Last week was Groundhog Day. Traditionally, Groundhog day refers a some local rodent predicting either a longer winter or an early spring. The Northern Quebec version, Fred La Marmotte, was found dead hours before the ceremony. I wonder if he knew something we don’t.
Modern meaning comes from the Bill Murray movie and refers to repeating the same day over and over again. Last week was Groundhog Day and by either definition, we’re screwed.
Six more weeks of winter, because of course we get a long winter during an energy crisis. Although I’m not sure ‘crisis’ is the right word. Crisis implies the circumstances are out of anyone’s control. That’s not the case here. Consumer energy bills have risen 200% in the UK. And yes, there is some scarcity and yes, there is the war in Ukraine, but the principle reason for the rise in prices is the Tories lifted the cap on what the energy companies could charge and of course, they all went for the maximum. The consumer can only choose which company screws them because they can’t opt out entirely and live off the grid. It’s not a Crisis so much as a Gouging. The Energy Companies are recording record profits. Shell reported profits of £32.2 BILLION. That’s double the previous year. That’s PROFIT, not income. The consumers are in crisis, the energy companies are just fine.
And here the second meaning of Groundhog day kicks in: repeating the same day over and over. We’ve seen this before. Britain abandoned the Grant system for university education and imposed a £1000 per year Tuition fee in 1999, which rose to £3000 in 2004. In 2012 the Tories raised the cap to £9000 per year, assuring the public that only the top universities would charge the maximum. And they were right; the less elite universities charged £8995.
Any Institution, Organisation or Business will always charge as much as they can: that’s how businesses work. (They will also pay the workers as little as they can get away with, but that’s another rant entirely).
Chancellor Jeremy… Hunt is rejecting calls to cancel the planned April rise in the price cap, and is rejecting calls for a Windfall tax on the energy companies. Yes the government is providing some support for low-income households, but they are borrowing money to do it. And thanks to the Tories refusal to raise public sector pay and the private sector following their lead, the number of Low Income households is increasing.
They do expect household energy bills to go down… in July. Not due to policy, it’s just summer.
Taxing rich people and richer corporations is a violation of ‘Conservative Ideology’, a phrase that makes me roll my eyes so hard I can actually see my brain. So they borrow, which means paying back the debt, servicing the debt. which means AUSTERITY, the Tory policy which has run our public services into the ground over the last ten years, bringing about the strikes happening every day. The Tories seem to think that if they keep giving money to rich people, it will eventually all work out… somehow. I’m not sure what their final goal is. I’m not sure they even know what their final goal is. But they’re going to keep going because pandering to the rich and screwing the poor is all they know how to do.
Liz Truss tried to do it on a massive scale during her thankfully brief time in office, and was massively shot down. In another example of Groundhog day, she wants to make a political comeback. She says her policies weren’t given enough time or consideration to work before the “Left-wing Establishment” ruthlessly pushed her out.
Liz Truss has her head so far in the sand she can see the centre of the earth.
First, “Left-Wing Establishment” is a contradiction in terms, as left-wing tends to be Anti-Establishment. And it was her own party that did her in. Even the people who would benefit from her Trickle-down policies recognised that they would damage or destroy the rest of the economy and didn’t fancy ruling over the ashes.
However, oblivious as she is, Liz is still hanging around. So is BoJo, for that matter, like an Ex who wants you back; the one you eventually need to get a restraining order on. No one in the upper echelons of the Tory party has any vision, any new ideas to get Britain out of the mess it’s in. They just keep offering the same ideas of underfunding public services, privatising everything and don’t EVER ask rich people for money, over and over again.
We need some radical changes in government. The longer we wait, the more radical the changes will need to be. We need a #GeneralElectionNow.
Because we can’t keep living this day over and over again and never learning anything.