Theresa May has announced a new Tory pledge that is essentially a rehash of an old Labour policy. And The Daily Mail‘s coverage of the same promise from two different parties could hardly be more hypocritical.
A cap on energy prices
The Tories have proposed a cap on energy prices that could affect around 17 million households. This was the party’s first big policy announcement. And it seemed familiar. Mainly because it was.
The Conservative Party may have hoped to get the policy out gradually with few people noticing. But the man who’d proposed something similar just years before – former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband – was on to them:
Where were these people for last 4 years since I proposed cap?Defending a broken energy market that ripped people off.Let's see small print. https://t.co/iSBUc1Mob1
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) April 23, 2017
While the new Tory policy is almost a carbon copy of Ed Miliband’s ‘energy price freeze’ plan from 2013, there are small differences. But even BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg admits that “the prime minister is pressing ahead with a policy that’s more or less out of Labour’s 2015 playbook”.
Daily Mail hypocrisy
A number of Twitter users, meanwhile, noticed that the treatment Miliband received from The Daily Mail for his energy cap was very different from the treatment Theresa May has received:
— Huw Jordan (@huwjordan) May 8, 2017
Spot the difference.
The Daily Mail on Labour and Tory proposals to cap energy prices. pic.twitter.com/sToRsy6Is8
— Jamie McGeever (@ReutersJamie) May 9, 2017
And it wasn’t just The Mail. When Labour was touting a freeze, former PM David Cameron claimed it made Miliband “a total joke”, and apparently proved that he wanted to live in a “Marxist universe”. Other senior Tories called the policy “complete chaos” and said [paywall] it was “shocking” and “extremely dangerous”.
Today, the Tory tune is very different. And so is The Mail‘s. It went from threats about how the “lights will go out over Britain” back in 2013 to shouting hopefully in 2017: “£100 off your energy bill”.
They do know it’s a left-wing policy, right?
LBC radio’s James O’Brien questioned the logic behind The Mail‘s change in tune. On 9 May, he said:
This is a really really left-wing policy, but because The Daily Mail are cheering it and the Conservative Party are punting it, lots of people who think they’re right-wing are going to be persuaded that it’s not.
For anyone in doubt, he explained that:
this is a cap that effectively says to business… ‘There is a limit on how much profit you can accrue.’ That’s left-wing. That’s the polar opposite of the ideology of trickle-down economics or ‘look after the wealth creators and they’ll look after the rest of us’. This is about as close to a pure left-wing policy as I can remember seeing. And yet The Daily Mail are cheering it.
Assuming that both the Tories and their cheerleaders at The Daily Mail understand this, there are a couple of questions that need asking. First, are they so desperate for ideas that they’re prepared to take on policies from their opponents that they’ve rubbished in the past? And second, do they know that the internet exists?
Or perhaps they just know that the public is wising up to the fact that inequality and fuel poverty have spiralled out of control under Tory rule, and they’re worried that people will take their chance in the upcoming election to vote for change.
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Featured image via Kerry-anne Mendoza