Tuesday, 30th August, 2022

[Day 897]

And so Tuesday dawns, the start of a ‘normal’ week given that yesterday was a Bank Holiday and therefore a day when nothing much could get done. Tuesday is the day when we normally go down to Waitrose and see a regular group of our pre-pandemic ‘buddies’. After this, I generally go off to my Pilates class but not today as my teacher is away on an extended weekend break. In Waitrose, we met with four of our little gaggle of friends and I tried to split my time between all of them – we had an stimulating chat and act as a ‘de facto’ support to each other as three of us are acting as carers to husbands/wives with long standing health conditions. After this interesting morning, we got home quite early and had a good read of The Times before striking out again this afternoon. Meg has received a communication from the opticians to make an appointment so we got to the High Street by car in the afernoon to make an appointment in two weeks time. Meanwhile, I got a letter from my own long-term monitoring of eye condition to let me know that all appeared well so this is useful to get behind me for another twelve months or so. Whilst on the High Street, I popped into one of the charity shops and relieved them of a shirt which is just my size and preferred colour and also went to a stationers to get an academic year diary which they were selling off cheaply and which I am intending to use for some little medical notes day by day. At lunchtime, we received a pre-meeting phone call from a representative of the bank to which we are going to pay a visit tomorrow after which I needed to make a call to the solicitors who conveyanced our house some fifteen years ago. It is a long story but the bank should have communicated somewwhat better to me what thing we needed to get our ‘ducks in a row’ before our planned meeting tomorrow. This afternoon, I waited patiently by my phone for a call that came (eventually) but after waiting all afternoon.

Until we get a ‘new’ government in place, the media is full of stories indicating what the consequences are going to be of energy prices that by next spring could be three and a half times what they are today. In particular, it is gradually dawning that many small businesses in the entire country will almost be completely wiped out by the dual effect of the fuel increases for themselves (and there are no announced plans to alleviate these measures for them) and the absence of purchasing power in the population at large to buy the goods and services that they offer. An observation heard more and more over the airways that the damages caused by the lockdown to counteract the pandemic may be like a ‘walk in the park’ compared with the enormity of the economic crisis that is due to hit them. More and more correspondents are indicating that we need a government of some talent and intelligence and not one that panders to all of the prejudices of the extreme right wing which is what the present conservative party has been driven to. There is also some talk of reving a ‘Goat’ government (‘government of all the talents’) and of course in days of supreme national danger, such as WWII we even had coalition governments where normal ‘opoosition’ politics are abandoned. I cannot think of a similar situation when an incoming government has been faced with so many diverse problems and of such a magnitude that simple ideological slogans (such as Liz Truss’s ‘cutting taxes’) will not solve. Talking of Liz Truss, she is advised by an eccentric, not to say wacky, right wing economist called Patrick Minford who is an advocate of ‘supply side economics’ in which it is believed that economic growth will only follow tax cuts to release the potential of enterpreneurs who can kick-start an economy. Most economists believe that this is sometimes the case but not invariably the case and certainly not in present conditions. Even Patrick Minford argues that interest rates may well rise to over 7% in his modelling – but Liz Truss has indicated that she believes all the rest of his economic analysis but not this bit (a bit like believing in God but not in Heavan). In the meanwhile, Liz Truss was lined up for a half hour examination of her economic policies by Nick Robinson on BBC1 tonight where she probably would have been crucified and exposed as a total economic illierate – so Rishi Sunak has undergone such an examination but not Liz Truss. This is incredibly dangerous for our political system in which politicans of extreme views are not challenged. Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, has written in The Times that: ‘You clearly can’t do all of this without completely crashing the public finances. This simplistic mantra that you cut taxes and the economy grows more, that you cut taxes when you have a big deficit and high inflation, and you don’t do it with any other part of the plan, is quite worrying‘. What could be more damning than that?