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We love being told what to do

Lindi St Clair, aka Miss Whiplash, bought a yellow Rolls Royce and a yacht with the proceeds of her work as a dominatrix

Liz Truss may be a fierce enemy of state spending, says Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph, “but a government that spends £60bn (at least!) to keep your energy bills down is not”. This is just the latest massive bailout by the Tories, following furlough, Eat Out to Help Out and a National Insurance hike to bankroll the NHS. (The tax hike was cancelled, but the spending was not). Unfortunately, a simple solution to the energy crisis such as “promoting self-discipline” doesn’t fit with the current ideological programme. Truss’s government has blocked a planned public information campaign on the grounds that “people don’t like to be told what to do”. Well, “I could introduce you to a lady called Miss Whiplash [the 1980s English dominatrix] who has made lots of money proving that the opposite is true.”

It requires a special kind of madness to argue that we taxpaying Britons should let the government spend £60bn of our money capping energy bills, but that it shouldn’t dare tell us how to keep those bills down. Why don’t the Tories harness our famous “sense of national purpose” to encourage a wartime spirit of frugality? It would also help to unite different brands of Toryism, bringing together those of us who care about “dogs, books, and keeping the outside world as far away from me as possible” with the small business owners who are obsessed with growth. Nobody wants a nanny state, but people do want taxpayers’ money to be well spent. And who knows, maybe some sensible thinking about all the energy we waste could help out with those net zero dreams at the same time.

🧑🏻‍🍳🎂 In 1976, the UK government asked celebrity chef Delia Smith to front the “Save It” energy campaign to help reduce public fuel consumption. It worked brilliantly. Ministers at the time reckoned the publicity drive – including tips on how to cook roast chicken, rice, soup and pudding in the same oven at the same time – saved the country £330m. Watch the whole ad here.