Do energy companies need some help?

After Ed Miliband set out a policy of a 20 month price freeze for energy, the affected companies reacted as though the apocalypse had started. Missive to the Evening Standard on the topic:

With all the predictability of a foggy Autumn morning, the energy companies are up in arms about Labour’s proposed 20 month price freeze.

We should have some sympathy, after all, they only collectively made over a billion pounds profit last year. They must be on their last legs.

If these monopolies are in that bad a condition that they can’t cope with a price freeze without threatening blackouts, perhaps we can help them with a robust programme of permanent state intervention? If they can’t cope as private companies perhaps nationalisation would help.

What’s that? They might be able to manage? Thought so…

Unconvincing LibDem “Good Cop/Bad Cop” Routine

The Evening Standard left me a voicemail requesting my views on the LibDem divide between Clegg and Cable and followed it up with a rather nice email, so I decided to put finger to keyboard and give them the 150-200 words they asked for. Not that it’ll be used. Again…

… But they obviously read it. They asked for additional thoughts (below in the 2nd & 3rd last paragraphs)

One of the many downsides to fixed parliamentary terms is the hugely lengthened electioneering process. Over the last few days we have seen the LibDems kick off their extended campaign.

And a curious one it is, too. Nick Clegg is vigorously defending the party’s record of working within the Tories economic plans while Vince Cable is taking a broadly opposing view calling for more considered, sustainable approaches on just about every policy he can think of.

Between them they seem to be deliberately playing an unconvincing political good-cop, bad-cop routine designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. This is a dangerous strategy for the LibDems for two reasons.

Firstly, it spreads them so thinly that they become invisible, being indistinguishable from centrist Tory and Labour policies. Secondly, it reminds voters that despite their protestations of taking the moral high ground, they are little more than political opportunists, whoring themselves out to whoever will give them some small scrap of power.

Because full-blown LibDem coalition participation has happened once in several centuries of Parliamentary democracy, it would be a huge mistake for them to assume this is now the default position.

As their calamitous poll figures show, their lapsed Labour voters who wanted to be rid of Gordon Brown have now returned to Labour leaving the LibDems as the fringe party they have always been.

By simultaneously associating themselves with both Tory and Labour positions, they are in danger of disappearing down a crack of their own making.

Surprise, surprise, it got printed! Lead letter, its own headline and a box-out. Fame at last…


I’ll have an apostrophe please, Bob

I don’t know why I waste my time writing to these people sometimes…


That is not a possessive “its”!


Go and stand in the corner. Yes, that one. Put the hat on.

Thank you.

Paul Harper

You do NOT re-write William Shakespeare!

Whine at the Independent after their Booker Prize-winning columnist Howard Jacobson said he was going to rewrite The Merchant of Venice to take out the “anti-Semitism”


I don’t care if Mr Jacobson has won some award or other for his writing, you do NOT re-write William Shakespeare!

It is intellectual vandalism and arrogance at the level of wanting to wallpaper the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Suzanne Moore gets equality wrong, as usual

Missive to the Guardian after one of their clueless feministas gets it wrong again


Suzanne Moore (G2, 5 Sept.) inadvertently sums up nicely the difference between equality and feminism with her statement about men: “They can walk along­side us, just not ahead and take charge”.

She defines equality as men slowing their pace down to match that of women. Not a terribly high opinion of women’s capabilities, is it? So much for progress!

No, equality is all about making sure women can have the same opportunities as men – walk at the fastest pace, if you like – not about holding men back.

Women will never compete fairly with men if they insist on having men shot in one foot first.