Since March of this year when British Gas was publically exposed for withholding tariffs and specified online offers from Stornoway customers, Angus Brendan MacNeil, MP has been working tirelessly to have this company adhere to its statutory obligations vis-à-vis the 1995 Gas Regulation Act.
By way of support I have provided Mr MacNeil with the evidence required for the industry regulator to scrutinise how Stornoway gas customers have, since 1995, been deprived of the opportunity to access tariffs available to gas customers on the mainland.
Presently, Mr MacNeil is in the process of ensuring Stornoway gas customers will no longer be treated differently from those on the mainland and that British Gas is held accountable for its past business practices in this town.
Like me, I know the MP is confident that British Gas will be instructed to provide an assurance that is past business practices in this town will be addressed and remedied. But it has been, and continues to be, an exhausting process. For almost a year, I have been collating the evidence and information necessary to expose and end the previous mendacious behaviour of British Gas.
To do this I have taken advice from some very fine legal and academic practitioners as well as undertaking a great deal of research personally.
You will understand, therefore, that it grieves me enormously to have to admit I completely overlooked the blindingly obvious throughout this entire process: What would a true socialist politician do?
And this week we got an answer to that simple and obvious question. The true socialist (Councillor Donald Crichton in this case) – unless he has completely misunderstood the manner in which Stornoway gas customers have been been treated by this giant privatised utility – has come up with a truly visionary tactic which will ensure Scottish Gas customers in Stornoway are treated positively different than their mainland equivalents: A begging letter to Mr Mark Hodges of Centrica (Owner of British Gas) requesting of him, on compassionate grounds, a uniquely lower tariff for Stornoway customers!
What clarity of thought. What genius. What audacity of wisdom. Who but a genuine and thoughtful socialist could - and with such linguistic elegance - exhibit the genius necessary, to make the intellectual leap from Labour’s previous policy towards the privatised utilities to the new and philosophically satisfying strategy of prostrating himself before the magnificent head of such a company and begging his indulgence; that he may see fit to reduce his private conglomerate’s annual profits by bestowing upon Stornoway gas customers a unique and affordable tariff.
Whilst our MP continues working to ensure this company complies with the 1995 legislation and begin treating his constituents as the law demands, others see clear through all the legislative arcanery to a simple begging letter.
When it comes to Stornoway gas customers having the access to tariffs available to mainland customers, it seems it wasn’t so complicated after all.
But before we even begin arranging community street parties based on the certainty of lower gas tariffs which will result from Councillor Crichton’ begging letter, perhaps we should encourage him to address in similar fashion, the exorbitant prices being charged for fruit, veg and especially drink in both the Tesco and Co-op stores in Stornoway. Outrageously, these prices are the same as those on the mainland!