In 2013 the Labour leader Ed Miliband announced a policy of clamping down on profiteering energy companies by capping energy bills.
The Daily Mail savagely attacked his proposal by calling it “Back to the bad old days” on their front page and viciously slurring Miliband’s war hero father to boot.
When it became clear how popular Miliband’s energy cap policy was with the public the Tory party went into full-scale attack mode too, with senior Tories lining up to screech “price fixing” and dire warnings that the policy would cause massive energy blackouts to anyone in the media who would listen.
Fast forward to 2017 and Theresa May’s Tory government have announced plans to … errr … clamp down on profiteering energy companies by capping energy bills!
This time the Daily Mail didn’t run a negative front page, quite the opposite in fact. They produced a glowing appraisal of the Tory policy to cap energy prices, without a single negative comment, and absolutely no mentions of “price fixing”, and no “back to the bad old days” rhetoric whatever.
Unsurprisingly no Tory MPs are queuing up to shriek that Theresa May is guilty of “price fixing” to the media, or make doom-mongering predictions that the policy would lead to energy blackouts.
I had a lot of problems with Ed Miliband’s weak leadership, especially his refusal to get rid of utterly incompetent people like Ed Balls and Liam Byrne, but his energy price cap policy was actually a good one. At the time it was absolutely clear by the way the Daily Mail attacked his war hero father in order to distract attention away from what was actually a very popular policy.
Now that Theresa May is blatantly ripping off one of Miliband’s most radical flagship policies it’s surely about time to accept that Miliband was actually at his best when he was at his most left, and consider what he could have achieved if he hadn’t lumbered himself with Ed Balls’ astoundingly inept and unappealing austerity-lite electoral strategy.