shirt. But it’s there and it will surely turn on him and eat him up in time to come (or at least by May 2015).

From the look on Michael Fallon’s face on the bench behind, his was the radioactive toxicity that had reorganised the Lib Dem DNA.

The price the department’s paying sounds mad, the conditions onerous and the job forecasts relate almost solely to foreigners.

The radiation had fired up Davey’s political circuits and made him insist that taxpayers weren’t subsidising the project and that – uniquely among large projects – there would be “gainshare” for the public but no “painshare”. By this, he wants us to believe that the public purse isn’t liable for budget overruns and will be credited if the project comes in under budget.

“IF THE PROJECT WHAT?” I hear you scream from here.

Tom Greatrex answered for Labour. His boss Caroline Flint had been detained by a power failure (arf arf). He mocked the ministerial mutation with the thought that the Government line on Labour’s energy policy had been undermined. While Labour wasn’t allowed to freeze energy prices for 20 months, the Government was freezing them for 35 years. Davey said this was economically illiterate.

Davey also said consumers wouldn’t pay over the odds for new nuclear power. That remark will rank along with “Devaluation will not affect the pound in your pocket” and “out of Afghanistan without a shot being fired.”

In Barry Sheerman’s succinct summary: The technology is French, the finance is Chinese and the humiliation is British.

Labour Steal Flagship Tory Policy

Cute of Npower to whack up energy prices by 10.4% on the day a new £16 billion nuclear plant is announced. Up stepped Labour’s Tom Greatrex to have a moan on Sky, no coincidence that he was sporting a grey jumper under his jacket. “In homage to the PM”, says a friend of the shadow energy minister.

Pic via @liarpoliticians.

Dave’s Jumper Stance Unravels

Number 10 are doing their best to unpick the jumper argument. A strong clarification from them this lunchtime:

“It is entirely false to suggest the PM would advise people they should wear jumpers to stay warm. Any suggestion to the contrary is mischief making.”

They now seem to be saying jumpers don’t keep you warm, so are they now recommending we wear less clothes and turn the heating up? What happened to green Dave?

Miliband Needles Dave Biggest Jumper Gaffe Since President Carter

Miliband manages a tight-knit response to Downing Street’s woolly thinking:

“David Cameron yesterday described the rise in prices at British Gas as “disappointing”. Today Downing Street tells people to consider wearing jumpers to keep warm. Their crime policy used to be ‘hug a hoodie’. Now their energy policy appears to be ‘wear a hoodie’. These responses to the energy price rises show how little Mr Cameron and his government stand up for the interests of hard working people.”

He’s not spinning a yarn with this one. Stealing “hardworking people” will really needle Dave.

Guido is reminded of Jimmy Carter’s address to the nation on energy, in which the then President infamously wore a jumper.

It was the end of his limited credibility…

Let Them Wear Jumpers

New Deputy PMOS Scot Marchbank’s first lobby briefing went well then. His Marie Antoinette-esque answer to a question about whether families struggling to deal with rising energy bills should wear jumpers at home: “If people are giving that advice it is something they may wish to consider”. Quite a gaffe to begin with. You can see the Mirror splash already…

FT’s Lex: It Is True Ed’s Green Initiatives Raising Bills


In an interview today with the FT Ed Miliband denied as untrue claims that rising energy bills are in part a consequence of his time as energy secretary, when Green Ed put through the 2008 Climate Change Act – which set carbon reduction targets for the UK and raised green taxes. The FT’s influential Lex columnist in the video above says “it is true”.

WATCH: Fallon’s Taxing Energy Interview

Eamonn Holmes had Michael Fallon squirming in his seat when the Energy minister tried to get away with saying energy taxes were less than half the actual figure this morning:

Safe hands dropping the ball…

Vid via @liarpoliticians.

Green Ed’s Cost of Living Crisis: Admits Your Bills Would Rise

Yesterday Guido dug out Miliband’s interview where he admitted his green policies would force up energy bills, and that he would sacrifice economic growth if it meant he could try to stop climate change. Well it doesn’t end there. Back when he was Energy Secretary, the Labour leader gave the LSE Ralph Miliband lecture. On November 19th 2009, he explicitly confirmed that his policies would see energy bills rise:

“It needs a willingness to take the argument to people about the tough choices involved in tackling climate change. This is the starting point: a willingness to engage with people on, for example, the fact that to deal with the problem of climate change, energy bills are likely to rise.”

That same month Miliband told parliament:

“We need to be candid about the issue because it is a very big challenge. The pressures on energy prices will be upwards in the coming decade'”

Most damning of all, in January 2010:

“Yes, there are upward pressures on energy bills, and that makes life difficult for people, including those in fuel poverty, but it is right that we go down the low-carbon energy route.”

