IF YOU want to go to a pub or a cafe, I would go now. There’s a strong chance they won’t be around in a few months’ time. To add some impetus, the money in your pocket will be worth substantially less by then too. Best get spending.
Publicans and small business owners have taken to the virtual streets, posting photos of their energy bills. Dizzying overnight increases – from 15p to 97p per kWh – threaten to sink a large part of the economy just as it stumbles out of the insanity of lockdown.
Usually such dire circumstances are limited to countries which have come out of a war or experienced some kind of natural calamity. We, instead, have been mismanage, our politicians self-inflicting damage across every imaginable front.
Whereas it is the objective of countries at war to demolish each others’ infrastructure, we have been smashing our own. Blowing up the nation’s coal-fired power stations amid a dirge of smug enviro-piety must surely rank amongst the greatest acts of national self-harm of all time. It’s like a ship’s crew cutting loose all the lifeboats, insisting that they will never be needed, just before a giant iceberg heaves into view.
Not that spiralling energy prices seem to matter to our wise elite. De Pfeffel Johnson doubles down on his ruinous green policies, insisting that the malformed thoughts of a strange Swedish teenager trump that most basic function of government, ensuring a country can heat itself and can keep the lights on. A politician’s desire for a ‘legacy’ outweighs all other considerations.
One might imagine that we are not sitting atop masses of hydrocarbons. Just one hour north of where I am writing, we used to dig coal out of the ground, which powered the industry and homes of generations of our forefathers. A friend – anticipating the worst of winter – recently bought some coal. Instead of being dug out the ground in Nottinghamshire, it had been shipped from Chile.
Predictably, the government’s proposed solutions will only stoke these very costly fires. As ever, the geniuses in power have one idea and one idea only: throw more money at the problem and hope it goes away.
Promising greater subventions and government support, the rationing effect of high prices will be reduced. People will use more at an even higher cost. Still, we’re paying for it one way or the other, be it through higher prices now, or through continued massive government borrowing and the erosion of our spending power through inflation.
Such are the consequences of many years of incompetent rule. Crises pile up as our governing class duck each issue, with politics reduced to a talking shop. As they say, talk is cheap. Actions – and, now, gas – are expensive.
Expensive not just in terms of money. After all, the government prints as much as it wants, so that can scarcely be the reason. Instead, there is a cost in courage and in principles, which now appear to be the rarest commodities among those who steer the ship of state as it bounces from one cock-up to the next.
The signs of mismanagement grow daily. They are, by now, impossible not to see. Inflation, asset bubbles, illegal immigrants pouring in across the Channel, a dilapidated healthcare system, faith in law and order at a nadir, an abject surrender to wokeism.
Perhaps how we are governed reflects the modern mindset. Bland, feel-good statements are uttered on every topic, but hard decisions are never made. After all, life has been good for so long that nobody could conceive of it ever going wrong. For each stupid choice we make, someone else will be there to take the blame or to pick us up off the floor.
It’s not my fault I’m fat; it’s the food manufacturers’. It’s not my fault I’m sinking in debt; it’s the banks’. There’s no power? Just turn on another power plant. We blew them up? Oh.
In a similar vein, we are supposed to believe that it’s not our government’s fault that we won’t be able to heat our houses or keep our factories going; it’s Putin’s. It’s not their fault that they printed trillions of pounds and trashed the public finances; it is the opinion pollers’, or Chris Whitty’s.
It is difficult to be optimistic about the short term. However, I have long been of the belief that nothing in our complacent society will change until some kind of crisis shatters our modern delusion.
Perhaps, as people sit at home in supposedly one of the world’s most developed economies, barely affording to heat and power their homes, their discretionary spending hammered and hardly able to cover the basics, they will begin to wonder whether the people who have been in charge of this country for the past 25 years were anything other than a gang of charlatans.
Maybe at that point they’ll begin to demand more than just rhetoric and hollow words. It seems doubtful, however, that there is anyone left in Westminster who can offer anything more than platitudes and dreary verbiage.
A rocky road lies ahead.
This article appeared in Frederick’s Newsletter on September 1, 2022, and is republished by kind permission.