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« More Wiz from the Kidz - Josh 247 | Main | From the Top. It's Secret - Josh 246 »

The boy who never grew up

I'm not sure if that's Tinkerbell or Captain Flint behind our Ed. (D Catchpole under CC; click for link)

It's hard to credit the idea that anyone could imagine that the Labour party is fit to hold office. Their pledge to freeze energy prices, delivered apparently off the top of Ed Miliband's head, has had the remarkable effect of doing enormous damage to the hopes of keeping the lights on even while Labour remains in opposition. That's quite an achievement and one shudders to think what destruction they might reap if they were actually in power.

Today, they are going to go one step further, launching their energy green paper at Manchester Town Hall.

Mr Miliband will set out a range of energy policies in an attempt to show that Labour’s vision in the area is not restricted to the 20-month price freeze which he announced at party conference in September. He will claim that these represent the biggest shake-up of the energy market since the privatisations of the 1980s.

Mr Miliband’s new plan for an energy security board will be modelled on the Office of Budget Responsibility, the neutral body which ensures that the government’s fiscal promises add up.

Labour would also replace Ofgem, the energy regulator, introduce a new energy “pool” to break the dominance of the big six and improve transparency in both generation and retail markets.

It seems that in the face of a pressing crisis in power generation, Labour is going to propose a few new bureaucracies in which to install their pals and some "eye-catching initiatives". It's the kind of thing you'd expect from schoolchildren or in a non-very-good youth Parliament. Miliband looks increasingly like the boy who never grew up.

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Reader Comments (36)

When they describe 20-month price freeze as a "vision", you know that they are completely out of ideas. As to the shake-up of energy bureaucracies, that's like throwing the cards up in the air again in the hope that this time it'll all fall in the right way. It is hard to read this alleged policy any other way.

Nov 29, 2013 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

We have kids in charge when what this country really needs is a grown-up energy policy. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population has had a dumbed-down education system and cannot see the impending implosion and consequential civil unrest.

"Is that an ice-berg ahead captain?"
"Just get on and rearrange those deck-chairs, damn you."

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:21 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@ Phillip Bratby

It is much easier to re-arrange deck chairs than to re-arrange ice bergs. You would never make a successful politician if you could not recognise a "quick win" when you see one!

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

UKIP are the only party that has a grown-up energy policy

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinlegs

...Their pledge to freeze energy prices, delivered apparently off the top of Ed Miliband's head, has had the remarkable effect of doing enormous damage to the hopes of keeping the lights on even while Labour remains in opposition.

Yes, indeed. very good move on Miliband's part, and probably completely intentional.

When you're in opposition you need to attack the government. Miliband's proposed freeze has forced companies to put up prices and halt investment - thus embarrassing the Tories and making them even more unpopular than they are at the moment. Good move....

Of course, it stuffs the average British subject. But who cares about them? Certainly none of the political parties do...

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

...I'm not sure if that's Tinkerbell or Captain Flint behind our Ed. ...

Actually, it's Wendy...

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Roy: That's right. All the polls say that Miliband wrested the political initiative from the Tories with his original price-freeze idea. This has profound implications in many directions, including whether a vote for UKIP is going to be wise in the general election. That'll be constituency-dependent but we only get one shot to find out. Meanwhile a recent Bish tweet is worth remembering:

When Ed Miliband became Energy Secretary, there were fourteen major power suppliers. When he was done there were six.

The nasty party, friend of the rich, in operation there, surely? We should hammer the point home hard.

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


The biggest obsticle you will have is the broadcast arm (the BBC) and the print arm (The Guardian) of the Labour party will be all over this like a fat chick over a packet of smarties!

IF we actually had a Prime Minister who wasnt just a labour party hack in a different colour who actually cared about this country he would be dismantling the BBC so that they can no longer broadcast labour party propoganda 24/7!

Sadly we dont so Im not going to place any bets as to who will win the next general election!

IF the Government actually cared about the people of this country the most simple thing they could do to cut energy costs would be to repeal Labours Climate Change Act.


Nov 29, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Nov 29, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Mailman
The government is more concerned with taking moral leads than caring about the people of this country. Cameron and Clegg show no more political maturity than Miliband. Exactly who they think they are impressing with this moral lead cr*p I can't imagine - perhaps the absurd Letwin might tell us.

