There is a lot happening in energy just now, not least in the UK where Ofgem is vainly lashing out in all directions: but the policy contradictions are beginning to become so evident that something will have to give.
And the sooner the better: the 'Big 6' suppliers who make such convenient punchbags for politicians are being squeezed from all directions and their patience is thinning by the month. There is no way they can be leaned on for £200 billion of capex for 'decarbonisation', and yet be beaten up on every occasion. As we've said many times before, the official way of squaring this circle - increase electricity prices so much that everyone can be bought off with subsidies - falls at the twin hurdles of (a) industrial companies packing up and emigrating, and (b) the general inflationary impact.
But today we must focus on the great opening of the oil floodgates announced by the IEA. What do we make of this ?
Well firstly, note that Brent is still in 3 figures: and if that's how OPEC likes it, believe me OPEC can keep it there. The Saudis may have been increasing production a little of late, but here we have a nation that is investing in solar and nuclear as fast as anyone will sell them the kit, which kinda tells us something ...
Secondly, it is not hard to detect the increasingly confident, if not competent Hand of Obama in this. Perhaps, as some have suggested, this is the opening salvo of QE3-in-disguise. Personally, I think the oil measure alone would not have the longer-term effect he's hoping for, but we shall see because it does at least remind us that the Big Boys have several Big Levers they can pull.
And pull them they will, because things are looking truly awful at the moment, are they not ?
Which brings me to an uncomfortable conclusion. Back here in Blighty, I look at Cameron and Osborne and I don't see men who know how to pull the levers. They don't seem to have the creativity for it, or the vision. I'm not even sure they know where the levers are. Mandelson, and even Balls - they know how these things are done. Cameron just stands blinking at the cameras, saying that the nice Mrs Merkel has promised him no-one will be asking us for any Greek bail-out money. (Does he have a piece of paper from her, I wonder ...) Pathetic.
When the incoming Conservative government took Sterling off the gold standard in 1931, a former Labour cabinet minister (history is divided as to which one) said: they never told us we could do that !
The hour needs to call forth the man. He seems to be hiding his light under a bushel just now.