Chinese Domination, Energy Price Rises & Teachers’ Strikes

October 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I’m no customer of British Gas, but if I were I’d be feeling all warm and fuzzy inside tonight. You see, even though they may have increased their dual fuel bills by a whopping 9.2% just in time for another harsh British Winter, at a time where families are struggling to ‘put food on the table’, they showed that there is a human element behind its vast corporate money-printing machine. Yes, here’s what they had to say about their price rises:

“We understand the frustration of prices rising faster than inflation.”

Do you? Do you really? Do you understand how difficult it will be for the average family to find an extra £123 per year in order to cook and store  food, clean clothes, bathe and turn on the lights? Do you understand that families already below the ‘breadline’ simply will not be able to find that extra money and will resort to Payday lenders or simply just not eat? Do you understand that the average worker receives a below inflation pay rise, so an above inflation pay rise is doubly crippling? Do you understand that this will result in unnecessary deaths again this winter?

The answer is a sad and resounding yes. Of course they understand. They know the impacts of their price rises, yet they don’t care. And that’s the problem, it’s not that these people fail to understand, it’s that they fail to give a shit. They know that people will go without food in order to fund their energy needs. They know it. David Cameron’s reaction was to wave the white flag, encouraging ‘consumers’ to go out and shop for a better deal, knowing full well that SSE had already announced price rises and that the rest of the cartel will follow suit within weeks, if not days.

£123, the average extra cost to British Gas customers, over the course of a year may not sound a lot but if you’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel, it makes the bottom of that barrel seem a heck of a lot further away. But at least they ‘understand’. So British Gas customers can sleep well, warm and fuzzy tonight. But from the 23rd November, their sleep may be a little less warm.

And on the subject of the Politics of Energy, George Osborne announced today that China will be funding a new wave of Nuclear Power Stations in Britain. Apart from the fact it’s Nuclear, this may sound like fantastic news. Foreign rich people investing in Great Britain can never be a bad thing, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We already have quite the cartel in the energy market, wildly profiteering at the expense of those less well off, but now China will be pouring it’s money, and political muscle, into this already poisonous mix.

Sure, there may be jobs created and a little bit extra wealth created and maybe a boost to ‘wavering’ energy suppliers (I don’t buy this for a millisecond), but look at the cost. We’ll have potentially dangerous, unsafe, ‘terror target’ Nuclear reactors that nobody knows how to dispose of after use combined with a foreign investor looking to make profit from their venture. Today’s announcement means that the future for the energy sector is bright and lined with money, and all this will be at our expense. Also, I find it outrageously hypocritical and actually disgusting that Osborne practically whored out Britain to China, relaxing visa controls at a time where his party is clamouring for immigration and border controls to be tightened. Makes sense.

A final point then, on strike action. The recent teacher’s strike drew a flurry of frankly pathetic comments from those ‘affected’ by it. The public are really buying into this Tory bullshit whereby any strike action is disappointing and wrong. I don’t know the facts behind the strike at all, and am not terribly interested either but what I do know is that nobody wants to strike. A strike is the last resort for employees against an employer that is being unreasonable and refuses to enter serious negotiations. This isn’t the 70s where unions would strike because the tea was tepid.

Perhaps those complaining about the strikes would do well to learn to live a little. Not everything goes to plan, and when something unexpected happens, react spontaneously and enjoy it. Surely a day away from the mundane reality of the daily grind is a good thing? And consider your fellow human, who has made the decision to strike as a last resort against an unreasonable employer.