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.

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Female PE Teacher Urgently Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Secondary Maths Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments