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SNP energy gambit looks desperate

The Scottish National Party (general election energySNP) riding the crest of the wave formerly occupied by UKIP as the king making minor party and fresh from backing Labour’s price freeze folly, has now called for the right of the Scottish government to obtain “joint oversight” of Ofgem.

Given the SNP’s route to power sharing, and Labour’s, is a coalition, formal or otherwise, and given Labour’s manifesto commitment to abolish Ofgem, the policy position is somewhat bizarre.

Adding to the confusion, despite a planned execution of the regulator post a Labour electoral success, Ofgem are to be required to implement the price freeze itself!

As a result, the rush for energy legitimacy by the SNP strikes as odd.

In an era of budget cuts, the SNPs call for Ofgem to lay its annual report before the Scottish parliament and appear before its committees strikes as typical of a party entirely unfocussed on ‘austerity’ actions. No matter the additional costs involved and limited benefit, it’s the macho political posturing that seems to matter to Holyrood.

In addition the tax and spend reputation of both potential coalition partners, has been amplified by the SNP’s manifesto commitment to cut energy bills by pushing for the Energy Company Obligation to be funded through general taxation rather than as a levy on customer bills. Deckchairs. Shifting. Titanic comes to mind.

Does any tax payer not also have energy bills to pay ?

The SNP didn’t stop there in their nationalist centric call for energy self interest.

The nationalists called for a new transmission charging regime to place the one that they claim is:

“Penalising Scottish generators and threatening the future of Longannet power station”.

That the SNP conveniently ignore the benefit they receive from the levies placed upon all energy customers to subsidise remote Scottish energy distribution typifies the unbalanced approach to government that any flavour of nationalism naturally brings.

This state of affairs is echoed by the party’s call for more support for Scotland’s offshore wind industry. The party has gone to the totalitarian lengths to demand that the next Contracts for Difference allocation round is conducted early and prioritises projects in Scotland.

That’s a fair auction criteria perhaps in Stalinist Russia but not in the modem day UK surely?

In an amusing aside, the SNP also calls for subsidy of the offshore oil and gas industry, the same industry that the nationalists claimed was to bankroll their independence movement and their planned spending largesse over the coming decades. A claim not shared at the time or now by any notable independent energy expert.

Despite the obvious contradiction that a non independent Scotland’s golden industry now faced the need for bail outs and subsidies that just months ago was its supposed saviour neatly sums up the SNP’s style of campaigning.

They’re not the first to exploit the position, indeed the Lib Dems of former times were past masters at the art of ‘say anything you want, we’ll never have to implement’. The only problem is, in a coalition government you need to make or at least contribute to decisions, and that calls for a very different set of skills and rarely ends well for a junior coalition partner of whatever colour, creed and nationality.

Be careful what you call for, the general electorate always calls you to account.