According to Ed Miliband a newly elected Labour Government would freeze gas and electricity bills for every home and business in the UK for 20 months if Labour wins the 2015 election. The big energy firms would also be broken up and would be governed by a new tougher regulator to give people "a fairer deal". Eds says that this plan would will save average households £120 pounds and businesses £1,800 pounds per year and cost the energy giants some £4.5 billion pounds. Apparently the Labour leader said that energy firms had been overcharging "for too long" and that it was time to "reset" the market.
It sounds good, save for the fact the energy market that now exists under the control of the big 6 energy cartel members came into existence when Labour were last in power (with a significant majority). Gordon Brown, initially as Chancellor and then later as Prime Minister did nothing to curb the excessive profits of the large monopolistic energy companies, so why would we seriously expect Ed do anything different.
Potentially this is the first real break in the consensus on the profitable privatised nominally ‘free’ energy market by the Westminster focused political parties – since the late 1980’s. The big 6 have kicked off with warnings (threats) of power blackouts and a lack of investment in the energy sector and the usual former fleet street suspects have kicked off big time with ‘Red Ed’ like headlines. The ‘policy’ may have sounded good on the conference platform yesterday (naturally
it did not go down well with the big 6 cartel members) but it (and Ed) did not quite have sounded so good or so convincing on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning.
The adoption of this new Labour position on energy, may seriously stir things up a bit as Cameron whatever his private (or some of the Conservative Party) feelings are on the matter cannot afford to look like the best mate of the ‘Big 6’ energy cartel members in the run up to the next Westminster General election. The problem is that in office Labour (under
Blair and Brown) adopted not so much ‘a hands off approach’ as ‘a look the other way approach’ to the increasingly excessive profits raked in (at our, the energy customers expense) by the cartel members as long as the Treasury
continued to receive its share of the profits in the form of extra tax.
The applecart may well be truly been upset if the power companies cozy relationship with the political parties ends. Over the years some of the Political parties have got used to some of the perks of having a close relationship with the Power Companies – who sponsor free food at funded functions, glossy paid
adverts in conference brochures, etc. One very old rule that Ed may have forgotten is that once you sell your virtue it stays sold, and once you sell your principles they stay bought and the end result is that the fabric of our
democracy is damaged or tainted.