Energy crisis puts politics in a radically different light | Energy bills
You report that the Tories are now in “disarray” over their response to the energy crisis (Tories in disarray over energy crisis as Truss urged to spell out plans to help, 26 August). On reading this, I found myself reflecting on the frenzy of media and public hostility to the socialist policies of the would-be Corbyn government in the run-up to the 2019 election: nationalisation of essential utilities (water and energy come to mind), provision of much-needed funding for care and the NHS (now on its knees), a building programme of much-needed truly affordable housing.
I wonder how many people who were persuaded that those socialist proposals were an affront to their liberty are now wishing they had an opportunity of a rerun. I for one would be delighted to see a government in power now that would indeed support “the many, not the few”, as opposed to a corrupt and self-seeking shambles of a government who are only interested in seeing more and more wealth accruing to the few.
Dr Fiona McMillan
The chancellor of the exchequer, Nadim Zahawi, says: “The reality is that we should all look at our energy consumption. It is a difficult time.” I’d just like to remind your readers that Zahawi has an estimated wealth of up to £100m, and is so concerned about energy consumption that he once claimed taxpayers’ money in expenses to heat the stables for his little horsies (although he later said that this was a mistake and that he would repay the money).
If you believe in any way that he includes himself in the “we” in that statement about energy consumption, or that this time will be at all difficult for him, you might be interested in this delightful garden bridge I have for sale, only one previous owner.
Could you please be meticulous in ensuring that language such as Liz Truss’s favourite term “handouts” is set within quotation marks when referring to people’s entitlements or the government’s obligations? Recently, with increasing frequency, “handouts” appears without quotation marks (Rising energy bills put millions of UK households at risk of winter catastrophe, 26 August; These are energy bills many Britons simply can’t afford. Some will pay with their lives, 26 August).
Our social contract requires our government to support people in hard times. This is a duty, not “handouts”. One of the many worrying things about the current Conservative leadership campaign is that the extensive media coverage of it risks making some very rightwing ideas seem like the new normal, tilting common parlance to the right. The Guardian shouldn’t enable this.
The government is likely to give financial support to help people to pay their bills. Good. But where does this money come from and where does it go? It comes, of course, from the taxpayer, and it goes to the energy companies – so their massive profits are subsidised by us.
The solution surely is not to give in to these companies, but stand up to them – as the French are doing. Liz Truss says she is against handouts – but isn’t she proposing the biggest handouts in history to these privatised companies?
You note what might happen in an ideal world in respect of energy prices (Editorial, 26 August). In such a world, socialist rather than capitalist priorities would apply and people would come before profit. However, before we get there, a moral economy – a popular practice in the 18th century, where there are fair prices and just wages – would be a step forward.