Mark Steel: If only we'd shopped around more

Huhne will deal with electricity prices by saying he's hoping for a mild winter

Share
Related Topics

Now Liam Fox has gone, maybe the next one to resign should be Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy, on the grounds that's he's pointless. After meeting the energy companies his statement on rising energy bills was that we should check to see if we're paying the cheapest rate, and maybe change to a different company if we're not.

Now THAT is leadership, having the vision to speak out boldly and say "Well if you shop around, you never know, you might get something a bit cheaper". Maybe they'll all copy this style, so George Osborne's next budget will go: "The forecasts are direr than we ever imagined. But never mind, because only yesterday Morrisons were offering tins of sweetcorn at three for the price of two. And these things all add up."

So it's a good job the Liberal Democrats are in the Coalition, otherwise there'd be no one to restrain the Conservatives, by standing firm on the principle that cheaper things cost less. Less experienced energy ministers might have become distracted by the fact that the companies they'd just met are making eight times as much profit from each household they supply, than they were three years ago. Chris Huhne dealt with this issue by pointing out the energy companies had to make a profit because "They're not the Salvation Army".

Even the energy regulator Ofgem has said the energy companies' profits are outrageous, so they've obviously been infiltrated by soppy Christians whose next statement on energy prices will probably be sung outside a shopping centre and go "Rejoice for our Lord is Jesus the saviour, but HE can't afford npower's bastard behaviour."

And if Chris Huhne hears that some people think energy companies should be restricted to making only seven times as much profit as three years ago, he'll say "Take no notice, they must all be Hare Krishnas". Because Chris Huhne lives in the real world, in which a minister of energy addresses the issue of energy prices spiralling upwards by saying he can't do anything about the energy companies as he's only the energy minister.

It's fitting he's spoken out in this way, in the week the Americans celebrated their new statue of another great orator, Martin Luther King, whose famous speech would have been even more powerful if it had gone "I've spoken to the Ku Klux Klan, and what I suggest is maybe some of you should look around at the less racist states and see if you can swap to one of them."

And next week Huhne will announce "I'm aware of the hardship caused by rising electricity prices, but I have done all I can by hoping we have a mild winter. That is the sort of firm and resolute action this government is prepared to take."

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Glazier

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...

Recruitment Genius: Office and Customer Services Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The right election result could mean a change to our drug laws

Nigel Morris
Builders have been taking on apprentices and even turning to sources such as army veterans for workers  

The march of the apprentices

Chris Blackhurst
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot