Tuesday 9 August 2022

Deflating The Gasbags

Rather than admit that the problem has been the payment of obscenely high dividends and obscenely low wages instead of decent wages and decent dividends, the pub bores are going to be at it forever about how inflation had been caused by the lockdowns, on which they intend to blame everything for the rest of their lives, or by "Ukraine", or by both.

Like a lot of people, the lockdowns got me into the black financially for the first time in decades and for the first sustained period in my adult life. I have never been overdrawn since. The bank is about to take away my overdraft facility, since I obviously no longer needed it. I am not happy about that in principle, but at the same time I could not have dreamt of it before the lockdowns.

Between monkeypox and Covid-19, which has far from gone away, another lockdown this year would hold no terrors for some of us. I am not advocating that. At least where Covid-19 was concerned, then I agree with Jeremy Corbyn that we just need to find ways of living with it, like summer heat or winter snow. Monkeypox is an irrelevance to my manner of life. Like George Galloway, I reject the moral authority of this Government to impose another lockdown. But if it did, then it certainly would not make me poorer. That last ones had anything but that effect, and I was far from alone in that.

Of course, it is becoming a different story as prices go through the roof while my income remains unchanged. We all remember the early signs of this before both Covid-19 and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. But the thing about the later situation that is making matters worse is the sanctions regime, which is having no negative impact whatever on Russia, but is instead an act of pure self-harm. The point is well made that while a sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency had as much of that currency as it chose to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling any inflationary effect, that currency was nevertheless able to purchase only such resources as were available.

Perhaps everyone who was suffering from the cost of living crisis should move to Ukraine, where the British Government would have no difficulty spending limitless amounts of money on us, with no questions asked, and with Opposition parties demanding only even more of the same? Yet there is no British strategic interest in any of this. We should recognise reality, and get down to freeing up the food and fuel supplies again, while we devoted ourselves to the long-term pursuit of energy independence and of greater self-sufficiency in food, the former a great deal easier than the latter.

Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea has gone back to Russia. The parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible are going to become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation.

No additional state, including Sweden or Finland, is ever going to be allowed into NATO. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral, and all of this will require the denazification that no one any longer disputes is necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently, although denazification is not being made a condition of potential EU membership, because it never is; being in the EU subjected us to the legislative will of many of the most terrifying people.

All of this was on the table before the Russian invasion. This war has been going on for eight years. But in the stage that the world has admitted to having noticed, it is now on the brink of turning out to have been completely avoidable even in its own terms. An enthusiast for it is the worst possible candidate to be Prime Minister.

Yet we are less than a month away from a Prime Minister who had, as Foreign Secretary, criminally encouraged British citizens to go and fight in Ukraine, and who, as First Lord of the Treasury, intended to implement tax cuts for the affluent elderly while funding their sweeties out of borrowing, leading to astronomical interest rates to the benefit of savings account holders who had paid off their mortgages decades earlier. Mercifully, the security concerns expressed by GCHQ ought to make it a formality to persuade another arm of the Deep State to injunct the whole thing. That ought already to have happened by now.