All at Energy Networks Association were sad to hear the news of the death of Malcolm Wicks on Saturday 29 September. We have worked with Malcolm ever since he was an Energy Minister and he was a great friend to ENA and to the networks. He was a regular at our offices and spoke at many of our Well Connected events. He had a sharp political wit but at the same time was one of the true gentleman of politics liked by all colleagues. He was Energy Minister at a very dramatic time and had a real impact on our future energy direction. He also understood the critical role the networks have to play. There is no doubt his knowledge and sage words will be greatly missed.
The Bulletin had a look through the archives, where Malcolm was a regular feature. He was a regular reader also and one summer holiday he and his private office were very amused at our description of him holidaying on the channel islands where his wife Margaret came from. “Chance would be a fine thing” he told us at the earliest opportunity!
He left office in a reshuffle following the 2008 season of party conferences. This is what we said about it at the time:
In the midst of all these changes we should not forget the figure who has towered over energy policy for so long. The role of Malcolm Wicks as the PM’s Special Representative on International Energy issues will ensure his continuing proprietal interest in energy policy shall endure. His contribution to the debate should not be underestimated and he will be listened to with great interest.
He went on to produce a very influential report and as we know continued to contribute to the energy debate until the very end.
The Bulletin also covered his final Labour Party Conference as a Minister. This is what we said:
The ubiquitous Mr Wicks
As usual, Mr Wicks attended a veritable mountain of fringe meetings. He raced between meetings from dawn til dusk, timing one exit to just before the PM’s speech (much to his assistant’s frustration). The Bulletin counted him at 12 meetings at least, starting with the SERA event at which ENA’s Phil Jones spoke. For some of that time he was pursued by a retinue of young ladies and gentlemen attired in Edwardian frocks. They were campaigning against coal fired power stations. Thankfully they were quite polite and when told to shut up did so. They had been a bit less appealing at a Lib Dem fringe a week earlier when a colleague was handcuffed! Mr Wicks got through his long line of meetings with his usual jovial manner and even came up with some new jokes. We all followed him around as ever.
Ironically that year the GMB union proposed that Ofgem be reformed and called for an "end to free market fundamentalism in energy policy". The union wanted Ofgem replaced by "a powerful regulator who has powers to cap energy prices". Now it is Party policy. Some things never change. Sadly though we will not hear that jovial and good humoured commentator give his view again. We will all miss him. Thank you Mr Wicks.