Every week I make a shopping list. With minor variations when I try new recipes, it essentially the same list each week. I am a creature of habit.
Lately though, habits have had to change a bit. As the prices creep up, I’ve had to shop smarter. Did you know, if you shop in the ‘World Foods’ section, you can often get essentially the same product at a much cheaper price? Slices Gouda in the Polish section is a £1 less than in the dairy aisle. Spices in the Indian section are the same price for a larger pack.
But the total kept creeping up.
So I look to economise some more, and trim a few luxuries from the weekly shop. Cider, Pastries, crisps; it was fun while it lasted, but I’ll see you again one day.
But the total kept creeping up.
Next move will be to change my supermarket. I’m doing what i can, eliminating the non-essentials but keeping what I can for a more or less healthy diet.
but I know, the totals will keep creeping up.
Theoretically, the Government is facing the same problem. Actually, the current PM is not facing it, he is looking in a different direction and pretending the crisis isn’t there. When called upon to gather the cabinet and put out an emergency budget to deal with the current crisis, and the inevitable meltdown coming in the autumn when people turn the heat on, Downing St said “No.” BoJo’s excuse was he didn’t want to interfere with whatever the next PM wanted to do.
I suppose it’s no worse than his last excuse for not helping people with the cost of living, which was “It would be a betrayal of conservative Ideology.”
And the prospective PM’s do have plans to deal with the crisis. Rishi Sunak has vowed to support households through the coming crisis, but he’s been a bit vague as to how. He also recently boasted to a crowd of Tory supporters how he diverted money away from deprived areas. I’m sure his immediate audience of snobs nodded approvingly at this, while the rest of us shook our heads in disappointment (but not disbelief, he is a Tory after all).
Liz Truss wants to rollback the national insurance hike from earlier this year. It’s dumb on a level that would make BoJo proud. It SOUNDS good. And it immediately puts a few pounds back into people’s pockets, which looks like help if you examine it too closely.
A cut in National insurance rates will save lower income earners around £150 per year. Typical energy bills are set to rise by at least £800. The best use for that £150 will be to invest in quality thermal underwear, because it won’t scratch the surface of the rate hike. And on the other side, they are taking money away from an already underfunded and overstretched NHS. It’s as if I decided to reduce my grocery bill by cutting out vegetables.
Did you know that MP’s got a pay rise this year? Plus whatever they “earn” from “2nd Jobs”. So the Government’s idea of economising is to cut out the vegetables while still buying the chocolates.
One Valuable by-product of the pandemic and the lockdowns is that we had time to push away all the noise and to redefine what we considered Essential, to pay attention to what was really going on. Billionaires making money hand over fist, corporations posting record profits, the government making it all easier for them. Meanwhile working class wages are stagnating, public services are being cut to the bone. And people having to get 2nd jobs that aren’t nearly as cushy as the one’s MP’s get.
People are still paying attention. And they’re getting Pissed Off. Something needs to be done. But it needs to be the right thing.
One idea circulating is #cantpaywontpay. When the energy increases start, they’ll stop paying the bill. This does reflect the anger and frustration people are feeling, but is not a good idea. The energy companies will cut you off without shedding a tear and take you to court for the outstanding bill just because they can; because the system is structured to help them, not you. It doesn’t matter how many individuals refuse to pay, they’ll still make a profit off the ones that do. The Individual can’t win.
But maybe the collective can. Maybe if all the pissed off people could channel their anger in one direction, it could make an impact.
A website launched recently; wesayenough.co.uk It’s slogan is Enough is Enough. Simple, direct, true; I like it. It’s goals are not easy, but they are reasonable.
Our five demands to tackle the crisis
1. A Real Pay Rise.
2. Slash Energy Bills.
3. End Food Poverty.
4. Decent Homes for All.
5. Tax the Rich.
Given that real wages have stagnated over the last 30 years, with all the rivers of money diverted to the 1% then dammed off, yes, A Real Pay Rise before mass poverty causes riots..
Given that energy bills are about to rise beyond anyone’s ability to pay while the energy companies are posting record profits, yes, energy bills need to be capped before society grinds to a halt because we can’t keep the lights on.
Given that food prices are rising faster than ever, driven by scarcity caused by Brexit, Climate Change and the ware in Ukraine, food riots are not out of the question.
Decent homes for all. Self explanatory.
Tax the rich. And the corporations. Not because the rich are inherently evil, but because they have all the money. Give money to the poor, because they will spend the money. That’s how the economy grows. Our economy is stagnating because of all the money hoarders at the top.
The website plans to organise rallies, demonstrations, support picket lines and give people a direction in which to vent their rage. Within hours of launching, the site crashed due to the number of people signing up.
Do you remember ‘A Bug’s Life’? From 1998, it was Pixar’s 2nd offering and never received the love it deserved. Very under-rated, but I think it was just ahead of it’s time. It’s worth watching, but I can boil it’s relevance, and prescience, down to this quote from the leader of the Grasshoppers.
Hopper : You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line
We have the numbers. We just need the direction. And the unity to stand against those at the top. And if the government won’t help us, the ants will have to swarm.