Sketch: When Energy Questions went all Gone with the Wind

Related Topics

There was a poignant, almost-tear jerking moment yesterday during the horror show that was Energy Questions when the former (and sacked) Minister of State Charles Hendry rose to express his –and among Tory MPs increasingly rare – support for wind farms, pointing out, reasonably enough, that even fabulously oil rich countries like Norway, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan were investing in them.

The Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey turned as his former deputy spoke. Their eyes met. You could only imagine the thoughts coursing through Davey's brain. If only they could be colleagues again! What fun it had been when they marched in step together towards a greener future! A little stiffly perhaps, no doubt choking back a surge of emotion, he declared with wistful emphasis: "I should like to pay tribute to the great work that my Honourable Friend did … in a whole range of sectors and thank him for the support he gave me."

And then it was back to confronting the hulking, larger than life, monstrous reality of the Tory replacement for Hendry now sitting beside him on the front bench: John Hayes, the man who had declared war on further wind farms the previous day with a warning that "enough is enough" and had announced with a menacing lack of repentance that he had "the wind in my sails" Which may or may not have been a reference to the fact that David Cameron had also said on Wednesday that there would have to be a "debate" on the issue once current renewable targets had been met.

It was like watching a grisly episode of barely suppressed enmity in Big Brother. Except that you knew that Hayes would not be voted out. And Davey would not get the chance to confide to viewers what he really felt about his rival. On the surface the two men struggled to maintain the civilities during this windyshambles, the outstanding current example of coalition dysfunction. At one point, talking about another issue, environment-friendly carbon capture and storage, Hayes even complimented Davey on the Secretary of State's "usual endeavour and diligence to ensure that we got it right. He personifies that approach in running this department." Unfortunately "patronising" doesn't remotely do justice to the way that came out. For his part Davey was adamant not only about his support for renewable energy but that "I lead" on the policy. Which of course provoked ironic "oooohs" from Tory MPs gleefully convinced that if had to say it, it probably wasn't true. Pressed by Labour's Caroline Flint to say "how closely" the pair were "working together now", Davey said: "I can say that we are working very closely. While they "may occasionally disagree on issues of substance, and I certainly did not agree with his remarks the other day…. I have to say that I really admire his style."

Whatever the meaning of this highly ambiguous endorsement, the Hayes "style" was once again on full display yesterday. No he would not listen to "bourgeois left-wing academics" but to the "will of the people". A politician who never shrinks from talking about himself, he declared: "I am a blue-collar Conservative by origin, by inclination and, as you can see, Mr Speaker, by sartorial choice." But of course, he added cheekily, he would "not make any commitments above my pay grade or outside my remit." Which, as he well knows, is exactly so what so many of his backbench colleagues are willing him to do.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
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