Nick Clegg’s confusion on total and absolute heating costs

Nick Clegg has made a mistake on the leader’s debate.

He said that an old couple in a small house are paying more for their heating than somebody in a bit mansion. This is simply not true. A large home costs far more to heat than a small one. What is true is that

a) You pay a fixed charge per property. Some companies spread this over the first few units. Therefore the average overall cost per unit is less.

b) Some of the poor who have a poor or no payment history have to use pre-payment meters. This does not include the settled poor, who have faithfully paid their bills all their lives.

c) The rates paid are hugely different between those who shop around and those who do not. If you know of people who are unable to effectively shop around, then do, as I have, and help them switch. For instance uswitch.com is a good starting point.

Nick Clegg’s mistake is to confuse marginal and actual costs.

But remember – when all the political leader tout their green credentials, they are actually saying that they will increase the costing of heating. Wind power, or nuclear, or tidal, or solar panels are all far more costly than coal and oil.

Lib-Dem Manifesto – an appeal to the Labour Left

After Nick Clegg produced the best performance in last night’s ITV debate, it is time to examine their manifesto. Others has so far failed. John Redwood attacks the £5bn hole in the Lib-Dem figures, but misses the more important bits. Brian Barder on LabourList has clearly not read the Manifesto and Tom Harris thinking that the policies are irrelevant. However, the manifesto is significant for anyone (like me) sad enough to read the thing. In detail it is a direct appeal to the Liberal Left. It is far more re-distributive than Labour, whilst also scrapping some of Labour’s more authoritarian policies like the ID cards.

For instance

–         In the army, reducing the top brass to fund increased pay for the lower ranks.

–         Tax increases for the rich (CGT, pension tax relief, mansion tax)

–         Anti tax avoidance measures.

–         Hitting big business with higher corporation tax.

–         Devaluing the Nations investment in the Banks by a banking levy; by breaking them up; through state sponsored competition in the form of a PostBank; and a UK Infrastructure Bank (high interest safe returns for “green investment”).

–         Cancelling a replacement fo the Trident nulear missile system. They say they will look for cheaper alternatives, but this is unlikely to happen soon with even bigger cuts in other areas necessary to pay it.

Added to this the fact that Labour have created a structural deficit that will undermine public spending for a generation, and you have a strategy to overtake Labour as the party of the left. Perhaps it is Nick Clegg’s strategy to emphasise this in the third debate when Gordon Brown thinks he will avoid Clegg’s criticism.