The Tory leadership candidates are in a bit of a bind. On the one hand they have to appeal to Tory party members to win the leadership of their party—and that’s an appeal that has to be made to a fairly well-off southern constituency of relatively wealthy and elderly people—and on the other hand, they are trying to make their pitch look Prime Ministerial, which is to say they must have a credible message for the rest of us. I don’t think they’ve figured out how to marry the two. Me being the generous person I am, I have to say anybody wanting to lead this country at the moment with all the challenges we face, are in a pickle--if they are addressing the problem from the centre, or the centre right (hence including Starmer). The latest prediction for the energy price rise in January is £4,200 per annum per household. In what way can this level of cost crisis be met by a political centre-right ideology which clings to orthodoxy?
It’s hard to see. I think part of the problem lies in the personal circumstances of the people who govern us. MPs (as I know well) will not have to worry about the everyday cost of living. Today, one might ask what’s £4,200 to somebody who’s on £80,000 plus? But Cabinet members, many of whom are millionaires will see this whole crisis through the wrong end of a telescope. And the only thing that could bring it closer to home is serious civil unrest.
Their answer to that of course would not be to address the underlying problem but the symptoms, perhaps with a few more draconian laws (and who better than Pritti Patel to deliver them?) So the underlying cause will be left to fester. Some people have bravely suggested a solution, making a point of going further than the Tories. Gordon Brown spoke of an emergency budget, the leader of the LibDems wants no increase in the next energy price cap. But no, nobody is talking of renationalising energy. What can you do if the state owns the means of power generation? According to Wikipedia, across the Channel the French government will ‘use its powers to squeeze the state-owned electricity company EDF to lower the cost of electricity by charging well below the market rate for the electricity it generates.’ Maybe Macron isn’t such a dogmatic centre-right toady as many portray him to be.
The point here is that for our orthodox establishment masters (and mistresses?) thinking outside of the box is strictly not allowed. Thus when Corbyn came along, he had to be put down like a dog with rabies. The consequence of our collective inability to think laterally is going to cost us. Indeed it already is, since our slack approach to renewable energy sources which don’t go up in price—but only down—is now costing us dear. For this Labour is to blame as much as the Tories. There’s a bit of hindsight here on my part, it is true, but there’s plenty I had to say about it nearly 20 years ago. So much could have been done. So, answers on a postcard please, why wasn’t it done?