I haven’t blogged for a while for two reasons. Like the majority of the criminal bar we spend most of our weekends preparing cases for Monday which we have usually just been parachuted into. And these tend to be back to back trials which are physically and mentally draining. There is a lot of burn out in my profession at the moment. But oh, how we support the poor consultants in their bid for a 35% pay rise! The poor dears only earn £127,000 a year from the NHS and still have the opportunity to trouser a few quid from private work. And when they retire they fall into penury on a pittance pension of £60k a year. A nation mourns.
The other reason I haven’t been blogging is that everything is bollock clinchingly predicable. Boris behaves like a shit and plans a comeback. He marches his troops up to the top of the hill then abandons them to enemy fire. And yet they still adore him.Nadine Dorries behaves like a love struck teenager and accuses the establishment of denying her a peerage because she is working class. All her hopes have been dashed, but rather than blame Johnson she hits out at Sunak and wants to cause the maximum damage to him and her party. On and on this dreary saga goes.
And then there are the usual squeals from the usual suspects that the panacea to all our economic problems, haemorrhoids and erectile dysfunction is simply CUT TAXES!!! I have never really understood the traction of this mantra as it is not high on the list of voter preferences. They would much prefer inflation to go down, a health service that works, a care system that treats their loved ones with dignity in their latter years and an education system which gives the young life chances.
I’m still a Conservative (just) and I am one of those dinosaurs who knew Margaret Thatcher rather well and supported her policies of sound money, and not cutting taxes until you could afford to. Oh, and keeping a close watch on the money supply. Any school kid in the 1960s would tell you that too much money chasing too few goods leads to inflation. Perhaps someone would care to remind the Bank of England?
Now the housing crisis. Targets, targets; this obsession with targets all rather misses the er, target. The young are living a housing crisis. Unless they have help from the bank of mum and dad they haven’t a hope in hell of getting out of the decaying and ruinously expensive rental market. The only beginnings of an answer is the expansion of affordable housing whether it be from associations or local authorities.
Now back to predictability. ITV star in sex scandal. Shock, horror, disgust. Name him, name him. It’s the media executives’ fault. It’s the negroni swilling elite spitting in our faces and not protecting vulnerable employees. BBC star in sex scandal. Shock horror, disgust. Name him, name him. It’s the BBC executives’ fault. The BBC are a disgrace. Defund them. All good tabloid and twitter fun, unless you are caught up in the maelstrom of abuse, false accusations, ignorance and hatred. Philip Schofield committed no criminal offences and neither did Huw Edwards. They have both been cancelled, their relationships in tatters, their loved ones deeply hurt and confused, while the mob throw rotten vegetables, chant with raised pitchforks and queue for a good view of the scaffold. I often despair of my fellow human beings. Best I pour myself another Negroni.
Now from some more predictably. Everyone will be a winner at next Thursday’s bye elections. I suspect that it’s going to be tighter than we think. But maybe that is just wishful thinking. There doesn’t appear to be much love for Starmer and his divided party (yes, I know, I know). The Lib Dem’s will claim ‘ we are on our way’, Labour will ‘not take anything for granted’ and the Tories will claim its not over until Therese Coffey sings, reminding us that ‘there is only one poll that matters’, and ‘it’s not what I am hearing on the doorstep. The real fear is that disgruntled Tories will just stay at home.
In times of crisis the government tends to do two things. Threaten a reshuffle to keep ministers on their toes and consider the abolition of inheritance tax. The former is easier. Chuck out the deadwood and fanfare the ‘winning team’. Ben Wallace has gone out in a huff because he didn’t get the NATO gig and needs to be ahead of the queue for a job filling his boots in the defence industry. With things so sensitive in defence it would be wise to have continuity, so the delightfully competent James Heappey should be a shoe in. Leave Cleverly where he is as the Foreign Office think he is quite good news.
But what do you do with Cruella, apart from smothering her in garlic, putting a wooden stake though her heart (now there’s a challenge) and encasing her in a silver casket. Although she may solve the problem for us by resigning on a point of principle (am I really writing this?) that Sunak is stalling her crusade to curb immigration. Sadly, the poor dear is suffering from a severe case of Trussalitus, a morbid condition where deluded people genuinely believe that if they keep on repeating insane policies the party will eventually make them leader. Unfortunately she is probably not all that far off the mark.
And then there is our wonderful sword bearer, HMS Mordaunt, who has convinced herself that she is steaming towards the MOD or the Home Office or anywhere rather than leading the House of Commons. Give me strength.
Abolition of inheritance tax seems like a good headline but in reality sends out the wrong optics. The filthy rich have always had schemes to reduce this and as for the rest of us only 93% pay. But it still brings in £7 billion. Best left alone for the time being.
I am still not yet convinced that Labour is going to win an outright majority. Sunak still has wriggle room, but not much. If inflation continues on a downward path there is a glimmer of hope. But the crippling rise in mortgages coupled with possibility of rising energy costs in the winter is something which is terrifying the ‘those who just manage’ classes. On Wednesday it looks like interests rates will rise again and there is a very real chance that we will slide into recession. Sunak has to hold his nerve on this. The real enemy is inflation.