Politics Part 3: Labour and Energy

OK. Really old. And REALLY boring now. Oh, and brief disclaimer: Heck, what do I know? I’m not a politician, economist, climate scientist, or anything, I’m just a guy with a few half-baked ideas

Labour. Well, let’s really start with the Conservatives. I’m not a fan really. Austerity possibly has some merits as a means of fixing the economy. But their constant anti-Robin-Hood, take-from-the-poor-and-give-to-the-rich kind of policies, and the constant bashing of those on benefits without understand those on benefits, is pretty shocking.

Anyway, some big Labour politicians came to Swindon today. And all I could really see (on Twitter) them talking about was the price of energy, and the price of train fares.

I’m a bit baffled by the energy thing. Energy seems to be provided by a load of companies who compete against one another for customers. And yet, they all seem to raise prices at the same times. Which seems odd. And no one really seems to be doing the under-cutting. They’re all much of a much-ness, and their prices seem to mostly be influenced by the wholesale cost of energy and the taxes and levies imposed by government. They may well make lots of profit, and that’s not great from companies that provide public services. I’m as annoyed as anyone about increasing energy company profits. But that’s what companies do.

My question then is HOW will Labour go about freezing energy prices. Energy prices are controlled by business, not by government.

I visited their website to find out and it wasn’t massively helpful.

And anyway. There are problems with:

  • I think global warming is real and that we should be cutting energy costs. If prices go down in real terms then won’t that discourage us from saving energy?
  • I think that energy security is a much bigger issue. The cost is irrelevant if there is no supply.

I’d much rather see a long-term focus on sustainability, efficiency and reduced use, and energy-security. We’d have much better control of energy prices in this country if we used less of it, and had our own clean, efficient supply with a surplus we could export. That would be good for health, prices, industry, transport, and the world at large.

Magically fixing train fares and energy costs seem to me to be populist electioneering policies. There are bigger things we need to do that will help both of these issues in the long term. Who’s going to tackle those things for us?!