As the government is balancing on the precipice of unleashing a financial crisis upon the poorest in society, I have to wonder why British people- so desperate to prove our superiority to the EU bloc we severed ties with them – refuse to ask for better in our governance? And as the “cost of living”, an abhorrent phrase, is set to rise to unmanageable levels for our lowest earners the fact is – it is not dying which costs money. Should we really have to pay… to live?
Throughout the pandemic, the escalation of cost that the coronavirus caused shot upwards, and now the final total is in. Coronavirus cost the UK 450 billion pounds. Daily we’re exhorted by the scurrilous figures of scurrying politicians from downing street ensuring us that they’re “doing their best” to remedy this. But a precursory examination shows that the bank of England has been purchasing government bonds since march 2020. What this means is that the only people paying for the pandemic are the Bank of England, that we aren’t “in debt”, as the Conservative party so plea as they hack at our financial expenditure as individuals. Bonds are sold to investors, who support government expenditure so whilst a huge amount of debt was incurred during the pandemic, the public should not- and are not- liable for it.
Many people trust Rishi Sunk with the job of the treasury even though he has been demonstrably terrible at the job- besides the furlough scheme which was actually (to my amateur eyes) a master stroke, he’s written off £6.4 billion pounds of fraud from big business on fraudulent PPE loans. The government wrote off £8.2 billion pounds of investment money on defective or undelivered PPE. And over the course of it’s existence, the less than useless track and trace app and all it’s infrastructure will cost us a staggering £27 billion. Other track and trace systems like the one deployed in China showed a huge dent in viral transmission after the first peak of the virus- so it was not impossible to make an app which was effective, and regardless of cost I believe that an effective app which made headway in slowing the pandemic would have been a fantastic investment. Sunak’s cavalier attitude in writing off over £10 billion is galling, and is the ultimate in proof that the man should not be trusted with the red briefcase- but this is compounded by his utterly foolish next move- to essentially force loan debt upon the nation, to be repaid to fix a problem that other areas of his government created.
Loaning people money they don’t want to pay even more expensive bills sounds like the operation of the most scurrilous Hollywood mobster- but that’s disturbingly close a parallel to the government currently ensconced in Westminster. As energy companies report billions of profit and as we pay more money for goods due to import tax and scarcity, plus delays in even receiving them due to the disastrous Brexit foisted upon us by a government desperate to stick two fingers in the face of mainland Europe with one hand whilst shaking their hand on a poorly negotiated deal with the other we begin to feel the cage bars draw closer.
The governor of the Bank of England – remember them as the ones who purchased covid debt- has suggested we shouldn’t ask for pay raises, we should be happy with our lot- our lot, as our wages are shucked of sustenance, as our bills strip the money we get to keep- the man who earns nearly £600,000 a year tells us all to cope with our lot in life, to show gratitude for what we DO earn, and out of that what we DO get to keep. Money is fleeting, they say- but when you earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a year it must be easy not to ask for a pay raise.
Now we’ve laid the ground work for understanding the ridiculousness of our current situation, I’d like to take us back to the original statement I’ve made- that there is, or I suppose more accurately, should be no such thing as “the cost of living”. None of us choose to be that one sperm that joins an egg and creates embryogenesis. And in a world as utterly forlorn as this one I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at people who unthinkingly prepare to raise a child without thought of bringing them into a world as ill prepared to care for another generation as this one at present.
The cost of living… the cost not to die?
the COST of LIVING- The cost which it takes to stay alive. Or more aptly, how much money you need simply to not die.
Human beings are a natural drain on certain resources, but existence shouldn’t have a cost attached to it… and yet it does, unless you want to go off grid and live like an ancient. But in a day and age supposedly so civilised are we really enfranchising the ability to eat, to stay warm, to drink, to stay healthy – with money? Well, yes, we are. And this system has been so deeply ingrained, so hugely normalised that people are surprised to have it pointed out. We see working to get money to pay back into a system to live as normalised- and to a point, it makes sense to trade our own expertise or labour for something to be able to purchase things we need. But when you’re asked to pay beyond bounds for bills like electricity so you can see and stay warm, or gas so you can cook it begins to seem somewhat farcical. When food prices keep rising to the point that even buying six pints of milk seems oddly expensive or supposed indulgences like coffee went from three to six pounds you suddenly begin to wonder why it is that you’re asked to spend spend spend just so you can have necessities, or even frivolous fancies like a warm drink.
let’s also look to another ridiculous element of media blamerism perpetuated by another disconnected rich person- Kirstie Alsopp has just written what I suppose by the letter of journalistic scribing I must refer to as an “article” about how people can and should buy property, but make “sacrifices” like no Netflix, not buying Starbucks and not going on holiday.
I don’t need to debunk Alsopps’s frankly stupid assertions that the only reason I don’t now own a £340,000 Manor House is that I like a vente latte on occasion. Many folk on twitter took pleasure in pointing out that the house Alsopps’ family helped her buy in 1992 has more than doubled in price was wages failed to rise to meet the change. But again, we face the ridiculous assertion that we simply must own property for… what? Roots? Security? Owning property isn’t and shouldn’t be a must, people say it’s an investment but it’s also not- or shouldn’t be- an obligation in a society where everything costs an exorbitant amount of money because our governments have successively failed us. It seems that this fabled cost of living is actually the price we must pay to live through the bureaucratic missteps that have preceded our very existence.
I’d urge people who read this to think objectively about what we ask of people. To pay money to live indoors in a world that is inhospitable to humans without shelter, to pay money for food and water when without them we get sick and die. In some countries, payment for healthcare- whilst I understand jumping off a bridge and breaking your leg is your own fault, why on earth should people bankrupt themselves to pay for cancer or other healthcare needs beyond our control? It’s madness to ask people to foot a cost for their body not functioning perfectly- and once you break down the thinking that supports exorbitant expenditure for shelter, food etc you begin to question the whole system we work in. I wish I knew how to solve the conundrum- how we work to abolish a system that allows corporations to make billions as we prepare to tighten our belts further. But I fear nobody even close to the seats of power knows- or that if those in power do know, they don’t care.
Governments like ours work on a monetary gain system because money is also the essence of power. With lots of money, you can exert lots of power. They wouldn’t change that system because it doesn’t benefit them to change it. So I suppose the overarching question then must be: who do we need to listen to to implement change, and move away from a monetary system that makes the lives of so many normal people worse? And what will it take for the core of society to see that we need to? When we see people starve because they can’t afford food? It happens. When we see more homeless than we already have? Or when we realise that the wealth so prized by those who enjoy the system we’re working to perpetuate sits at the top, kept close to the hearts of the chief of the Bank of England, to the CEO’s of energy companies- and clutched in both hands by a chancellor of the exchequer married to a billionaire?
One way or another, the model we never chose to live in is failing. The question that must be posed is – how many must die before we move away from it?
Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.