INFLATION continues to rise. The cost of living continues to rise. And the Conservative Government’s response remains hopelessly inadequate.
It’s worth going over once more for those who aren’t aware of what’s coming.
Energy bills are set to rise an average of £600 (or 54%) – compared to a maximum 4% rise in France.
Fuel prices hit a record £1.49p per litre this week, meaning it would cost nearly £82 to fill up a 55-litre family vehicle. Diesel reached £1.52p per litre – or nearly £84 for a similar sized tank. If you’re a tradesman with a van, the fuel rise could set you back £500 this year.
The cost of an annual UK grocery bill could rise by £180, and the cost of an annual clothing bill could increase by £150.
The situation is desperate for families and those who are most disadvantaged.
But all our government can offer is a measly £200 to support those on the lowest incomes with some entitled to a Council Tax rebate of £150, while others can get a discretionary rebate from their local authority (with 10,000 support vouchers also available from Warwickshire County Council).
But with the tax burden the highest in 70 years, these measures are effectively using a plaster to cover a gaping wound.
At the same time as all this we have a Prime Minister who must resign. Boris Johnson has tragically betrayed the people of Great Britain, its institutions and its reputation.
The lines between politics and money are now totally blurred, with the biggest Conservative Party donors now able to pay for direct influence in government.
Forget cash for questions, it’s now cash for access. It is also corruption, plain and simple.
The ominously titled ‘Advisory Board’ of some of the wealthiest and biggest Conservative donors has provided them with a direct line to the Prime Minister and those around him.
The Conservative Party and the Prime Minister appear to be at the beckon call of wealthy property developers, bankers, financiers, entrepreneurs – and some with connections to Russia and other potentially hostile nations.
The Advisory Board, on its own, is enough to justify any self-respecting Prime Minister to resign. Unfortunately, ours is far from self-respecting – in fact he appears to have respect for no one but himself.
And just as he needed a distraction, tragically, he got one.
The situation in Ukraine is deeply concerning.
President Putin seems to be desperate to reanimate the decaying corpses of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union – but, this time, not for his nation or for an ideology, only for himself. He is a dangerous, far-right dictator with expansionist goals – which many in the West seem to forget.
He repeatedly blames the eastward expansion of NATO to obscure his true intentions.
Behind the façade of so-called security, he wants to increase economic and military influence over the independent former Soviet states.
Particularly those, like Ukraine, that he perceives to be pro-Western and insufferably democratic.
He fears nothing more than the expansion of democracy – because it will give his own citizens ideas.
The UK has announced sanctions but they are tepid in the face of the threat. The government should, at the very least, be freezing the assets of those Russian nationals who are within Putin’s circle.
Finally, let us hope an invasion does not materialise. If it does, at the very least, let us pray he will stop at Luhansk and Donetsk and pave the way for a diplomatic solution.