YESTERDAY early morning we heard from the BBC, and a number of pro-Tory daily newspapers, that Cameron had succeeded in trumping the Labour Party and Miliband on the energy price hike issue by dumping his old policy and embracing its opposite, negotiating an energy price freeze until after the 2015 general election is out of the way, with the presumption that the Tories would be re-elected on the strength of the manoeuvre.
We were told that Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, was the man that had outflanked the Labourites.
However, by 9.00am elation had turned into first confusion and then despair. Cameron, the Bullingdon boy, had assumed too much as far as the energy bosses are concerned.
The energy giants showed that it is their profit margins that they are really interested in, and the issue of which government is in office is very much a secondary issue.
The energy profiteers stated that while they are sympathetic in principle, they want to have proper talks on the issue of their profits, illustrating the profound role that greed plays amongst the capitalists, who apparently haven’t got the necessary IQ level to understand the elementary lesson of the class struggle: that it is absolutely vital for the different sections of the ruling class to hold together against the working class and the middle class.
Confounding the pleadings of Mayor Johnson, the noble bourgeois quality of ‘greed’ does not lead to triumphs on every occasion.
Angela Knight, chief executive of industry body Energy UK, told the BBC how powerless the energy giants really are, saying : ‘Only about 18-to-20% of the bill is in the control of the energy companies.’
She added that the industry’s profit margin is currently about 5%, saying: ‘A business has to be profitable if it’s going to stay in business.’
Greed has put the government of the greedy into its place. It is the servant of the masters, not the masters.
A senior figure at one of the big six suppliers, who did not want to be named, told the BBC that he wanted to make the commitment.
He said: ‘We want to make it happen, but we need predictability on costs,’ adding that the key is to change the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which requires the firms to deliver energy efficiency measures to homes.
He named his price: ‘If they can resolve the issues around ECO, that takes the gun away from our head.’
But another anonymous boss warned that making such a commitment would be impossible: ‘We can’t make that commitment while our costs are still increasing.’
He demanded the dumping of government policies, including the Carbon Price Floor and the Renewables Obligation which, he said, would drive costs higher in the years ahead.
The government, in seeking to spread the cost of the ECO scheme from the current 27 months to four years, was condemned as just ‘deferring costs, not getting rid of them’.
The government begging the ‘big six’ energy companies to stop raising prices until 2015 has prompted the Labour Party to speak up.
‘David Cameron is making himself look weaker and weaker with every passing day,’ Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint said.
‘For months he has been saying Labour’s energy price freeze is a con. Now he is begging the energy companies to do the very same thing.
‘But the truth is that only by legislating for a freeze can we guarantee that it will happen.
‘David Cameron won’t do that because he’s not prepared to stand up to the big energy companies.’
However, the Labourites are crowing too soon.
Energy companies that show the Tories the door will do the same to the Labourites, and will respond to any attempt to freeze their prices and cut into their profits by organising massive power cuts that will make the three-day-week under the Heath government look like child’s play.
There is only one way to deal with the greedy energy companies and a ruling class that thinks of itself as the rulers of the planet while the working class are described as a gang of idiots.
The energy companies must be renationalised and put under workers’ management so that they can be run properly as public utilities. In fact, the whole of the capitalist economy must be put under public ownership.