“Our Economy” – post-Lockdown
What a fine mess we’re in! The morning editions of the papers lead with the A-Level mess. Having been deprived of the annual ritualistic photos of mostly girls celebrating their A-level results, it’s now all about gloom and doom for this ‘lost Covid Generation’. And whose fault is that? Not that of the teachers who’ve resisted opening schools, never mind preparing proper exams!
It’s solely the fault of the education minister, Mr Gavin Williamson. Strangely enough, no questions are being asked about how many of the civil serpents working in his department have been on a nice long holiday since Lockdown began, nor how many have come back. After all, Whitehall Mandarins did tell all their underlings a short while ago that they didn’t have to go back to work if they felt unsafe.
Then there’s the economy which has fallen by ‘more than’ 20% – the worst result of any GP7 country. Rishi Sunak’s observations are worthy of a prize for flanneling us tax-paying plebs. He said that:
“The figures “confirm that hard times are here. Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will. […] But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this, and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.” (paywalled link)
We can always hope – if that’ll help create jobs! However, he’s already being exhorted to throw more of our money at this recession, with Labour and certain ‘industries’ calling for him to keep that furlough scheme going. I found this remark by Sunak very revealing indeed:
“He said the UK was more affected by the lockdown than other equivalent countries because a larger share of its economy relied on “social activities”.” (paywalled link)
Does this mean that “we” must spend firstly our taxes on those ‘industries’ and then spend what is left in our wallets on those social activities? What will happen when the reckoning comes due? Won’t we have to stay at home not because of Lockdown but because we’ve got no money left because there are no jobs? There’s another ominous remark by the Chancellor:
“However, Mr Sunak, who has ruled out extending wage support, on Wednesday said providing “fresh opportunity” was more important than saving old jobs.” (paywalled link)
Yes, right: get rid of ‘old jobs’ and keep those unfortunates on Jobseeker’s Allowance – which comes from where, Mr Sunak? Who pays for these ‘fresh opportunities’, whatever they are? And what about ‘Toreee Austeriteee’? Apparently we’re meant to be reassured by this:
“Any expectation of belt-tightening measures in the Autumn are increasingly being shelved, as the UK is set to see the worst of the unemployment slump over the next few months. Mr Sunak is expected to bring a slimmed down Budget focused on rescue measures to drive the recovery, and save any tax rises or spending cuts until later.” (paywalled link)
The Bank of England and other assorted economists believe we’ll see a ‘V’-shaped recovery as the economy ‘rebounds’. We’re being dazzled with numbers yet again:
“The Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed that the economy had shrunk by a record 20.4 per cent in the second quarter, despite expanding by 2.4 per cent in March and by 8.7 per cent in June as lockdown restrictions were eased. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research is now forecasting growth of 15 per cent in the three months to September as the economy rebounds fast.” (link, paywalled)
Is this ‘rebound’ due to us going to pubs or spending that Sunak Voucher on meals? Some economists warn however that this recovery depends on the job market recovering while warning about stopping the furlough scheme in October:
“This month, employers started paying national insurance and pension contributions for furloughed staff and in September they will have to pay 10 per cent their salaries, rising to 20 per cent in October, after which the support scheme ends. Redundancy announcements are coming thick and fast, the latest being 500 job cuts by NatWest on Wednesday.” (link, paywalled)
Are these the ‘old jobs’ which Sunak thinks they could well be shed? Or is this about ‘industries’ not willing to shoulder the Lockdown burden without handouts from us, the taxpayers? Odd that Labour seems to be on the side of those capitalists when they demand furlough must be extended and not on the side of the working class whose taxes pay for this.
In a perfect example of why paying Danegeld never ends once it’s started, ‘Our NHS’ is already preparing the next round in their fight to get more out of the shrinking money pot. Enough, it seems, is never enough. Under the headline “Treasury snubs NHS plea for £1bn to fund 4,000 extra beds” The Times writes this morning;
“NHS bosses say that the return to normality comes as the country heads for an “unprecedented level of risk this winter”, with fears of a second wave of coronavirus alongside flu and reduced hospital capacity enforced by social-distancing rules. They want ministers to publicly acknowledge that the pledge to give the NHS all the resources it needs has now “expired” and admit that the health service is once again getting less than it asked for.” (link, paywalled)
Ooh – ‘unprecedented’: where have we heard that expression before? It’s quite amazing, given the ‘performance’ of ‘Our NHS’ during the Lockdown, with whole departments standing empty and the Nightingale hospitals left unused, that they already position themselves as ‘in need’. They want that extra billion for 4,000 more beds and for this:
“It also wanted funding for rapid response teams to give physiotherapy and other help to frail patients to keep them out of hospital. “We have returned to the usual position of the NHS’s request for winter financial support only being partially, not fully, met,” (link, paywalled)
‘Living within one’s means’ doesn’t apply to ‘Our Sacred Cow’. The dire economic situation with more job losses on the cards doesn’t matter. Real austerity is only meant to apply to us little people – ‘Our NHS’ must get all they want! Read what this snubbing of ‘Our NHS’ by the Treasury looks like in real life:
“A government spokesman said: “Over £30 billion has so far been approved for health and care services. We’ve also announced an additional £3 billion to support the NHS through the winter months and have hugely increased the number of hospital beds available already by retaining the Nightingale hospitals.” (link, paywalled)
Better ask why we should reward ‘Our NHS’ with more money we don’t have when their precious PHE has had to admit it got the death rate wrong by 10%, never mind the money wasted on that ‘test and trace’ app! It’s even worse when we read:
“It is also now clear that England’s death rate has been diminishing far faster than official figures showed. Since the middle of June, at least half the reported deaths have not been due to coronavirus and have now been excluded from official figures. Experts said the figures explained why the daily death toll for England remained stubbornly high throughout June and July, in contrast to the other devolved nations and despite the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showing that deaths were rapidly falling. The numbers have now been adjusted, and it now appears that England may have had its first Covid-19 death-free day on August 6.” (paywalled link)
Why is that not worthy of a headline in ‘Our MSM’ (rhetorical question!)? Today’s reports demonstrate nicely how government and ‘Our NHS’ are hoist by their own petard, by conjuring up that 2nd wave based on their unreliable if not outright wrong numbers. Government can either try and get the economy going by abandoning the fear mongering about a 2nd wave or they can allow the fear and hysteria project to go on, thus crashing the whole economy.
I leave you with this damning observation by Allister Heath in the DT. He lists the economic and social devastation caused by the Lockdown and concludes:
“This is a catastrophically high price tag for the British state’s systemic incompetence, the uselessness of Public Health England, the deep, structural failings of the NHS, the influence of modelers rather than proper scientists, the complacency, the delusion, the refusal to acknowledge that the quality of the British state and bureaucracy are abysmally poor.” (paywalled link)
Just so – but even he overlooks the role played by ‘Our MSM’ in this disaster. They may be softening the fear and hysteria project for the moment but, as we’ve seen, they’re already scrabbling for more of the same for the autumn. They rely on us having the memories of amoeba, on us having already forgotten their screaming headlines about infections and deaths, their demands for more tests, for muzzles, for keeping certain parts of the population in permanent Lockdown.
Never mind – all is not gloom and doom: the Footsie rose by 2% on the basis of those economic news yesterday. All is well and “we” can surely afford to tighten our belts to ‘Save the NHS’. After all, what’s another £1bn between friends – peanuts, just peanuts!