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I think iDave has just lost the next general election

The current lead story for the Daily Telegraph highlights the mixture of hauteur, obduracy and paternalism of an administration which has enacted policies designed to force up energy bills (for those dubious CAGW reasons) and is now trying to advise the public on the results:

David Cameron believes that millions of people facing rising energy bills should consider “wrapping up warm” and wearing jumpers, Downing Street has said.

The comments are likely to provoke anger from people struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

The last sentence belongs in the “no shit, Sherlock” category.

Heating bills are as high as they are in large part because energy is produced not, by and large, under unfettered laissez faire capitalism – as it should be – but in rigged and heavily taxed conditions. The details are complex, but as far as the UK goes, it has been a Conservative/Labour/Liberal Democrat consensus that certain types of energy (carbon-based) should be heavily taxed. Taxes are costs and as the simplest businessman will know, such costs will either manifest themselves in higher prices, or lower output of services/products, or weaker returns on investment, or some combination of all three. There are, of course, other reasons for high energy bills, such geopolitics and our reliance on sources of oil, for example, from the Middle East.

We have an electricity industry that is now very close to not being able to cope with a harsh winter, according to various press reports. The government, unable or unwilling to be honest with itself about the issue, or face up to the mounting evidence about the dubious science on which anti-carbon ideas are based, is reduced to lecturing the public about wearing more clothes.

The former US president, Jimmy Carter, is remembered for some lamentable things in American life (although in fairness he did at least appoint Paul Volcker to the Fed and some industries got deregulated under Carter’s term). And one thing this man is remembered for is how he wore a woolly jumper in the White House to save on heating bills. He wasn’t doing that out of frugal fiscal policy, which might have been admirable, but because of the-then energy crisis to which his own policies contributed. (Price controls, etc).

David Cameron had better realise that a repeat of an energy crunch in the next year or so (blackouts, freezing weather, people dying of cold), will finish him off and his style of politics for some time to come. As for the rest of us, the demise of his brand of  Toryism cannot come a moment too soon. A couple of years ago, when he and his finance minister were making nasty noises about the need to tax low-cost flights, I was reminded of that remark that the Duke of Wellington is said to have made about the-then new railways – he disliked trains as they encouraged the masses to move about. I cannot help but notice a certain parallel with how Cameron views the public – except that Wellington won a lot of battles.

41 comments to I think iDave has just lost the next general election

  • Blackouts are unlikely due to the STOR system – a hugely inefficient network of heavily-subsidised diesel generators to provide emergency back-up to our hugely inefficient network of heavily-subsidised wind turbines.

    But energy bills will continue to rise and so will the death toll from every spell of cold weather, as more and more people freeze to death because they can’t afford to keep their heating on. That is the most likely trigger for a long-overdue backlash against Cameron and CAGW dogma. The only danger is that the politicians might succeed in scapegoating the energy companies, which might result in a Labour government under “Red Ed” Miliband which would introduce price controls and create an even worse mess.

  • RogerC

    Or, God forbid, they might try to nationalise it. Whether they then fund it out of general taxation or not, you can guarantee that the cost of providing each Kw/hr will go up if that happens.

    I’d run, but it seems like there’s nowhere to run to anymore.


  • I am sure Millipede will take back the doh initiative from Dave. They seem to be competing for the biggest nitwit.

  • Peter Whale

    The death toll of the elderly who have had to chose between eat and heat should be the rallying call amongst the civilized people of any country where wealth is taken from the poor and given to the rich and environmental organizations who have a monetary and political agenda. This current government and the preceding administration should be ridiculed and prosecuted for their hubristic and fatal decisions. I relish the day when their ill conceived policies are consigned to history as will they, when they are castigated for the evil they have forced upon their citizens.

  • Paul Marks

    I keep hoping that it was all a bad dream and David Davis really won the leadership election.

  • RAB

    David Cameron… The Val Doonican of British politics.

  • Regional

    Only about 15% of the people have CDF there are none in Westminster.

  • Regional

    Also Wellington didn’t steal from the people, they were paid.

  • Rich Rostrom

    There was a Labour spokesman in the 1940s who got into deep trouble during the coal shortage. He suggested people should cope by taking fewer baths – as he did.

    Churchill was all over this of course – “the government can hardly wonder why they are getting into bad odour”, and something about how “lousy” might be applied without violating Parliamentary courtesy.

    It was a major embarrassment for Labour; and seriously damaged that guy’s career, IIRC.

    One can only hope it does the same for Camaroon.

  • Pardone

    The energy cartel will continue to raise prices regardless of any environmental gubbins, that’s just a feeble excuse used by Tory ninnies to distract from the fact that what we have is a foreign owned cartel rigging the market and spreading the consumer’s ass-cheeks. They serve their shareholders and their governments. Nothing will cause them to reduce prices as the shareholders demand bigger profits.

    The Big Six “companies” (one of them is in fact the French government) are also wholesale suppliers/generators, so they can effectively control the market.

    Anyone who thinks the cartel (who all raise prices by the same amount, a very clear collusion and conspiracy against the consumer) will reduce prices is a pea-brained moron. This will only change when people have their own power sources.

  • Pardone

    Let me add that the sentimental bleating about the elderly is emotional drivel. The notion that the elderly are somehow superior, saintly beings is a load of twee soft bigotry, often masking a veiled hatred of the young.

  • Trofim

    I’m amazed to hear that people don’t wear warm clothes in the winter, anyway. Is there something odd about wearing a jersey indoors?

  • Trofim

    How are your mum and dad then? Say hello from me.

  • Alisa

    Respect thy Petri Dish.

  • Trofim

    Pardone: Do you work in one of those care homes that have been in the news then? I haven’t got any veiled hatred for the young. If I had my way I’d shoot em all. But don’t tell Mr Plod.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Although it had a greenie slant, the surprisingly balanced documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” had a good line in it. They said that one of the reasons the electric car bombed on its first try in the USA was because it was perceived by Americans as an attempt to compel them to “live like Europeans”. This was summed up as being forced to drive a small car and live in a cold house.

    I thought that was a pretty decent summary actually. In Europe we drive tiny uncomfortable cars largely because we have to, and keep our houses cold because we can’t afford to do otherwise. In America they drive big cars and keep their houses warm because the relative cost of energy is much lower. Even poor people in the states will frequently drive a big (if old) car whose mileage is so poor it would have crippled them to try and fuel it at UK prices.

    You know, “Warm houses, big cars” would actually be a pretty decent slogan for a country. Unfortunately Obama does seem to be trying to make Americans “live like Europeans”, so maybe it wont last.

  • Friday Night Smoke

    What actually happened is the deputy spokesman, in his very first press conference, was asked by a journalist whether people should consider wearing jumpers. His answer was “If people are giving that advice it is something they may wish to consider”.
    So no, much as I dislike Dave, he has hardly been lecturing people about how to deal with energy prices. He hasn’t said anything. There was no TV address, there are no government billboards giving the advice, they haven’t sent anyone cheery leaflets advising turning the thermostat down a notch (as previous governments have). A junior spokesman, when directly asked, said “er, maybe I guess”.
    I thought we here were better than ripping a half-quote out of context, sticking it in someone else’s mouth and clucking about it like so many indignant chickens.

  • Lee Moore

    My favourite, alas undoubtedly apocryphal, Duke of Wellington remark concerned his first Cabinet meeting as Prime Minister. You are required to assume a tone of astonishment :

    “I gave them their orders and they wanted to stay and discuss them.”

    Somehow, of modern Tory leaders, one tends to associate that sentiment more with Mrs T than with Cameron.

  • 16 years and counting...

    From John Brignall’s magnificent Numberwatch

    The basics of a sound energy policy are quite simple:

    1. Energy should be obtained from a variety of sources, lest one should fail.

    2. There should be a reliable and continuous source to service the base load.

    3. There should be further instantly available sources to accommodate demand surges.

    4. Unpredictable and intermittent sources should be avoided.

    5. Policy should not be decided by trends, fashions or religious convictions.

    So, whether cast-iron Dave actually said anything about jumpers, he and the LibDems, and Labour before them and in opposition, are failing the country in the most fundamental way.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Friday Night Smoke: Well if that is the case then a Tory-supporting newspaper headline is blatantly misleading to the point of being so false as to demand a retraction. But there has not been any such thing. When I saw the headline and that paragraph I drew the conclusion I did.

    Pardone: the fact that the electricity firms are foreign-owned is irrelevant to whether we have a competitive, market-based energy market or not. (I detect more than just a whiff of nationalistic hysteria in your comments).

    Banning foreign-owned firms from selling energy to us and going for some autarkic policy is hardly going to make our energy sector more competitive and consumer-friendly, is it? Cartels, even when governments are involved, tend to have a limited life and be unstable, as there will always be one firm that tries to undercut the rest. The OPEC oil producer cartel was unable to prevent oil prices falling to $10 a barrel in the mid-90s, for example.

  • Mr Ed

    Stuck in the Lefty canon, that lot are giving advice on coping with ‘austerity’, you must have got your ration cards and snoek I take it, so they are ‘good’ and keeping up the agitprop, whereas Cameron is the cause of the cold – has he passed a law banning frost? I think not! He won’t even propose simple legislation that could save thousands of elderly people from dying, so the NHS has to step in and finish them off.

