May 2015. The televised debates are over, votes counted, leadership won.
As champagne corks pop, dry ice clouds rising in the winning party’s HQ, a futuristic, macho figure clomps through the auditorium to ascend the stage.
“I think a price freeeeze is coming,” declares the costumed party leader, brandishing a fake ice-ray gun, in swaggering imitation of every politician’s idol – Arnold Schwarzenegger. (After all, everyone knows Batman was his finest Hollywood outing.)
Ripping off his prosthetic face, the Mrs Doubtfire of British politics, Ed Miliband greets his adoring party faithful, rapturously cheering as he sprays them with foam icicles.
I’m no mind-reader but I’m pretty sure this is the scene that plays in the Labour leader’s head as he lies in bed at night, dreaming of the time when talking tough on energy gets him what he fervently desires: the keys to Number 10.
Problem is, rhetoric is easy. He’s established that he’s got a good speech in him. Now how about good policies to match?
For starters, what about showing a knowledge of policy right now? In his conference speech on Tuesday there was ZERO mention of electricity market reform. Yup, it was a – here we go – below freezing effort to keep any sort of consistency for the energy sector.
Labour reckons its own reforms will take 20 months to get in place – including scrapping Ofgem and setting up a replacement. Who are they kidding? It’s taken nigh on two years – at least 24 months – to get the Energy Bill to the state it is now, with much, much more work needed.
The former Energy Secretary is on thin ice if he thinks much good will come of tearing all that to shreds and starting all over again. Perhaps that Mr Freeze punchline won’t work after all…