In his own words, Miliband confirms his policies would cause energy price rises. What was that about a cost of living crisis?

Ed Admitted Cost of Living Would Be Increased By His PoliciesWilling to “Lose Six Months of Economic Growth”

Ed Miliband admitted in 2009 that his green taxes would have a direct negative effect on the cost of living.

When pushed by Andrew Marr about the impact of green measures “on the price of energy” and “the price of basic living necessities”, the then Energy Secretary replied: “there are upward pressures on prices, yes”:

Andrew Marr Show, July 13th 2009

AM: A very simple question  when it comes to the price of energy, when it comes to the price of basic living necessities, it may not be £230-a-year as the Sunday Mirror says, but are we or are we not going to have to pay more.

EM: There are upward pressures on prices, yes.

AM: Yes, the answer’s yes.

Later that year at a speech in Poland, Miliband called for the world to “lose three months or six months of economic growth” to act on climate change immediately:

Demos Europa talk at Warsaw School of Economics, October 7th 2009

“The costs of acting on climate change are something like 1% of national income, 1%-2% of national income, by 2050. So we can either lose three months or six months of economic growth, for the world, and act, or we face this huge risk in relation to the cost of adapting to climate change.”

The speech came at the height of the economic crisis, yet as a government minister Miliband was advocating hitting growth in order to pursue climate change policies. In government Ed was happy to raise the cost of living for ideological reasons. This is Green Ed’s cost of living crisis.

Blair Suddenly Silent on Energy

Excellent reverse psychology from Mandelson today, who has done Ed a massive favour by coming out against his energy cap policy. Now it seems Tony Blair agrees with him. A man you cannot usually shut up, has suddenly gone all coy:

 “It seemed to go down very well and was excellently delivered. But I’m not going to comment on the policy”

It’s the kindest thing he could do to help Ed build support…

How Do UK Retail Energy Prices Compare to Rest of Europe?

energy

Click to enlarge.

Miliband says energy price controls, returning to 1970s socialism controlling the commanding heights of the economy, are necessary because of increasingly unacceptable costs to households. But how much do UK households pay for their energy bills in comparison with the rest of Europe? Despite Ed declaring market failure and the need for the state to take control, British energy prices are actually middle of the range among Europe as a whole, and some of the cheapest in western Europe. The likes of Denmark and Germany, with their huge investments in renewable energy, pay far more than us, up to 0.3€ per kWh compared to our 0.17€ per kWh. In western Europe, only Finland, France and Greece have lower household prices. Energy prices are going up for everyone, though the UK still has it far cheaper than most…

How Much Do You Pay in Energy Taxes?

Your average gas and electricity bill has you paying £192 a year in taxes. Bad enough, you would have thought. If we carry on down the same road average bills will rocket to £1,883 by 2020 and £2,920 by 2030. You can calculate just how much you will be paying under current plans using the Taxpayers’ Aliiance’s new energy swindle calculator:

Madness.

Berger’s Climate Change Whopper

“David Cameron hasn’t spoken about climate change for three years” screeches the headline of Luciana Berger’s particularly weak piece for the Staggers today. Just the one problem: she is talking complete rubbish. Obviously a quick Google of “David Cameron climate change” was beyond poor old Luciana, so Guido thought he would help her out. According to They Work For You it turns out Dave has mentioned climate change 32 times in Hansard over the last three years. Hopefully Luciana will learn the lesson of getting your headline right. Rather than chasing headlines and forgetting facts…

Ed Davey Tries to Shut Down Climate Change Debate, Again

When the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change isn’t telling newspapers what they can and cannot write relating to his brief, he just goes for out and out abuse of his opponents. Here is not so liberal or democratic Ed Davey today:

“Of course there will always be those with a vested interest in the status quo who seek to create doubt where there is certainty. And you will always get crackpots and conspiracy theorists who will deny they have a nose on their face if it suits them.”

Davey himself would never have a vested interest, other than last year declaring that his brother works for City law firm Herbert Smith, lawyers to eco-spivs, of course. Some might say going after conflicted climate change sceptics in the week after Tim Yeo was jettisoned and replaced on the Energy and Climate Change select committee by a man with shares in Shell is a bit brave. His entire brief is rotten to the core with MPs with vested interests…

John Hayes Moved From Energy to Number 10

Important changes in Number 10 this morning: no nonsense self-styled personification of blue-collar conservatism John Hayes is to become the PM’s senior party adviser. Presumably to deal with leadership mutterings among the Tory right. Michael Fallon takes over the Energy brief.[…] Read the rest

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