TODAY, Liz Truss announced her much-anticipated energy price cap freeze.

The forecast sharp rise in the price cap announced recently by Ofgem to come into effect in October with a further large increase in January will now not take place. Instead, the price cap is to be frozen at £2500 for two years – a level which many households are struggling to cope with.

Yet despite the scale of the announcement, no costings have been given, or details of how it is actually to be paid for given that the Conservative government has categorically ruled out making the energy giants contribute to the bill through a windfall tax on their record profits.

As the SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford pointed out during the debate: "Scotland is energy rich. We shouldn't be facing an emergency. We produce six times more gas than we consume. Almost 100% of our electricity consumption comes from renewables." 

This is a UK-made crisis, the product of decades of British Government mismanagement of energy policy, which is fully reserved to Westminster – policy decisions which have left the UK uniquely vulnerable to fluctuations in the international wholesale prices of oil and gas despite the fact that the UK remains a major producer of oil and gas.

The costs of the increased government borrowing necessary to pay for this massive protection of corporate profiteering will certainly be borne by the public, and a share of it will be heaped on to next year's GERS figures. The likes of Douglas Ross will then crow that the financial burden of Truss's decision to defend corporate greed represents a Union benefit and a “fiscal transfer” from the British state to Scotland, when in fact the only fiscal transfer that is really going on is from the pockets of the poorest and the most vulnerable into the bank accounts of the wealthiest.

Truss is refusing to impose a windfall tax on the £170 billion excess profits of the energy companies, and in order to ensure that they can continue to profiteer, we are instead getting what Ian Blackford described as a Truss Tax: "A decade-long raid on the bank accounts of ordinary taxpayers."

Truss claims that a windfall tax would prevent the energy companies from investing. They've not been subject to a windfall tax since privatisation but they don't seem to have invested a great deal in gas storage despite that fact. 

Of course, Truss's decision to protect the profits of the energy companies has nothing at all to do with the fact that the largest single donation to her leadership campaign came from the wife of a former senior BP executive. That's a complete coincidence.

The massive profits the energy companies are making will not be invested in energy security – they will be invested in offshore accounts, in the pockets of shareholders and senior managers. Liz Truss's energy cap serves more to protect their profiteering than it does to protect ordinary households. The new cap, which will remain in force for this winter and the next, still leaves energy bills at record levels. The average household will be paying twice as much for gas and electricity as last year.

However, the news about the energy price cap was soon overshadowed by a communique from Buckingham Palace that the Queen's health appears to have taken a serious turn for the worse. 

Like many readers of this paper, I am a convinced republican, and with the exception of a certain individual who claims to be unable to sweat, I have no particular animus against individual members of the Windsor clan, for all the avarice, hypocrisy and entitlement which is part and parcel of royalty. I just think that the institution which they embody should not exist and is an affront to democracy and the dignity of a modern society.

But that said, I do dread the queen's passing, not just because of the orgy of sycophancy which will inevitably ensue, and having to turn off the TV for weeks on end, but also because it will provoke the suspension of normal politics for an indefinite period during a massive cost of living crisis, after government has already been effectively suspended for months because of the Conservative leadership contest.

Worse than that, I dread it because she will be replaced by an intensely privileged, selfish and pampered man who has not hesitated to interfere in politics in ways his mother was careful not to be seen to do.

We are now looking at a UK where the new prime minister is unfit for the job and the new head of state is unfit for the job. The security and stability of the UK which Scotland was promised in 2014 seems like a very distant memory.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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