Will it turn out to be Boris Johnson’s Jim Callaghan moment? Briefing reporters on his plane to the US on Sunday, the current PM tried to play down the energy crisis, saying:
‘It’s like everybody going back to put the kettle on at the end of a TV programme, you’re seeing huge stresses on the world supply systems.’
The gas price spike would be over just as soon as it occurred, he implied, and was caused by nothing more than the global economy rebounding after many months on the Covid couch.
It all had faint overtones of the moment during the Winter of Discontent 42 years ago when the then PM, catching a plane taking him to Guadeloupe for a summit, retorted to reporters at Heathrow:
‘I promise if you look at it from the outside, I don’t think other people in the world would share the view that there is mounting chaos’
These comments were paraphrased in the immortal Sun headline ‘Crisis, what crisis?”
The idea that the energy crisis is just a temporary blip has been questioned this morning by Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, appearing before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee of MPs.
Asked whether the current surge in prices was just a temporary spike he said:
‘I think when you look at commodity markets as a whole, when you see a spike like this, history has suggested that those spikes do go away. All I say right now is that you know that’s not something we Ofgem would rely on simply because we have to plan for a whole range of scenarios.’