Friday 16 September 2022


Your gas bill has gone up by 85 per cent since last October, but the wholesale price is the same as it was then. Yet the Official Opposition is no more going to oppose the Government's blank cheque to the energy companies than the lifting of the cap on bankers' bonuses. 

Workers' pay cannot be the cause of inflation since it has not gone up in donkey's years, yet it must be capped viciously, while energy prices must be so only nominally, and while even the few restraints that there might already be on payouts at the very top must be removed. Put the lifting of the bonus cap to a Commons vote, though, and the Labour Party would abstain. By the way, the King's Ministers might encourage him to forego his exemption from inheritance tax, although, like the laws against protest, it is hardly as if he is to blame for the situation.

Insofar as this arises out of the war in Ukraine, then it has been caused, not by the invasion, but by the sanctions. Even The Sun has found that Russia is booming. The sanctions regime, in which most of the world is not participating, is an act of pure self-harm on our part. Of course there are mass graves in Ukraine. Of course there is torture. It is a war zone. That is what war zones are like. We should know. We have created enough of them. If being a dictator, a war criminal or a crook were a reason to be barred from the late Queen's funeral, then few indeed would be the foreign governments with any representation, and that of Volodymyr Zelensky would not be among them.

The Americans have lately made of Ukraine what they long ago made of Israel, a beneficiary of practically limitless "aid" conditional upon its use to purchase the wares of American arms companies that in turn kicked back vast sums of that public money to both political parties. No one could have less interest in an end to this war. Nor are we witnessing the beginning of that end. There is only one way for this to end. Until then, whatever the appearances, it never will have ended.

Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea goes back to Russia, while the parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine becomes constitutionally neutral, with all of this requiring the denazification that no one any longer disputed was necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently.

Short of that, then there might be a lull of years or, although this would now be wildly improbable, decades, but that would be all that it ever was. Yet there would be, as there is, no reason for us to take any more interest in that than in any other humanitarian emergency. No less so. But no more so, either. Even the argument that "they look like us" has been blown out of the water by the appointment of a Cabinet that has been designed to beat the other side in a battle that it is not fighting, while sticking the Prime Minister's two fingers up to the people who had elected her because they had thought that the British ought to be running India rather than an Indian running Britain. Do not degrade yourself by pretending that you would be prepared to starve or freeze to death in the dark over which country Kupiansk, Izyum or Balaklyia ought to be in. Nor should you be.