There is more than the usual “air of unreality” about the leadership debates, says Juliet Samuel in The Daily Telegraph. While Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak stand on stage “blaming one another” for the coming recession, Vladimir Putin – “the real culprit” – is playing havoc with Europe’s energy markets. Whether or not he keeps gas flowing into our homes is “the only question that matters” for the millions who’ll struggle to pay their bills this winter. Instead, “the BBC wants to talk about Mr Sunak’s shoes”.
There are few “quick fixes”. Fracking, ramping up North Sea production and building new nuclear plants will all take years. The first priority should be an “emergency home insulation” scheme to enable many more householders to cut back on heating. We should also boost our foolishly diminished capacity for storing gas and change the way we buy it to secure long-term, predictable prices, rather than whatever wild, fluctuating figure we’re quoted on the day. What’s astonishing is that there have been “no concrete proposals” put forward by the government or either leadership candidate. It is the skyrocketing cost of gas that is stoking inflation and driving us towards recession. Whoever becomes the next PM will soon be reaching into the coffers to give poor households more help over the winter.