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.”
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