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This pantomime passing itself off as democracy


AS THE war in Ukraine continues its gruesome progress, leading to  potential fuel rationing, food shortages and financial privations the likes of which have not been seen for generations, our government’s pathetic strategy for dealing with these catastrophic issues can best be summed up by the Micawberish ‘something will turn up’.

Whilst certain events are beyond government control, it should be the primary function of elected officials to mitigate and minimise the deleterious fallout for their citizens. Clearly that is not the prevailing orthodoxy in the corridors of Whitehall. Why have clear, costed and above all commonsense policy when knee-jerk reactions seem to be acceptable?

What we have is a pantomime that passes itself off as a democracy. One popular definition of democracy is;

The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.

Does that sound to you close to what we currently have here in the UK or indeed anywhere in the western world?

Certainly, the people I talk with seem to be more concerned about the cost of filling up their car, the price of shopping, immigration, the totally dysfunctional NHS and heating bills. Few speak earnestly about their carbon footprint, gender pronouns and self-identification.

Yet whilst the army of hard-pressed taxpayers who fund this rickety spectacle get short shrift and scant attention, the Cabinet marches remorselessly on, instigating policies that will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the hardships felt by millions.

Many will find the juvenile policy pronouncements one of the more grating aspects of the current administration. Dispensing ‘tips’ on how to save money, keep warm and make the food budget go further is truly nauseating – more so, given that the predicament is largely due to the oaf-headed decisions that Ministers themselves have made.

The committing of billions of pounds of money we do not have illustrates the complete uncoupling the Treasury has to the basic principles of economics. A large proportion of our fiscal predicament can be laid squarely at the door of numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street and their sanctimonious ‘green agenda’. This latest bout of ill-advised largesse will come home to roost uncomfortably down the line. £21billion apportioned to help offset the cost of living – where does this money come from?

No one could accuse the Government of being lackadaisical in its  eagerness to promote and burnish its woke credentials. But sadly, all this virtue signalling will count for naught when pensioners freeze in their front rooms and factories are put on short-time working.

As Macmillan (allegedly) responded when asked what threw governments off course, ‘Events, dear boy, events.’ And yes, whilst no one can predict and accommodate for happenings over which they have scant control, elected representatives should have sound, thought-through and costed policies.

It is now abundantly clear that the imbecilic headlong rush to Net Zero will result in incalculable harm to the economy and lifestyle-altering privations for ordinary people up and down the land. Meanwhile the government has lashed itself to the mast and refuses to acknowledge the monstrous stupidity of this policy.

As filling up a car careers into £100-a-tank territory, some people are now becoming aware of what ‘Net Zero’ actually means. It means not travelling, not being able to afford to heat your home and not being able to eat the food you want.

The unbridled mania for carbon neutral will, as night follows day, lead to a meat tax – where New Zealand leads, we can be sure that the Green UK will blindly follow. The escalating costs of food transport will inevitably be passed on to the consumer, exacerbating an already fraught financial situation. Inflation will erode savings, mortgage repayments will falter and the economy will crash.

Yet what do we hear from Government that will help materially in the longer term? Nothing. The hysteria for Net Zero will continue unabated, whilst families are pushed into genuine grinding and unrelenting poverty.

Instead of taking ‘time out’ for sober reflection on what the consequences are, we are hosed down with ill-educated verbiage about the planet and climate change. We have an electricity grid that is already creaking at the seams to provide enough power for the country; how will it possibly cope when we are all driving electric cars and heating our homes with electrically operated heat pumps? The Alice in Wonderland mindset will not keep the lights on.

Something will have to give, and it is open to conjecture how that manifests itself. But ultimately that is perhaps what the government wants. More control and ever rising taxes have become the leitmotif of the Tories.

In the last few weeks, the Governor of the Bank of England sounded the klaxon of ‘apocalyptic food price rises’ and the head of Barclays warned of an ‘economic hurricane’. In a similar vein the British Chambers of Commerce (not noted for hyperbole) stated that the UK economy will ‘grind to a halt’ and that inflation will rise to 10 per cent.

As the old song goes, ‘There may be trouble ahead’, and whilst there is no music and romance for the government to conjure up, we can console ourselves that the Whitehall mandarins are not so out of touch with ordinary folk. Who could fail to appreciate the talk of a return for the imperial crown on pint mugs?

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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