  • JohnB

    I get the feeling this is all Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Much like the bankers a year or three ago.
    They are enraging the public until it is demanded that the industries be nationalised (and so the crony capitalists can well and truly consolidate advantageous control)?

    Regarding the various attacks on low cost air travel.
    I have indeed thought that they really, really hated Laker and that which came after him and have spent the last few decades working to put that genie back in the bottle.
    Get the peasants off the airways.
    (Mind you, some times I have to agree with them. 🙂

  • Paul Marks

    In what major country is TOTAL (no tricks about leaving out this or that spending) government spending lower now than it was before the crash started in 2007-2008?

    As far as I know there IS NO SUCH MAJOR COUNTRY.

    So “austerity” is B.S.

    Unless one means tax increases – there have been a lot of them (in many countries).

  • Pardone

    Why should the French government, and the German and Spanish governments, lower fuel bills in the UK and make its own people pay more?

    Its in their interests to raise fuel prices in the UK, as it enables them to suppress or lower prices in their vitally important home markets.

    Mr. Cameron should ask Mr. Hollande, Mr. Rajoy, and Mrs. Merkel, as they effectively own Britain’s utilities and infrastructure, and thus have supreme authority over the UK.

  • Lee Moore

    JP : “Well if that is the case then a Tory-supporting newspaper headline is blatantly misleading to the point of being so false as to demand a retraction”

    It’s as well to understand how the Telegraph works, in order to avoid this misconception.

    1. The Telegraph does not have a giant budget for newsgathering, particularly on foreign stories. So most of its foreign stories will have been gathered by copying from AP, Reuters and BBC reports. Consequently the story selection and slant of the story will usually follow that of the strongly left biased agencies.
    2. The Telegraph does employ left wing journalists as well as right wing ones, nobly holding to the theory that journalists can be newshounds first and hacks second. The Guardian does not make this error. So even on domestic stories, you can still get left slanted ones in the Telegraph.
    3. Journalism is no longer a game for fifty five year old drunks who’ve seen a lot. It’s packed with young naive people who have seen nothing, and who don’t want to get their feelings hurt by saying things their friends might laugh at
    4. On the editorial staff, there will be those who like Cameron and those who loathe Cameron. A Cameron loather will be quite happy to run a story that makes Cameron look bad, even if it originates from the lefties.

    It is therefore a grave mistake to imagine that everything you read in the Telegraph is the official Conservative version of the story, still less that it is always slanted to the right.

    One of the reasons, of course, why some at the Telegraph loathe Cameron is neatly demonstrated by this very same story. Cameron has no cojones. When he comes under political fire, he immediately dives for a foxhole and starts waving a white flag. Had jumpergate erupted in Mrs T’s time she would not have apologised, she’d have said something like “The spokesman did not in fact tell people to wear jumpers, but if he had – what of it ? I would never turn on the heating if all I needed to do was to put on a jumper. It’s a waste of money. I had to have a stern word with Denis the other day for running more than four inches of water in the bath.”

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    What Friday Night Smoke wrote seems to be, essentially, correct. The Spectator, for one, is saying the same thing.

    The scandal in so-called “jumpergate” appears to be, not in what Cameron said, but in how the British media intentionally ran with a false version of events.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Why should the French government, and the German and Spanish governments, lower fuel bills in the UK and make its own people pay more? Its in their interests to raise fuel prices in the UK, as it enables them to suppress or lower prices in their vitally important home markets.

    Pardone, the point is that these firms are in competition with others for the UK market, so, if we had a genuine free market for energy distribution and production, such issues would not matter. Whether French, German or whatnot, such firms would have to compete and treat local customers well, or be priced out. If a local UK producer could clearly beat them on price, then why aren’t they doing so? Explain that.

  • jdm

    Its in their interests to raise fuel prices in the UK, as it enables them to suppress or lower prices in their vitally important home markets.

    Seriously? People believe things like this? Really?

  • Friday Night Smoke

    Johnathan Pearce: My apologies if I was uncivil.
    Lee Moore: All good points, including the last.
    To add my thoughts, it is all too common for headlines to give a highly misleading version of events. This is because while some consider a headline to be a distilled synopsis of the story, the newspapers themselves consider a headline to be merely a hook to get people to read more. In days gone by this was more apparent as headlines were pun-filled and clearly not entirely serious, but since Google (etc) started driving significant traffic to news sites headlines need to be more literal and closer to what people are likely to search for. Hence if other sources are reporting or implying that David Cameron has told people to wear jumpers, any headline afterwards needs to have the words “Cameron” and “jumper” at the very least for the article to receive any internet traffic.
    Unfortunately many people’s entire source of news is skimming headlines, and this allows them to be easily misinformed about true events. A ‘favourite’ example is this article on the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16361170 , a low-resolution screenshot of which was being circulated by Liverpudlians at the time of the Thatcher funeral. The headline reads “Thatcher urged ‘Let Liverpool decline'”, which was taken to show her callous policies towards Liverpool. If one reads further it becomes apparent that she was advised TO let Liverpool decline, and refused the advice, a very different scenario from that implied by the headline.
    Headlines usually serve only to attract eyeballs and are often misleadingly inflammatory to serve that purpose. They can also be misused by unscrupulous newsmen to misinform less interested readers. When I wrote my original comment I was frustrated and disappointed that people I consider to be rational and thoughtful were being taken in by such tricks.

