right: Daily Mail front page 9 June 2016, left: Daily Mail front page September 24 2013. Picture:
right: Daily Mail front page 9 June 2016, left: Daily Mail front page September 24 2013. Picture:
Daily Mail/Clipshare

It must be extremely depressing for any free market liberals in the Conservative Party.

Their leadership hopefuls fell one by one. First Boris, the great schmoozer of the grassroots, pulled out. Next, Michael Gove, their free school founding, blob fighting leader, decked it. 'Tory Mum' Leadsom was stopped before her march on Westminster had even begun. And, finally, they were left with a politician accused of being a 'creature of the Home Office' and a 'statist'.

The huge poll lead must be a comfort, but at what price if May is going to morph into Miliband?

Would it have been worth it, after all?

Is this how the hard left felt when Tony Blair removed 'clause IV' from Labour's constitution in an effort to grab the centre ground?

So long as the win is big enough, right?

In many ways for the free market Conservatives, 2015 was a better year: The first Conservative majority win since 1992, and a repudiation of state tinkering with businesses and competition.

Even before that great victory, Tory activists could watch with glee as Michael Fallon repeatedly walked onto camera, took Ed Miliband down a peg or two, and then exit immediately.

Ed was trounced, and to their delight the Labour Party chose a new leader even further to the left economically.

But what was it all for? Mayism was successful. It was 24 point lead successful. But Mayism was suspiciously familiar to the Tory liberal right, for a worrying reason.

It sort of smacked of Ed Miliband's special brand of social democracy.

Red Ed was dead politically. Long live Red May.

Luckily for the Tory press, this didn't matter.

On Monday, the Conservative Party announced that a cap on energy prices would be one of their manifesto pledges in the 2017 election.

All those attack lines from the old Conservative front bench (many of whom are serving on the new Conservative front bench) were less fun now.

Like these comments quoted in the Times two years earlier:

We have not seen intervention in industry on a scale like this since the 1970s when they tried to control the price of bread.

Michael Fallon, currently the Defence Secretary in May's cabinet.

Miliband says he will imitate the catastrophic policies of the emperor Diocletian, by imposing a price freeze on energy bills for the 20 months succeeding the election.

Boris Johnson, currently the Foreign Secretary.

Admittedly, the policies do differ. Appearing on the Today Programme, current Business Secretary Greg Clarke was unable to confirm if the 'cap' would stop prices going up in the year after it was imposed.

Miliband's prize freeze was promised to last for 20 months from the date it was enacted.

Moreover, the Tory version gave the price setting powers to energy regulator Ofgem, and not to the government directly.

Still, intervention is intervention, much to the dismay of any freedom loving Tory activists.

Competition, generally - when it works, and they've established that in this part of the market it doesn't work...

Comrade Clark, not Ed Miliband or Jeremy Corbyn for that matter.

The Daily Pravda

The passage of time had also turned around the Daily Mail, who joined the Prime Minister on this crusade to the left.

The Mail's maturation from September 2013 when Ed Miliband announced the 'freeze' and spring 2017 when May announced the extremely different 'cap' is clear:

'70s socialism' revived by Miliband

right: Daily Mail front page 9 June 2016, left: Daily Mail front page September 24 2013. Picture:right: Daily Mail front page 9 June 2016, left: Daily Mail front page September 24 2013. Picture:

'Britain faces energy rationing and blackouts by 2015' under Labour's energy vow

And when the Conservative policy was first trailed in April, former Miliband advisor Stewart Wood shared his jubilation that the Daily Express had become a fellow traveller.

There is a narrative that it is the Labour MPs who are held hostage to a leader whose ideology is alien to them.

But they don't deserve all the attention. Many of Cameron's conservatives were elected in 2015 on manifestos promising freedom and dignity.

So next time you post about 'the TORRRRRRRRRRRRIES' doing something you think is evil, spare a thought for their freedom loving liberally economic activists.

They're experiencing their own Animal Farm moment:

The activists looked from May to Miliband, and from Miliband to May, and from May to Miliband again; but already it is impossible to say which is which.

Dear One Nation lads, if you don't laugh you'll cry.

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