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DAN WOOTTON: Forget what your woke world leader chums say, Boris

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 20/09/2021 Dan Wootton for MailOnline
Dan Wootton et al. posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

It's hard to believe I'm writing this in 2021 but Britain's lights are close to going out. Literally. Our food supplies are in doubt for Christmas.

And the government refuses to rule out the prospect of further soul-destroying lockdowns to 'protect the NHS' over winter.

The spectre of a 1970s-style three-day week to preserve our gas supplies is being floated.

Yet there's been no war, no general strike, no natural disaster.

Just epic incompetence and complacency.

But what can you expect of a government which sits by and watches as a bunch of eco-terrorists block the M25 for the fourth time in just a week with impunity, with no indication the police have any intention of doing anything about their criminality anytime soon?

And where is Boris Johnson?

a store inside of a building: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

In New York, still burbling his green dreams in a so far unsuccessful attempt to cajole a sceptical world to sign up to ambitious carbon zero targets before his beloved Cop26 summit in Glasgow, which isn't too far off from becoming an international embarrassment.

He should get his priorities right. Forget humiliation in front of his woke world leader buddies. It's the reckoning he will face from the British people if he doesn't sort out this sorry mess that he should be worrying about.

He risks a winter of discontent if he is seen as presiding over an energy crisis because he has become too obsessed with chasing green targets to please Carrie and the woke mob instead of focussing on the very real problems piling up on the home front.

And beating this crisis will mean putting his eco-ideology to one side for just a minute to scrap the 23 per cent green levy on energy bills, an unwelcome stealth tax when ordinary families are facing forking out hundreds more pounds a year for pricier energy anyway.

He must start with what should be the easy bit and (just to show he's not secretly backing the bearded loons of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain) give the police the power to stop their law-breaking with immediate enforcement and stiff jail sentences for those that commit economic and life-destroying acts.

But do I have any faith Boris will take such important – and widely popular – steps to stop these crises before they become a political nightmare? Sadly not.

For two reasons.

First, ever the optimist, Boris doesn't want to acknowledge there's a real gas crisis, dismissing the seriousness of the situation to journalists en route to the US last night by breezily declaring: 'It's like everybody going back to put the kettle on at the end of a TV programme, you're seeing huge stresses on the world supply systems.'

Second, he sees Cop26 as a legacy-defining moment for his prime ministership that could put him at the forefront of action against climate change in the history books.

Sure enough, a Downing Street spokesman ruled out a move to scrap the levy today, saying it is 'an important part of driving our energy supply to renewables'.

But urgent action of some form is required.

Wholesale prices for gas have surged 250 per cent since January and gone up 70 per cent since August alone.

Millions of households across Great Britain are already facing a 12 per cent hike to their bills from October when the government's higher price cap comes into force. By April, some households could be paying twice as much as they do now.

But the energy companies cannot pass all the growing costs on to consumers, so some are instead going out of business.

Bulb – our six largest energy company – already wants a bailout and four other small electric companies are expected to go as soon as this week.

In fact, the 70 energy suppliers we had at the start of the year could plummet to just ten by December.

As a stop gap measure, the government is thinking about emergency state-backed loans for the struggling companies but is reluctant to bail them out.

That's terrible news for consumers who are likely to find themselves on dramatically more expensive new tariffs if they are forcefully switched to a new energy supplier.

Further, supermarkets say they already have a limited supply of some frozen items because of the gas shortages, with the situation escalating quickly.

a group of police officers standing in a parking lot: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a group of people in a field: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Iceland boss Richard Walker told the BBC this morning: 'This is no longer about whether Christmas will be OK. This is more about keeping the wheels turning and the lights on so we can actually get to Christmas.'

Clive Moffatt, a gas consultant and former government energy adviser, told the Daily Telegraph some companies could 'easily see a three-day working week' this winter if the situation gets worse.

Add that to the prospect of a raft of social distancing measures – and possibly a full lockdown – being reintroduced if the NHS comes under significant threat and the winter looks nothing short of disastrous.

To sum it up: It's a complete and utter mess that is going to further hit hardworking families already facing an unexpected National Insurance increase.

That's why the green levies must be removed immediately to save the winter.

As Craig Mackinlay, who heads the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Tory MPs, told the MailOnline today: 'We cannot have these ridiculous prices being passed on to consumers, because we then will have energy poverty this winter. It is very obvious, we have to get rid of green levies temporarily or permanently.'

Once that's done, our domestic gas storage must be boosted in the medium-term, with North See Oil exploited, to avoid this sort of calamity again.

We've forgiven Boris for a lot over the course of the past two years, because much of the early consequences of the pandemic were near impossible to predict.

But the time has come to knuckle down and open the country up now to avoid further economic consequences and even more tax rises.

That means sidelining the almost incessant push for further net zero initiatives, given the UK is already leading the western world.

Boris might want to think he can save the world with an extreme green agenda, but he was elected on a promise to level up the UK, with the Red Wall seats far more concerned by their growing tax burden and threats to their livelihoods.

a group of people standing around a plane: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Perhaps it's time to consider for one moment if there's a good reason why the leaders of fellow liberal democracies like Canada, Australia and the US are reluctant to so eagerly follow the lead of Boris, who seems to be putting green targets ahead of our perilous finances.

Those priorities have got to change.

Boris might be thinking how he will be judged by history.

But he should be thinking about how voters will judge him if he fails to keep the lights on over the cold months without massively increasing our electricity bills.

Which is on top of the manifesto-busting 1.25% National Insurance rise Boris announced earlier this month.

And on top of inflation hitting a record high, which will also be eating into people's savings and spending power.

And which, if it isn't fixed soon, may lead to even more expensive hikes in mortgages as interest rates rise.

Thank God we have a CONSERVATIVE government, eh? Or do we?

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