  • Stuck-Record

    Mr Ed
    October 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I’m afraid I can’t make head nor tail of your response.

    But to clarify if I was unclear:

    I am not a leftist.
    ‘Austerity’ is a leftist soundbite, not reality.
    Cameron is twit and is causing hardship through delusion green energy policy.
    Left’s energy policies are EVEN worse.
    Their advice is therefore rank hypocrisy.
    Yet MSM do not critiicise them.

  • Mr Ed

    SR, I was simply pointing out that those you mentioned may refer to wrappng up etc as they may be portrayed as giving advice on coping with the ‘austerity’, which is a reduction in the acceleration of spending, and the Left will not criticise them for adding to the agitprop against ‘cuts’.

    What is odd is that the politicians implementing these spending hikes talk of cuts when not making any net cuts, and seem happy to lie about cuts and be lied about, and to carry on borrowing.

    We should devise here a plan for restoring the economy and freedom, with costing and timetables.

    How about cutting public spending in the UK by £366,000,000 in 30 days?

  • Mr Ed

    Sorry, that should be £366,000,000,000, zero fatigue.

  • davey street

    It doesn’t matter who wins the next election anywhere in the developed world, massive tax increases on everything are unavoidable along with massive spending cuts, otherwise there’ll be no government assistance whatsoever. Once the US Fed can’t control the ever skyrocketing interest bill on the US debt which is now approaching 20 trillion dollars, markets will collapse and increases in energy prices will be the last of the problems facing inhabitants of so-called advanced economies. Won’t happen ? Bullshit.

  • It doesn’t matter who wins the next election anywhere in the developed world, massive tax increases on everything are unavoidable along with massive spending cuts, otherwise there’ll be no government assistance whatsoever.

    I like the sounds of that last bit. So lets have no tax increases, massive spending cuts and no government assistance whatsoever.

    Once the US Fed can’t control the ever skyrocketing interest bill on the US debt which is now approaching 20 trillion dollars, markets will collapse…

    And after that has happened, markets will recover again, this time less massively distorted by massive state spending. The sooner the better.

    …and increases in energy prices will be the last of the problems facing inhabitants of so-called advanced economies.

    Energy prices are increasing because of the green bollocks. Following the over-massive state falling up its own arsehole due to decades of idiocy and people being confronted with power cuts due to this crap, Shale Gas will go massive everywhere, an economic boom will result, and you will see why there is nothing “so called” about advanced economies once they are allowed to function.

  • Lee Moore

    I read an interesting book a while back about the early 1920s hyperinflation in Germany (and Austria and Hungary) and one of the features of hyperinflation is that tax revenues disappear. You make a profit of 100, the tax bill is 30, but by the time you get round to paying the 30 it’s worth 3; or 0.3; or 0.000003. Not so good for wages slaves paying PAYE, but for the oppressing classes who pay tax on trading income, interest, dividends and so on, hyperinflation is one big tax cut.

  • Paul Marks

    When people talk about “tax increases and spending cuts” the spending cuts do not happen.

    Once one gives in to dishonest vermin (such as the writers of the Economist magazine) on taxes, the spending cuts they promise do not occur.

  • Mr Ed

    The Nobel Made Up Prize for Gratuitous (but merited) Abuse towards the Economist for 2013 goes to Mr Paul Marks for his observations and contributions in blogs and social media, with this effort surely deserving a ‘golden crowbar’ for jamming it in. The Prize is a year’s subscription to a magazine of his choice (within reasonable cost limits) or a free lunch (or dinner).

    If the UK government’s spending over revenue deficit is around £120,000,000,000 a year and there are around 30,000,000 meaningful taxpayers in the UK, then the average wealthy/working person (not on State funded salaries) must find £4,000 to simply stop the deficit growing, £4,000 out of what they might save and invest or spensd elsewhere.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – I gush with pride at my (highly deserved) prize.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    According to ‘The Australian’, the British economy is improving. If true, then Dave will get the credit, and probably win the next General Election. Would this be good or bad?

  • Paul Marks

    Nick, Mr Cameron has committed the government to not holding an election till 2015 – by then the economy will be in the toilet.