Nov 29, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

I think a lot of people will vote UKIP just to give the finger to the "main" political parties. After all, who can spot any substantive differences between Lib and Con policies, so does it matter which one wins? They are both socialist parties with different labels; both believe in big tax, big borrow and big spend, with centralised decision making, giving all our sovereignty and power to the unelected EU commissars and to hell with the citizens.

Nov 29, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Cameron should abolish all of Milliband's green scams added to bills. If Labour oppose it they can be painted as supporting higher fuel bills. If they don't, we get lower bills and they are embarrassed.


Oh, and abolish VAT on fuel. Fuck the EU. What are they going to do about it?

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

These politicians all call UKIP "nutcases and Fruitcakes" well we will see at the next election.

All bodes well for Cameron, Cleggy and Milliband they should have a landslide, fancy freezing energy bills to get our how dare they.

That is of course unless the lights go out then it will be MURDER at The BALLOT BOX!

We need a change, there is no apparent alternative to UKIP as all three so called main parties have merged into a single feeble entity, it sometime's takes a madness to make other so sense? It's the only way for those of us feeling let down by politicians to revolt in a peaceful way unlike our environmental friends.

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterArtmike

I will (reluctantly) be voting UKIP.

This is because the two main parties views on the (non-existent) dangers of climate change and "green" energy are essentially two cheeks of the same behind.

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"It's the kind of thing you'd expect from schoolchildren". Or from 5 year olds at the KinderGarden.

Evan Sayet, a conservative comedian and satirist, made a great speech in 2007 at the Heritage Foundation.
That was the foundation for his book KinderGarden Of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks.
"The Modern Liberal is convinced that, if only he could eliminate the need for intellect and toil, then his life and everyone else’s would be just like Eden was for Adam and Eve, and the kindergarten was for him and his friends."

“If they weren’t so dangerous and destructive, one could smile and pat the Modern Liberal on the head and tell him how cute he is and go on about the business of being an adult. But he is dangerous and destructive, with the True Believer’s very purpose being the total destruction of everything that God and science—most obviously Western Civilization—has ever created. ...The Modern Liberal will invariably and, in fact, inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.”
(quote copied from this review

BTW At 42:50 of the speech Evan said: "I am convinced that global warming is not a position that they have arrived at throug a honest an sincere look at the scientific data..."

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndré van Delft

I respect all those saying that they intend to vote for UKIP at the next election but I wasn't calling that into question at all. Let's give the three main parties something to think about at the EU elections. The next general election I think may have to be a different thing, dependent on constituency. And Miliband has done one good thing: he's got Cameron off his arse on energy, so to speak. Realising 'green crap' existed was a inevitable second stage.

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The crux of the matter is that irrespective of what any of the main parties say, they are all beholden to the EU and in energy terms this means adhering to Directive 2009/28/EC. This mandates the proportion of each member state's energy to be derived from renewables by 2020.

Interestingly the amount by which the UK has to increase its proportion of renewable energy is one of the largest of all European states bar a couple of the smaller ones.

See Annex 1...

(Incidentally a cursory scan of the main body of the directive provides most of the soundbites of recent years involving increasing jobs and investment and energy diversification and security).

Not to mention the Large Combustion Plant Directive which is responsible for shutting down our coal stations.

All courtesy of the EU and slavishly followed by the main parties.

It's UKIP for me even though it's unlikely to make much difference in my constituency, however I don't have a choice and abstention is taken as apathetic agreement.

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:39 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

The irony was, handing the monopoly of energy regulation to only one regulator.

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Sorry, but are Miliband's proposals any worse than the shambles of the new LibCon energy bill? In all honesty I'm seeing very little substantive policy difference between the coalition and the previous Labour government: Tax, borrow, spend, climate hysteria, open door immigration and continuing surrender of our democracy to EU dictatorship. At this stage I feel a Labour government under Miliband may be the best option, allowing a proper Conservative to take back control of the Tory party from the Europhiles, form an alliance with UKIP, giving us some chance of winning of a vote for freedom in any future EU referendum. If Cameron's LibCon win again we'll have both the government and opposition and the entire left-wing crony-capitalist establishment campaigning to surrender all control to the EU - with all the FUD they can muster. What hope for a sane energy policy then?

Nov 29, 2013 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Well I heard Caroline Flint on the radio news this morning - "we will legislate to freeze prices - definitely".

That will increase investment won't it?

What a shambles.

@Phillip Bratby

Deck-chairs on the Titanic. Damn you beat me to it again.

