FORGET Partygate. Forget Tractorgate. Forget even Angela Rayner’s “ginger g*r”, whatever that might be.
The scary monster stalking this land is soaraway inflation, and there is little any politician or party — especially the Labour Party — can do to stuff it back in its cage.
With once-cheap chicken costing as much as fillet steak, this is not simply a cost-of-living crisis. It is the beginning of a new age of food shortages, rationing, empty shelves, empty shops and empty wallets.
It is a threat to us all, rich and poor — mostly the poor. And the poorest most of all.
“We’re stocking up on candles,” a banker told me last week. He was not joking. A totally unprepared world is facing the biggest economic earthquake for 40 年.
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Back then, in the 1970s and ’80s, people were accustomed to double-figure inflation, 25 per cent wage demands and the paralysing strike action to go with it.
Today we will see everything we recently took for granted through different eyes. Nice-to-have luxuries, a better car, a holiday, a new dress or a meal out, will cease to be an option.
So will “green crap”, wokery and the madness of working from home as Britain is forced to squeeze the most out of our stricken economy.
Retail prices rose by a shocking seven per cent a year in March, TEN times higher than the previous March figure.
They will rise further this summer, perhaps beyond 15 百分, a hammer blow for those on low or fixed incomes.
Some experts believe inflation will subside next year. But the chief spur is oil prices and the war in Ukraine — a major supplier of wheat, chicken feed and fertiliser — which isn’t going to end any time soon.
同时, China is grinding to a halt, locking down millions of citizens in an unhinged bid to exterminate the Covid virus it unleashed two years ago.
The crisis has exploded with startling speed.
Asda supermarket boss Stuart Rose says 90 per cent of customers are “worried about making ends meet”.
“Food prices are going to go higher and they are going to stay high for years,” he told the BBC yesterday. “We have not seen inflation like this for 40 years and it took ten years to eradicate. People have not had to deal with inflation. This is going to be a journey.
“We must all change our behaviour and decide what we need — and what we don’t need.
“At the end of the day, 可悲的是, the consumer will suffer.”
Lord Rose, a Conservative peer, blamed the Government and the Bank of England for letting prices rip.
“They have been slow to realise the threat from inflation and curb it,“ 他说.
It is also clear last month’s hike in National Insurance was a catastrophic blunder.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, desperate for cash, might now steal Labour’s plan for a windfall tax on huge profits made by oil giants Shell and BP.
The idea was backed yesterday by US energy expert and right-wing economist Irwin Stelzer.
“We are witnessing an enormous wealth transfer from consumers — innocent bystanders — to oil companies and their shareholders, now raking in windfall profits,” said Dr Stelzer.
“They did not earn them by taking risks or improving efficiency. They are benefiting from a war that Putin started, and the sanctions that followed.”
Britain is not alone in fighting inflation. Prices are rising across the world.
But families faced with empty pockets and empty stomachs, worrying about feeding their kids and putting clothes on their backs, won’t see this as being all in the same boat.
They will blame whoever is in power. For the time being, that is Boris Johnson.
Whoever succeeds this Prime Minister — Rishi, 丽兹桁架, Jeremy Hunt or Keir Starmer — will inherit a poisoned chalice.
Squeezing toothpaste out of the tube is easy. Squeezing it back in is almost impossible.
MP ‘stumbled’ on to porn
A FEW weeks ago, I wrote about the dangers of pornography to vulnerable young people – equivalent to handing them a loaded gun, say child health experts.
I didn’t foresee it going off in the hands of a respectable Member of Parliament, 两次, in the House of Commons, and in front of a government minister.
Tory farmer Neil Parish was searching for “tractors”, as you do, when his finger accidentally slipped and he stumbled on to porn. “My biggest crime was doing it again, 故意地,” he snivelled on TV.
All political careers end in tears, 相信他是执法者，他遵守了.