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How Lewis Carroll would’ve relished the UK energy story!

18 November 2014 | Mentions of Liberum

Liberum Utilities Analyst Peter Atherton will be speaking at The Spectator Energy Conference on December 1 in London. The event, entitled Fixing Britain's Energy Market, is chaired by Andrew Neil and features policy makers, investors and company executives. To register, click here >. Liberum is sponsoring the event.

Below is an opinion written by Peter:

"This past year I’ve published more than 40 pieces on utilities and it’s fair to say that I now know how Alice felt tumbling down the rabbit hole.


She was chasing a rabbit that bore a resemblance to domestic energy policy these past two decades: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

Alice encounters a bottle containing the country’s nuclear policy and labelled ‘DRINK ME’ (or was in ‘Hinkley’?). 

“If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later,” she observes. 

Curiouser and curiouser. 

She finds herself playing croquet with the politicians: “I don’t think they play at all fairly…and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can’t hear oneself speak” Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed. 

What lessons had those players learned, she wondered: 'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; 'and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.' 

So much for them. Now the consumers were on the march. We want lower emissions and cheap energy, they demanded. Alice laughed. “One can’t believe impossible things.” The Queen harrumphed..”Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 

We reach Chapter 11: Who stole the profits? Who indeed. The King sits in judgment of the utility bosses: “Give your evidence. And don’t be nervous or I’ll have you executed on the spot.” Alice knew how they felt. “I can't go back to yesterday,” she said, “because I was a different person then.”

Finally, dressed not in her white apron but a twin-set and pearls and carrying the minister’s briefing notes in a natty Burberry folder, Alice came to a fork in the road. 

'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.
'I don't know,' Alice answered.

'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.”

© Liberum Capital Limited, 2013