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The Tom Sawyer Principle (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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It's not often I agree with the Greens but their proposal to nationalise the Big Five energy companies is at least along the right lines. It doesn't go nearly far enough. Those of you of pensionable age will remember something called the CEGB, the Central Electricity Generating Board. And something called the National Grid... no wait, that's still with us (someone was a bit slack there).

Back in the day, the whole shooting match was in public hands. For those of you dead these fifty years, before that it was mostly in the hands of local authorities who, for instance, maintained those giant gas holders that used to surround the Oval ("...and Laker is still wheeling away from the gasholder end"). The point I and the Greens are making is that we were pretty well ring-fenced from world markets.

This is the bit nobody will countenance. There's plenty of energy supplies, both in the world and in Britain, and the only reason we're paying sky-high prices is this ridiculous idea that everyone has to be held to ransom by the spot price of gas (which dictates the spot price for electricity). If we nationalised everything in sight we'd still be paying world prices for every therm but it would be the state raking it, and we wouldn't need to claw it back via hopelessly inefficient windfall taxes on energy companies that can duck and dive to their heart's content to avoid paying them.

And don't forget, we're taking about gas and electricity. There's no need for private enterprise efficiency. Nothing's changed since Michael Faraday (I managed all my life though I prefer 'Mick'). You just turn the taps on and off.
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Grant



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The real problem which has been neatly side-stepped by blaming the Russians is the hopeless energy strategy pursued by our useless politicians for the last twenty years, ie
- shutting down 14 coal fired power stations
- failing to build a single nuclear power station since 1995
- discouraging the search for more gas fields
- banning fracking
- subsidising green energy

I hope we get power cuts this winter and freeze our nuts off. It’s the only thing which will make the stupid electorate wake up
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Mick Harper
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What difference would it have made? Doing all those things would not have affected world energy prices so the stupid electorate would be paying exactly the same bills as now.
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Grant



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The price of coal hasn’t increased 500per cent and the price of nuclear power hasn’t risen at all. We replaced all those old electric bar heaters because they were a third more expensive than the old cheap gas price
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Mick Harper
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The price of coal hasn’t increased 500per cent and the price of nuclear power hasn’t risen at all.

Yes they have. How do you price nuclear power? It's just electricity. The price of a bag of coal presumably hasn't changed much so the British electorate can go along and buy one at the old price and burn it in their grates but otherwise they'll have to switch on their electric fires and 'burn' coal using the electricity way.

We replaced all those old electric bar heaters because they were a third more expensive than the old cheap gas price

What you are sighing for is a different energy mix. It is true that Britain has been caught out by having a peculiarly gas-rich mix but we were doing well out of it -- economically and green-wise -- up to a few months ago, and if we started restructuring because of the current situation we would find we had spent a vast amount of money just in time for being peculiarly gas-rich being the best policy again.
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Mick Harper
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It was quite fun watching various news anchors trying to get the Ofgem regulator to castigate either the government or the energy companies or both but he kept stonewalling by pointing out that neither of them was profiting from and neither of them could do anything about the price of energy.

If I had a pound for every time I heard somebody or other demanding energy companies stop giving billions of pounds to their shareholders and do x or y instead, I would probably send those pounds to whatever charity helps out ex-managers of energy companies made bankrupt having to spend money on x or y.

Nobody seems to realise that out of their £278 gas-and-electric bill this month, about a pound goes to shareholders. If the shareholders are lucky. So let's raise our glasses to the good old days when the £277 bill used to fall on our mats.
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Mick Harper
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I knew Gorbachev was going to be an ineffective twat (despite being responsible for epochal change) when he tried to ban vodka. "Anyone who does such a relatively trivial but deeply unpopular thing when making epochal changes," I said to myself, "is going to prove to be an ineffective twat." "How right you were, Mick," I said to myself later. "As usual," I added.
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Mick Harper
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The EU's proposal to cap Russian energy prices has just been 'gamed' and here are the main highlights

"Russia?"
"Yes."
"EU here. We've been discussing the prices we've been paying you for your energy."
"What's there to discuss? Isn't it based on the moving three month spot price at the Chicago Futures Exchange? Everyone else's is."
"We've decided not to pay it."
"OK, if that's what you want. Shame, you're our best market. I'm just turning the last taps off."
"No, wait..."
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Mick Harper
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Cornerstone BBC Radio 4 A drama about one woman's epiphany and the power of community. The news that a town's library is facing closure provokes an unexpected response.

