Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/793/17923
Energy Bills: Labour's 'supermarket special offer'
Richard Worth, Bristol South Socialist Party
Labour is targeting Kingswood constituency in Bristol for the 2015 general election, using its promise to 'freeze energy bills' to gain support for Jo McCarron, the newly selected prospective parliamentary candidate.
The original candidate stood down after not paying over £2,000 of parking fines! Both were chosen over the trade union candidate.
After speaking with McCarron by phone I was invited to meet her and Labour's shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint MP, at a supermarket café.
I went with another Socialist Party member, expecting a big event. Instead we found around a dozen Labour Party members plus 'party officials' in a corner of the large cafe that was still open for the public.
When Flint started speaking we had to contend with the noise of people ordering teas, coffees and cakes and chatting about the weather! Also there were announcements of Asda special offers over the speaker system!
Labour's 'special offer' was, if elected, to make energy companies freeze bills until 2017. They would also 'warn' energy companies against raising prices before the freeze came into effect.
This proposal had clearly energised some Labour Party members present who genuinely wanted to make things better for working people.
Flint vaguely said how a future Labour government would replace weak energy industry regulator Ofgem with 'something better', make switching energy supplier easier and give some financial support to small community-based green energy production.
I pointed out these modest proposals had been met with widespread public support, but opinion polls had shown over 70% want energy companies taken into public ownership.
My words were met with enthusiastic applause from both the younger and older Labour Party members, far to the left of the Labour Party leadership and officials.
Their response showed how socialist ideas can win support from wide sections of the working class to fight back and take over the commanding heights of the economy to improve everyone's lives.
In The Socialist 8 January 2014:
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