Nov 29, 2013 at 6:47 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Since Milliband is going to have a price freeze on energy for 20months, why is he stopping there? Why doesn't he have a 10% price cut for 5 years? Or why stop at a 10% price cut for 5 years, when he could go for a 50% price cut for 10 years or a 90% price cut for 20 years. Think of the benefit of a 90% price cut for 20 years. It would eliminate fuel poverty and would do marvellous things for industry and the economy. I hope I'm not giving him ideas, but it must be very difficult for him to decide that 0% for 20 months is the optimum solution when in his command economy he has so many choices to choose between.

Nov 29, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@Chilli - Absolutely bang on. They are all useless from left to right.

I have said it before - we now live in an ineptocracy


"A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the
members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers" - you can get the T-Shirt.

The top 1% of taxpayers pay 28% of the Income tax and NI. The top 10% pay 70% of same. The bottom 50% (probably includes me now in retirement) do not pay enough to cover the Housing Benefit bill - and getting worse as basic rate limit rises and higher rate limit falls. There are huge numbers of entitlement junkies now who think they should have more of other peoples' money. The welfare budget, as declared, doesn't contain the middle-class welfare handouts on the spreadsheet - those well paid non-jobs in the public sector and QUANGOs.

The same problem is developing in the USA where half the population pays no income tax but votes for those who they perceive will handout the most - of course Mitt Romney got pilloried for saying this in the Presidential Election - mind you it doesn't help when you are in party which has a wild section of nutters.

Nov 29, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave


It's nice to leaven the 'government are idiots' posts with a few 'opposition are just as bad' ones too.

Nov 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I wonder if the Labour energy policy will be as wonderful as the Lib Dim one that we reviewed a few months ago.

One of the problems is that the EU are the real government leaving our useless MPs playing around the fringes with no real grasp of what they are doing or the implications for the country. However, the EU is following its own agenda which has little in common with the wishes of most Brits unless your name is Clegg.

We really do live in desperate times.

Followers of Richard North's Blog will realise that the UKIP option is not great either. Without a credible exit plan, any EU referendum will be lost by the sceptics because the scaremongers will frighten the public and businesses need to buy into a vision that they can support. That vision means little change and maybe some gain from their perspective.

Funny how the EU and climate change have so much in common and in my experience, warming sceptics are also EU sceptics. Perhaps the best option would be for the conservatives to split and the sceptical part to merge with UKIP to form a new party.

One could imagine a policy to be in the single market through EEA and EFTA, but out of the EU. Like Australia, scrap useless green legislation. Go for fracking with proper controls. Scrap useless green forms of energy that only exist because of a rigged market. We should set up some independent scientific commission to assess the true scientific facts and uncertainties of global warming.

We should seek global trade and rebuild our trading relationship with the old Commonwealth as well as the fast developing economies. The future could be bright, but it would need good leaders with vision. We don't have any.

Also, this is pie in the sky because it isn't going to happen because UKIP will not win seats, the Tories will lose and Labour will win. I sincerely hope that the Lib Dims will disappear up somewhere where solar insolation is zero.

However, once Labour get in, Cameron will resign and the Tory party will either implode or better still, rip itself apart. This is the opportunity for cleavage along sceptical lines and possibly the spark that ignites the light at the end of a very long tunnel...

Nov 29, 2013 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat


The Liberals are dead in the water at the next GE, their only hope would be an alliance with Libour, oh how neatly that name sits, but they will be out voted easily by UKIP which means that a Conservative/UKIP alliance against a Lib/Lab
alliance will open the political spectrum up to show a bit of water between the main parties.
Then it is down to us, we return to the 'it's my privilege because I'm owed' culture or we get a grip and build an entrepreneurial society that gets off it's arse and proves that we can be better than our forefathers at providing for our dependents.

Challenge, yes life is always a challenge, nanny state is for those who aren't up to the challenge, like charity!

Nov 29, 2013 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

retireddave, very much agree that the problem is that ALL the politicians are singing from the same hymn sheet. The Tea Party is interesting in some ways - started out as the Taxed Enough Already groundroots, with a similarity to UKIP in some ways, but regrettably was hijacked by the evangelical lot, as far as I can see. It's a bit scary that, with some honourable exceptions here, people with our sort of mindset are not able to do more, partly because we're not prepared to lie or pretend to have strong views in order to go with the flow to gain electoral advantage, partly beacuse we're a bit quiet, or too busy. I have nothing but respect for people like the Bish and Watts etc on the blog front, and Philip Bratby on the windmill side (and many others too) for having the time and commitment to do what they do. If only we had politicians, of any hue, who showed the same mettle. \ rant over

Nov 29, 2013 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

@ Don Keillor "...essentially two cheeks of the same behind."

