The week according to Sean Dilley

The week according to Sean Dilley
The week according to Sean Dilley

Broadcaster and general nuisance Sean Dilley gives us his take on the week in politics.

Things have been hotting up for the big six energy firms – and for once, we're not paying for it.

Energy watchdog Ofgem has announced their decision to refer the big six to the newly created competition and markets authority, which ultimately could see the firms broken up.

Ofgem say they were concerned over profits, charting a quadrupling between 2009 and 2012 – but British Gas owner Centrica has slammed this as inaccurate.

To add fuel to the fire, Ed Miliband has backed new controls on energy prices to protect small businesses from increasing bills by creating a new regulator with the power to ban energy suppliers from generating "crippling backdated bills" or changing tariffs  without the customer's consent.

Sad, isn't it, that basic customer service needs to be introduced by legislation.

***

5
7% of YouGov respondents didn't agree with Nick when it came to which party leader won over the British public in the first of two televised debates between the deputy PM and Nigel Farage this week.

Predictably enough, the post-debate analysis has descended in to a game of political pettiness with more spin than a candyfloss maker.

The Lib Dems are claiming a common sense victory with Vince Cable and Lynne Featherstone, quite literally in Lynne's case, saying they "agree with Nick". What a shocker!

It seems doubtful in the light of public opinion that Nigel Farage and Ukip will feel too bashed by the debate – and equally likely given public opinion that the Lib Dems will be feeling a little blue (innocent face) this weekend. Time for a glass of water, Nick?

LBC then were the clear victors of the encounter, with branding and coverage across all media platforms. An impressive feather in the cap of managing editor James Rea and new political editor Theo Usherwood. Congratulations to them… politics has quite literally been made by the UK's only national commercial speech station.

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I would like to say a big thank you to former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik for assisting my local fundraising branch of Guide Dogs to raise £1,800 this Tuesday gone at our second annual curry night.

We were also joined at Spice Rouge in Stevenage Old Town by anti-politics comedian Del Strain, once described as George Galloway's 'favourite Scottish comedian' and a man Russell Brand would probably think is anti-establishment. Everyone in the restaurant other than Lembit fell in to a hushed silence when the comic pulled out what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol… Lembit simply bragged that his weapon was bigger.

Sufficed to say that Del did not, as it turned out, have a weapon of mass destruction, nor was it capable of being used even with 45 minutes preparation time.

But all joking aside, the night was a huge success and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved and everyone who attended from the world of politics, media and the local community. It costs around £50,000 to train and support just one guide dog partnership. Do please check out the website at www.guidedogs.org.uk.

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One suspects another clash of the PM's inner circle is looming after the education secretary said "teachers should definitely be paid more than they are at the moment". That won't be used much to slap the government's education policy across their chops as we run up toward the general election, will it?

Michael Gove's comments came in an interview with 12 school reporters from across the UK and during strike action by the profession.

Cameron's old mate robustly defended the government's track record on supporting teachers by paying off some of their student debt in bursaries and pointing out that teachers repay their debt more slowly than higher earners.

I'm sure that will be a great comfort to Christine Blower from the NUT, who will undoubtedly agree that the government are doing everything they can… or… not.

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Germany and Britain are standing shoulder to shoulder.

Yes, you don't need your eyes tested, you read it right.

At least when it comes to legal protections for non-eurozone countries like the UK and  further integration into Europe. Both UK chancellor George Osborne and German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said that any changes in the future must guarantee fairness.

The two money men wrote in Friday's FT that non-eurozone countries "must not be put at a systematic disadvantage" in clearly well rehearsed and agreed language. It was designed, no doubt, to cool tensions with Germany, which has been frustrated in recent times at the UK's position.

The stock in trade of any journalist is nuance of language. In the joint piece for the FT, the interesting lines are definitely that the pair "approach European reform with optimism" and working together, the two countries can create "a flexible and outward looking EU". This is the language of two governments who would rather smear golden syrup on their personal areas and go boxing with a swarm of angry hornets than consider an EU without Britain or a Britain without the EU.

In fairness to the Conservative-led government, they have been clear that they believe Britain belongs in Europe and out of the eurozone. Britain's membership of the EU is a complicated issue and this writer genuinely has no hard view – but it’s little wonder when Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems all vociferously share the same view that Britain must remain in the EU that its Ukip looking like they'll make serious headway in the European elections in May.


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