This I couldn't miss. What on earth could it be? Oh, they formed an action group and it got a reprieve. On the scale of unexpectedness, one to ten, I'd give this a five in real life. In a BBC drama, I'd give it a one. No, damnit, I'd give it a zero. I couldn't imagine any other outcome. Except maybe it didn't get a reprieve.

Still it got me musing. I've just acquired a Kindle because I'm publishing a book and intend to put it out in Kindle form as well as hardback. You need one to proof one. But since I had it, I thought, "Dash it all, I might as well get my library books on it as well. Damned convenient, what?" Damned inconvenient as it turned out. My local librarians said, one after another, "Ooh, yes you can, we had a memo about it. No, I don't know how you go about it, sorry."

You could understand their reluctance. Giving everybody in the borough a Kindle would mean Kensington & Chelsea would no longer have any need for bricks-and-mortar libraries. Or flesh-and-blood librarians. "We're not having that. Everybody reading anything they liked for free? That's not what public libraries are for."
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Mick Harper
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We now know why the Truss/Kwarteng axis of evil decided to blast the markets within days of taking office when traditionally it takes months if not years.
"Truss will be out by Christmas"
Newsnight quoting Tory MP's

On the whole I approve the Mother of Parliaments amending the constitution to read "Each prime minister shall serve for a shorter time than his or her predecessor" because it means eventually we'll all be given a go. Put me down for a Bank Holiday weekend.
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Mick Harper
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With the markets in turmoil, Tory MP's marching towards the barricades and Labour thirty-three points ahead in the polls, it is a question of whether Truss can hold her nerve. I am not saying she should, but if she doesn't, she personally is finished. Any U-turn -- or semblance of a U-turn for international and/or domestic consumption -- will cause ol' Krazyboots next door to resign. (Everybody is reporting he is exceptionally fond of his own judgement.) She couldn't survive that. He's worth two of Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson. Yes, he's that bad.

And, we must remember, she U-turned on the relatively minor matter of regional pay bodies during the leadership campaign when she was thirty-three points ahead, so it's on the cards. If she gives me a bell, I'd tell her to sit tight, it will all blow over in a month. And forget about the thirty-three point Labour lead, it will be down to twenty-three by the time of the next general election. "So?" she will ask.
"You'll have had a coupla years at the top, cherub. Be thankful for small mercies."
"Don't patronise me," she'll say.
"Sorry, I was going to say 'you clueless cow' but I thought better of it. And don't reverse the charges next time."
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Mick Harper
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In a reorganisation of the Danish Royal Family, a few of the minor royals, though retaining their royal status, have been downgraded from prince/princess to count/countess. in line with general policy among European royalty. Prince Joachim's wife has complained that because of it their youngest was being bullied at school.

That's the kinda school I'm looking for for my kids. "You're just a countess, nuh nuh ne nuh nuh."
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Mick Harper
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Amid the turmoil, one incident escaped major analysis. The Home Secretary, the third or fourth-ranking member of the government, was required to resign. She had sent a report intended for publication the following day to a journalist. This is standard practice since journos need time to write stories to coincide with publication. However the Home Secretary had used -- apparently in error -- her own phone rather than, as is prescribed, her official one.

She immediately reported this to the relevant authorities. Instead of doing what any sane governmental apparatus would do -- reply "Please don't do it again" -- she was charged with breaking the ministerial code and sacked by the Prime Minister. It is difficult to work out how this mad system of sacking people for minute transgressions but leaving in office people who have serially committed major offences got established.

My own favoured starting point was the police chief who was hounded from office because he sent an application form to a niece who was having difficulty getting one via the official website. But you might have your own.
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Wile E. Coyote


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As both Rishi and Saj have found out, if you resign on principle, ie that you can't work with a bad PM, then you lose support for any future leadership bid. Folks will not support the person who wielded the knife.

Suella instead found a technical reason to resign, and then artfully stilettoed Truss. How very clever.
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Mick Harper
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If I thought she did the whole thing with this in mind I would have to agree with you but, sadly, I think this is more a case of 'having it done to you' than the other way about.

It is interesting though about what you say re Rishi 'n'Saq. Neither can be said to have wielded the knife, both are seen merely as yesterday's failures. Until yesterday, I never head Rishi's name mentioned in any of the grand schemes. When it did start getting airplay, I thought, "Blimey, they must be desperate." But then again Boris Johnson's name started getting mentioned yesterday. And Theresa May's!

"Are you sure Maggie's dead, Crispin? Better get an exhumation order on the off chance."
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