One of the hottest political topics in the UK at the minute is the cost to heat a house. Each sequential price hike by the Big Six Energy Suppliers in the UK has been met by claim and counter claim over who to blame. Within the debate, both renewables and green taxes have been pilloried by the right for forcing the poor in general, and pensioners in particular, into fuel poverty.
The left, meanwhile, has been noticeable for its silence in defending the ‘green agenda’. A low carbon policy was originally introduced and supported by all three main parties (from left to right) to mitigate climate change, but almost no-one (there are few brave exceptions) wants to champion this cause any more for fear of having the blood of frozen pensioners on their hands.
George Marshall, the insightful author of the Climate Change Denial blog, has a great post looking at the psychology of the debate. The debate, to him, has unfortunately been fitted into the standard narrative, which looks like this:
1. Enemy + Intention → Harm to victims
2. Hero + Intention → Defeats enemy and restores status quo
The left narrative has been this:
1. Enemy (Big Business) + intention (self enrichment) → harm (high energy costs) to victims (vulnerable fuel poor)
2. Hero (Labour party) + intention (social justice) → defeat (price freeze) and restores status quo (standard of living)
Meanwhile, the editorials of the right-wing press give us this:
1. Enemy (Environmental extremism) + intention (ideological zealotry) → harm (green taxes/suffering) to victims (vulnerable)