Some commentators either have short memories, are capable of deploying double standards, or perhaps have engaged autopilot without first thinking. That is the inescapable conclusion after seeing the tide of ritual abuse directed at Mil The Younger following his commitments on energy prices and land banking made during his speech to the Labour Party conference.
(c) Steve Bell 2013
The Labour commitment to not only cap bills for almost two years following the 2015 General Election, but also to put in place reforms in the meantime to make the market work better for ordinary consumers, has caused share prices to take a hit and the right leaning part of the punditry to recoil in horror – before unleashing yet another tirade of abuse at Miliband.
Typical was Max “Hitler” Hastings, now reduced to churning out copy to the order of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, who called the Labour leader an “ass” before going off on a rant: “deeply depressing ... evasions ... outright untruths ... disastrous class-war mindset ... discredited socialist obsessions ... contemptible ... absolute unfitness”. Yep, autopilot engaged all right.
But reference to what happened when Labour was elected in a landslide back in 1997 there was none. And there’s the rub: that was when Pa Broon, following a pre-election pledge, hit the energy companies with a one-off “windfall tax” to raise £5.2 billion for training young people. The probable cost of Miliband’s price cap is in the region of £4.5 billion – to be retained by consumers.
And, as Adam Bienkov has pointed out at politics.co.uk, it’s a little rich that Baron Mandelson of Indeterminate Guacamole is up in arms at the Miliband pledge, as he was one of the stoutest defenders of the Brown “windfall tax”. Moreover, it isn’t just over energy bills that the Labour leadership is criticised: there is the matter of how to solve the ever-present problem of land banking.
“Even compared with his energy freeze bombshell, Ed Miliband’s threat to seize undeveloped land owned by property developers sounded extreme” asserted the Maily Telegraph. Yes, it was a THREAT to SEIZE something that was OWNED by someone else. And that, as any fule kno, is only done by rotten lefties. But the Tel is forgetting that someone else said the same thing only last May.
That someone was their star columnist, London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who, the Standard reported, “has threatened large housing developers sitting on land until its value goes up with tough compulsory purchase orders unless they start building”. That’s the same idea as Miliband’s. But from a Telegraph pundit and One Of Us Jolly Good Tories.
So that’s two more examples of rank hypocrisy. No change there, then.