So now that he is in opposition, and struggling with his ratings, I find it rather incredible that he can seriously pretend to want to do something for the hard-pressed energy consumers in this country, and I find it astounding that so many people are falling for his Wonga-like offer.
He says he will imitate the catastrophic policies of the emperor Diocletian, by imposing a price freeze on energy bills for the 20 months succeeding the election. And, er, then what? Well, then the energy companies will of course recoup their losses by whacking the prices jaggedly upwards again.
In the meantime, the Labour government would have achieved all sorts of undesirable outcomes. By their meddling jiggery-pokery, they will send out the worst possible message to anyone thinking of investing in this country, or buying shares in British businesses.
Worse still, perhaps, he will trigger all sorts of perverse behaviour by the companies – none of which is likely to be in the interests of the consumer. The energy companies will sullenly cut costs by laying off staff – so that you spend even longer waiting for a human being to answer the phone, and have to wait in all day for a repair man to come.
They will seize the opportunity to go slow on the investment that this country so desperately needs. According to Ofgem, there is an increasing risk of brown-outs – about one chance in four – and we are in the absurd position of having to ask some of our more energy-intensive industries to cut production in peak times.
And whose fault is that? Who was sitting there, luxuriating at the Department of Energy and Climate Change? It was Ed Miliband, whose sole discernible contribution was to continue the pointless desecration of the moors and dales and valleys of this country with wind farms. There they stand – wrecking some of the most gorgeous views in the world and producing derisible quantities of energy. He totally flunked his main task, which was to get on with building the new nuclear reactors that this country needs. Why do the French have lower energy bills than the British? Because 80 per cent of their needs are supplied by nuclear power. They are laughing at us.
Yes, we need to help bring down the costs of living – but you do that by investment, not by attacking the private sector companies that are indispensable to that investment. We need to help people with the cost of housing; but that means building hundreds of thousands of homes – homes for sale, for affordable rent, for private rent. But you won’t get developers risking their cash to build, if they are told they are vulnerable to Mugabe-style expropriations and a new mansion tax.
We need new transport infrastructure – and that means a government with boldness and vision, such as the one led by David Cameron and the Conservatives, not a Labour government that can’t make its mind up on the crucial challenges facing the country. Ed Miliband is against the third runway at Heathrow; Ed Balls is for it, even though it would be environmentally catastrophic and politically undeliverable.
We need a government with the guts to go for the real solution that will let this country compete with our neighbours – and help British business and consumers to fly to more destinations.
I know how hard it is to fight against a Labour Party that dishonestly pretends it can cut your costs. I’ve done it; and I know that in the end people see through the con. The public will go for the party with vision and ambition and sheer courage to take the big long-term decisions that will boost Britain’s competitiveness, cut costs and improve the standard of living for everyone.
What would Ed do if we were mad enough to put him back into office? What he did last time. Sit like a panda masticating bean shoots, or like a turbine inert on a windless day.