Since March of this year when British Gas was publicly exposed for illegally 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 illegally
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 illegal manner in which Stornoway gas
customers have been being 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 and gangsterised utilities (backs to the wall and righteously shot,
if memory serves) 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 legal 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’s 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!
Letters: “Begging letter” misjudges energy giant’s alleged malpractice