Owen Paterson’s lame performance on BBC Breakfast this morning was another display of how little his government cares about the lives of the majority of people in this country.
The man who earlier this year wailed about how the badgers had ‘moved the goalposts’ to avoid being effectively culled protested to Susanna Reid that the energy companies had let everyone down by allowing too many of their staff go and remain on leave over the festive period whilst thousands of households spent days without heat and light.
Quizzed about Government’s role in this the Environment Secretary insisted that his department had told the power companies, insurers and others that the weather was going to be bad and…so there.
Miss Reid seemed to think – as I did – that it was pertinent to ask what government can do to ensure that these agencies don’t abrogate their responsibilities and make such crises worse. The answer? Tell them that the weather is going to be bad.
Er, but you did that, you say, and it didn’t work Owen. Another lousy shot – or did someone move the target?
He’s comforting those who are still lamenting a miserable Christmas whilst he plainly overdid it by telling them they can complain to the power companies and that they should get a rebate. Fantastic.
What they should have is compensation. It should be meaningful. It should be sufficient for those affected to take a break in the New Year (after cleaning up).
More important it should be significant enough to make the energy companies determined to ensure that they perform far better in future.
Of course, that won’t happen. The only people who care enough to try and make it happen are the latest victims but they’ll founder in the face of procrastination and lies that flourish largely because of toothless regulators.
And that’s pretty much all they’ve got where Government has made our litigation system an increasingly hostile and unnavigable route to redress. As in all other areas, notably crime and personal injury, it’s David versus Goliath – with the equivalent of a UN observer if you’re lucky.
But “Badger” Paterson and his chums just don’t give a damn.