"Parliament's pulse has faded and died. MPs may as well shut up shop and go home"
Tom Harris is whinging in the Telegraph that he has nothing to do. The reality is that a tsunami of new regulations (in the form of Energy Act secondary legislation) is due to hit parliament later this year...if the "screw the country Energy Act" is to achieve its aims on time and at any cost.
"A good way to describe what is now down on paper is to imagine the [Energy] Bill (sorry, Act) as a wardrobe; it looks OK from the outside but if there are no coathangers on the rails once you open the door. And so you can hardly say that it performs the essential functions of a wardrobe. And as far as the Energy Act is concerned there are precious few hangers currently in evidence. This is because of the extraordinarily high count of consequent pieces of secondary legislation written into it - clauses that require the practicalities of what has been outlined (often in very rudimentary terms) to be set out in Orders. And these Orders will either have to be laid down on the Parliamentary order paper and (hopefully) not objected to, or, more seriously, will be subject to finding an afternoon in a committee room to debate and agree a raft of secondary measures.
The to do list now numbers no less than seventeen affirmative resolutions (the afternoon's debate) and twenty-three negative resolutions, some of which may need to be fully debated depending on other parts of the Act. Subjects in the queue for debate include: how the Secretary of State is going to decide on a decarbonisation target; the carbon intensity of electricity generation; how to make electricity capacity regulations; the capacity agreements themselves; how auctions are carried out; the settlement body that will oversee them; a huge raft of regulations relating to CfD investment contracts and payments; how to make renewable obligation transitional arrangements; what emission performance standards will consist of; arrangements for altering licences... In short, most of the meaty content of the Act."
There is going to be no real choice at the next general election. Four of the major political parties: Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Greens are now wedded to the ideals of crony-capitalism. The twenty first century is becoming the century where free markets die and crony-capitalist market carve-ups thrive.
UKIP on paper seems to be for free-markets and against crony capitalism; the downside for me is that they want to leave Europe, which would isolate us from the rest of Europe and increase the hold that global corporations have over UK politics and UK politicians.
Therefore what we really need now need is a new political party that is committed to removing the Energy Act from the statute book, and cancelling illegal and crony-capitalist contracts. But also a party that is in favour of remaining in a reformed European Union; a European Union that concentrates more on maintaining and regulating free markets within Europe, at the same time as phasing out farm and other subsidies.
I doubt whether much can be done before the next General Election in 2015, but such a party is surely capable of having a serious effect on the 2020 General Election.