I always wonder about Simon Jenkins. He writes crisply, with an air of massive authority, and the Graun gives him absolutely free rein. Sometimes I like his stuff; other times he goes pompous soft-left and it's annoying.
Anyhow, today he's gone 100% populist pig-ignorant.
Forget a gimmicky windfall tax. Energy companies should be forced to slash bills instead ... The answer must be to slash the price cap and demand the companies spend their profits directly on cutting bills. The wimps of Ofgem, the industry regulator, must become tigers. They know that these companies – and their executives – are now wealthy. They know investment is not at issue: they are distributing massive profits and buying back shares. Unless the west goes collectively mad, energy supplies, and profits with them, will return to normal. For now, the priority is simply to bring the price of energy down, and at the government’s command. Yes, all consumers, rich and poor, would benefit; but it would not cost the exchequer a penny, and it would instantly relieve the cost of living at source.
Well, that's embarrassing. It would seem he thinks it's energy suppliers who are making the windfalls: seeing that it is only they who are subject to the cap and regulated by Ofgem. Has he somehow not noticed that suppliers have been dropping like flies?
Making his excuses for him; perhaps he has primary producers in mind? Nothing to do with Ofgem or the retail cap, mind; but OK, well invent a new cap on their prices and for one thing you can say goodbye to all our imports, at the very least. That's 60% + of our gas.
I do look forward to his scheme for capping the astonishing profits of renewable generators still on the ROCs subsidy, though ... Seriously: if people like Jenkins understand as little as he does, both on the principles and the details, some very strange populist cries are likely to be gaining traction, with the scope for some particularly crass political decisions being made.
What a plonker.