Lights on, nobody in

14 March, 2016 (21:07) | All articles | By: Stuart Fraser

NOTHING displays the moral bankruptcy, corruption and inefficiency of the free market system better than our energy market.

Everybody is in complete agreement – MPs of all parties, the regulator, consumer groups and, of course, the poor ripped-off customers – that electricity and gas customers of the big six companies created by the crazed privatisation of energy supply have been overcharged. Overcharged, systematically, for year after year.

Some companies have been prosecuted for mis-selling and one is about to make 3,500 employees pay for the incompetence of their management with the sack.

Everybody is in agreement that there are people in this country – in the seventh richest country in the world in the year 2016 – who are in fuel poverty: that means they cannot afford to heat their homes. The dispute is not over their existence but over how many there are. I say one is too many.

Everybody is in agreement that a number of winter deaths among the elderly can be attributed to the fact that people could not afford to heat their homes. The dispute is not over their existence but over how many there are. I say one is too many.

The answer, say Conservative politicians, is simple: it’s our fault. We must switch our provider and then we will have a fair deal.

Ah.

That, then, means that there is always a provider who is offering a fair deal, no?

Just to check: would any MP who thinks his or her constituents should be on anything other than a fair, i.e. the lowest, tariff – anything else, we now know, would be by definition, an overcharging, unfair tariff – step forward? Ah, none. None at all. Of course not. No politician would stand in front of his or her voters and propose they be overcharged for power.

So, add to the agreements above, this: every single MP thinks people should not be overcharged for power. If any MP wants to disagree on this point, I hereby promise to print his or her statement.

Well then, here’s a crazy idea: fucking well do something about it!

We all agree overcharging is wrong; most, I suggest, would think shareholders cashing dividends while old people freeze is wrong; I think most people would accept that access to heat and light is a basic human right.

All it takes to enable those three factors is this:

People to stand up and say we will end this ridiculous, corrupt, inefficient energy cartel which was created not for reasons of better customer service, efficiency or anything other than for free market dogma. We will end it now because it is wrong – demonstrably wrong, because politicians of all parties, watchdogs, customers and consumer groups all unanimously agree that consumers have been monumentally ripped off.

A bunch of people to stand up and say: we think everybody should be charged a fair price, not just those who have the time, health, money, intelligence and ability to hunt down a decent tariff from the complex web created by the energy companies to prop up their corrupt overcharging and hide fair deals from too many people.

We used to have people with that sort of courage, back in the 1940s, 1960s and 1970s: they were called politicians.

Now? Now we have politicians who, last week, instead of addressing this issue, voted to cut benefit payments to disabled people – the most vulnerable people in our society – to cut their benefits by 30 pathetic quid. £30.

Let us not mince words here: every single MP who voted in favour of this callous act is a morally bankrupt, cowardly, venal piece of scum, a foul stinking apology for a human being who, if I had my way, would face disqualification and criminal charges for such a petty act of brutality. The Multiple Sclerosis Society has immediately told one of the excrescences, who was the society’s patron, to get out, and good for them.

You can almost forgive Tories for their dogma – almost – indeed, it is an understandable position that they would wish to use the mechanics of society to enrich themselves and their friends, and this is a democracy. Of sorts.

But on this point there is no middle ground, nothing but black and white, right and wrong.

So I urge you to look up #ESAcuts on Twitter where good people are naming and shaming the filth who voted for this – the expenses cheats, the right wingers, the rich, the sanctimonious and, lowest of the low, the uttermost scraping of the bottom of the deepest barrel, the benchmark by which all weak, jealous, peevish, petty, penny-pinching acts of cruelty must be judged – the liars’ liar himself, the lying liar Iain Duncan Smith.

And finally…

What a tatty piece of PR by the BBC this weekend – burning licence-payers money in an orgy of spinning rubber and clicking lenses to generate worldwide publicity for their tedious little car show in which old men wave their willies and crack lad jokes.

 

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