Donald Macintyre's Sketch: A button-down solution to one energy crisis

 

It must be Monday – it’s another Ed Davey statement! The almost daily appearances at the Dispatch Box by the Energy Secretary, in the front line of the battle over those bills, came with a new twist: good news. Or so he fondly thought, a view conspicuously not shared by the Opposition and quite a few Tory backbenchers.

The average consumer would have had a hard time making head or tail of its far from jargon-free complexities. The Government had “reviewed the cost profile of its social and environmental policies” – a marvellously bland euphemism for stripping some of what David Cameron reportedly calls “the green crap” from ever-soaring energy bills and putting it on taxes instead. And average bills would be £50 lower “than they would otherwise have been”. Lucky customers! Only a £70 rise this winter.

Fortunately, Labour MP Fiona O’Donnell was on hand to explain it for the non-technically minded. “That was like a bad Fast Show sketch,” she said. “The consumer gives the energy companies £120; he gives the energy companies £600m and they give the consumer £50 back.”

Davey seemed hurt that his Labour shadow, Caroline Flint, did not, as he protested, “welcome it”. What did he expect? That she would say: “Silly us for suggesting a price freeze. This is just the ticket!” What she actually asked was whether Davey could “confirm that in what he has said today there is not a single measure that will cost  the energy companies a single penny?” 

This was a bit unfair, implied Davey, since the companies had decided “that they will reduce their customers’ bills as a result of these changes”. In other words, they would not actually follow normal big business practice by trousering all the Government concessions for themselves. Which was hardly surprising given the drubbing they’ve had.

In much needed solidarity, Lib Dem ministers Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and Deputy Chief Whip Don Foster all sat on the frontbench for his statement.

Sadly, however, they slipped away before they were most needed, which was when the Tory backbenchers got going. Philip Davies accused Davey of “pursuing exactly the kind of [green] claptrap” as his Labour predecessor Ed Miliband. His constituents wanted  “the cheapest energy, not the greenest energy. When is he going to start doing something about that?”

Davies was unimpressed by Davey’s insistence that what he opaquely called  the “mixed diverse approach” was best. Just as his Tory backbench colleagues were by his response to their  call for an end to VAT on energy bills, namely that it would be illegal.

It’s distressing to report that Davey has still not solved the problems of his out-of-control collar, the wings of which still bend untidily upwards. Today, he kept fingering it as if he realised something was wrong. Can we suggest the button-down shirt? It could do wonders for his image.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Advisor - East Anglia - Field-based

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?