And whichever one you lift, you only get hot air.

Nov 29, 2013 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell


America, religion and politics deserves more than a brief blog post but I doubt the Tea party experience can be transferred to the UK.

I think Yeats had your more general political point nailed a hundred years ago:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Nov 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

The Labour Party have launched a "energy green paper". So I went to look for it.
Tried at, which announces

The Energy Green Paper sets out the steps a One Nation Labour government will take while we reset the market during the 20 month price freeze to ensure energy is affordable and available...

But no link on the site to a pdf, neither a link to a shop where I might procure a paper copy of the green paper.
At the BBC there is a video of Ed Miliband saying
...and what Britain needs is Labour's strong and credible plan, that we are publishing today, to freeze energy prices until 2017 and reform a broken energy market so it properly works for business and families.

But no link at the BBC, nor the Mirror, nor Guardian, nor Sky News, nor a number of other websites that have run the story. Maybe Bish you could link to it here.

Nov 29, 2013 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

woodentop, I'm with you there as a passionate agnostic, on the grounds that I find Dawkins almost as excruciating as evangelical religionists of any variety. Many people find comfort in religion, so I have no issue with it, provided that its influence is limited within reasonable bounds. I object to Dawkins, even if his lack of belief may be similar to mine, because his atheism is also almost a religion.

Sorry about the OT, bish.

Kevin, whatever it is, it'll be unfunded (banker taxes again, maybe, for the tenth time), irrational and full of unintended consequences.

Nov 29, 2013 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

Stick to climate change science Andrew or you'll lose some readers. Partizan Tory politicking has no place on this site!

Nov 30, 2013 at 2:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterTonyB

"Conservative MP Tim Yeo has been deselected by his constituency party.

The decision was made by the South Suffolk Conservative Association in a secret ballot on Friday evening."

Nov 30, 2013 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter


If your only news about the Tea Party has come from the MFM alphabet outlets then its no surprise you think they have been overtaken by what ever it is you mean by Evangelicals?

The image portrayed by the MFM couldnt be any further from the truth, especially when you consider the image the MFM sent out about its favoured Occupy movement!

This country could only wish it had something as strong the Tea Party movement to inject some reality in to politics in this country!


Nov 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Nov 30, 2013 at 2:55 AM | TonyB

But Climate Change IS political, the science was left far behind when it morphed from the untenable AGW.
I glean no tory bias from the thread above but rather an exasperated sense of futility against voting for any of the three main parties whose complicit venality encouraged by the MSM becomes more apparent every day.
Some reluctantly advocate voting UKIP as the only alternative yet fear that in so doing they might unleash Cerberus the two Edded dog that is the Labour party in coalition with Clegg, the bane of the countryside.
For my part I will vote UKIP for the EU elections and hope that together with sufficient others a sea change in politics is effected at that time.
Then let us see over the next twelve months where lies the high ground.
We the electorate have nothing to lose by such action that was not lost already by the succession of immutable European treaties which shackle our lives today and compromise our future tomorrows.

Nov 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterroger


“Tory politicking”? With the greatest respect, I think you’re letting your own prejudices cloud your judgement a little here. I don’t see any “Tory politicking”. What I see is the Bish having a bit of a go at little Ed and the Labour Party. Last week he was having a go at Cameron and the Cabinet. In the recent past, Clegg and his Lib Dems, as well as Yeo, Deben, Davey, Huhne and all sorts of other members of the HOC and the HOL of all parties have come under the cosh. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that the Bish originally intended to blog on politics and blogging on AGW just sort of happened.

Nov 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Nov 30, 2013 at 2:55 AM | TonyB

If it wasn't for the fact that most of our political masters have either used the AGW alarmist scam as a way of gouging more taxes out of the public or actually joining the AGW troughers - and worse - joining in to get votes or manipulating social policy, then you'd be correct. However, that's not the way it is, AGW alarmism IS politics and nothing else.

Only UKIP doesn't fall for it.

Nov 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

You have no choice,but to vote UKIP.They are the only party that have said they will exit the EU Mafia.Even if they don't win they may get enough seats to put pressure on the Lib/Lab/Dems.

Dec 1, 2013 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterclive

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