Coffee House

Tories hit back at Huhne and his policies

20 September 2011

6:34 PM

20 September 2011

6:34 PM

Chris Huhne can always be guaranteed to grate. Several Conservatives have cracked wry
smiles at the energy secretary’s comments about the “Tory Tea Party tendency”. Mark Pritchard quipped that plenty of senior Lib Dems would soon be at leisure to throw their own
tea parties and John Redwood dismissed
Huhne’s cant as conference high-jinks.

Redwood went on to challenge Huhne’s policies. Speaking to Sky News, he said he was “happy to hear ideas” about “promoting more competition”, pointing out that
competition might reduce prices. Then he added that Huhne “has also got to understand it is his policies that are driving costs of electricity up in Britain because we are choosing to
generate it in a very expensive way.” As Matthew Sinclair pointed out earlier, Huhne
displays no such understanding.

Redwood has been blogging away about the dangers of energy policy for years, virtually alone among parliamentarians – Andrew Tyrie is a notable
exception,  while Peter Lilley has apparently described himself as
“lukewarmist” about the economics of climate change. Back in May, I examined the
near total political consensus on the need to adopt ambitious green policies at any cost. Since May, energy companies have announced a colossal thirty per cent increase in energy prices. This news
has roused some MPs and the issue is often spoken of in
Commons’ tea rooms, but openly dissenting voices remain few and far between. Paul Goodman calls
for a Conservative to come to the fore as IDS once did with the Centre for Social Justice. Labour is now expressing hot concern about energy prices, but failed to voice those
reservations back in March when Huhne’s shadow, Meg Hillier, described her brief as “an area where, politically, there is more agreement than there is on almost every other issue.”

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Baron

    PayDirt sums it up well: “We can …. invest in solar panels to produce enough electricity to light a 40watt bulb or on a sunny enough day, fry an egg”.

    the abundance of your optimism is to be admired, sir, that’s the spirit ‘what won’ it during the Blitz, will win it again when the lights come off, sunny side up or not.

  • Purpleline

    To save the West we need to end these Green Taxes and these Dark Satanic (wind) Mills.
    Huhne & his Green agenda is a major drag on our economy
    great lakes foreign exchange have a good piece but cannot post link here. Google How to save the Western Capitalist System Cut Green Taxes

  • Cogito Ergosum

    The real revolution would be to have a few scientists and mathematicians in parliament and in government, as opposed to trend-followers like Huhne.

    Fat chance while Cameron is in charge!

  • michael

    Why are British Politicians and Businessmen so mediocre in intellect and capability ?

    …Its called state regulation(civil servant power), and the idea that this administration is deregulation is more doublespeak.
    -Huhne knows full well that for every local regulation removed or not implemented, there is the ‘social chapter’ or the ECHR waiting to pick up the baton.

  • xenophon

    Solar panels are the energy solution whose time has come. They consume more energy in their production and installation than they will produce in their lifetimes, but nobody minds. As a means of electricity generation they are extremely expensive but that doesn’t matter because the taxpayer will always be there to subsidise them. Of course they will never produce much energy in our climate, but as everybody knows our energy needs will decline dramatically because of the effectiveness of the double glazing we’re all fitting.

  • PayDirt

    Of course if we think about as being on a war footing, Nationalisation of basic services makes sense, and why not include Tesco and Waitrose and the like? We can all be instructed by the Govt to dig the garden or allotment to grow potatoes (and hope not the get the Irish potato blight) and erect toy windmills on the roof and invest in solar panels to will produce enough electicity to light a 40watt bulb or on a sunny enough day, fry an egg. Numbskulls posting here I fear.

  • strapworld

    As ironiestoo reports “Huhne was sufficiently open about his own agenda, by mentioning the danger to Common Purpose at the conclusion of his conference speech!”

    Just to remind those fools who disregard the power of this EU financed ‘charity’.

  • DZ

    Does anybody know how much energy is used in building solar panels and what sort of scarce minerals are used in their construction? I suppose the same questions could be asked of windmills – those plastics, concrete and electrics did not come cheaply or free of energy input.

  • David Lindsay

    Indeed it is, Tom Pride.

    National independence, and the sort of jobs of which I wrote before. But only possible if guaranteed, in which case better delivered directly, by State action.

    The same goes for coal, on vast reserves of which this island stands. The more of both of them, the better.

  • Tom Pride

    David Lindsay – if you really want an argument, drop the hoary old nationalisation canard and just tell daniel maris how wonderful nuclear power is.

  • Baron

    David Lindsay, Baron remembers well when British Telecom was run by the State’s paternal authority securing high-wages, employment for life, resistance to modernisation, disregard for customers, all that subsidised by the taxpayer…. never again.

    and this:

    The politicians should be very careful, the unwashed may grumble about the Afghan war, the toothless criminal justice, the EU and stuff, they will more than grumble if energy prices erode massively their already depressed spending money, it won’t be just feral, young recidivists breaking windows, rioting and stuff.

  • TomTom

    Which of Britain’s lunatic governments pegged gas prices to oil prices ?

    Which lunatic government failed to build gas storage facilities ?

    Who dismantled all those town gasometers ?

    Who decided to use N Sea Gas to generate electricity rather than heat homes ?

    Why are British Politicians and Businessmen so mediocre in intellect and capability ?

  • David Lindsay

    Alex, do you belive in national sovereignty, or not? Do you believe in the Union, or not? Public ownership is a very effective means of guaranteeing both of them, as well as securing the necessary economic basis of paternal authority in secure, high-wage, high-skilled, high-status employment. No wonder that Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair were so against it. But why are you?

    Public ownership of the utilities and the railways is one of those many massively popular causes which no party will touch, even though they all used to believe in most or all of them (it was the Tories who nationalised electricity, before the War), because they would be denied coverage by this country’s single media outlet that pretends to be several competitors. Breaking that up is another such cause.

  • daniel maris

    I would add that when you have home owners producing 30-50% electricity from their roofs, there will be real downward pressure on energy prices in the UK.

  • daniel maris

    The price of onshore wind power is now below new nuclear and almost on a par with coal. Energy from waste and biomass are also competitive.

    Solar is catching up fast. Once it’s in place, your energy is pretty much maintenance free and is independent of foreign governments.

    Personally I think investing in green energy makes a lot of sense as long as we do it the right way. It will be a much better investment than say $10 billion on 350kms of HSR, or $40billion on a new London airport. It will provide long term economic benefits, employment for British workers, clean energy and energy independence.

    I think we should have a 5% house sales tax to fund solar panel installation on roofs (which will benefit the home owner – unlike the present stamp duty tax).

  • Mirtha Tidville

    What is actually needed at this difficult time is for the CPS to deliver some good news that will rescue the nation….We wait with bated breath

  • Hard Heartless Perry

    Since May, energy companies have announced a colossal thirty per cent increase in energy prices

    Three multiple choice questions regarding the above statement:

    1. How scandalous is that statement?
    a. very
    b. moderately
    c. not very

    2. Who ultimately officiates or establishes policy over this disgraceful mess?
    a. UK Government
    b. Energy companies
    c. EUSSR

    3. Who ultimately pays or foots the bill for this disgraceful mess?
    a. UK Government
    b. Energy Companies
    c. Powerless consumers (having been advised to ‘shop around for better deals’ by a patronising plonker)

  • Alex

    Hilarious David, now what do you really think?

  • David Lindsay

    Renationalise the energy companies.

    Perhaps by imposing a much higher rate of corporation tax on them, with strict regulation to prevent any passing on to workers or consumers, until their shares became worthless.

    Chris Huhne, over to you. After all, you did run the College Labour Club when Tony Blair was oblivious to its existence.