Word is that we are going to get Plan B this week. I suspect the Boy Osborne will struggle to make himself heard over the crashes and screams issuing from the other side of the Channel, but maybe he'll be happy enough about that, in the circumstances.
Trailed for some months, and now being briefed 'properly' in the usual manner, has been a package of measures to ameliorate the effects of Mad Crapper Huhne's energy policy on heavy industry. A new subsidy to offset the cost of an earlier subsidy. We could all name a simpler way of going about this.
What's really mad is that the whole internal logic of having electricity consumers pay for Huhne's schemes is to make life more difficult for heavy energy users. There are only four proven ways of reducing emissions at the national level on a sustained and large-scale basis, three** of which involve beating up on industry, viz de-industrialisation, recession, and driving efficiency via high prices. Only the last stands any chance of succeeding at the global level, since the others just drive industry abroad, where their emissions are likely to be greater per unit of production. And even if some selected heavy industries manage to lobby for compo, this is self-evidently no comprehensive or long-term solution.
It is a crying shame that the combined forces of Osborne and Cable can't take on and crush Huhne in Cabinet. The costs in treasure, aye, and in blood, of their failure to do so will be tangible: wasted cash, needless imports, dead factories, unemployed workers and frozen grannies. Can we afford this just now? Ever ?
**The fourth - replacing coal-burning with gas - is much too obvious and constructive to merit Huhne's favour. A potential fifth - replacing old coal generation with new, more efficient coal plant, has yet to be demonstrated on a large scale.