Stuart Jeffery

Tag: politics


Who’d a thought it eh? The economy takes a hit because we were just buying what we needed, over 20% according to the Bank of England. Probably a bit more than we needed would be my guess – the sales of home entertainment must have gone through the roof.

A 21% drop is huge though, add to this the misery of unemployment, the difficulties of isolation and coping with friends and relatives who have died as a result of covid and we really have a sorry picture.

Our economy is unsustainable of course. On every measure and in every way that springs to mind we have a problem. So seeing it tank per-se doesn’t worry me, what worries me is what we do about it.

Perhaps the answer is to give people cheap access to restaurants? £10 off? Get people sitting together, socialising, drinking? Positive covid tests in the UK have just hit their highest point since late June and as we head out of summer things are likely to get worse – so no, we should not be encouraging more spreading of the virus…

What we need to do is reshape the economy. Invest in the areas that will improve lives and let the things that harm us go.

We need to rapidly reduce air pollution. This will save live lives as the second covid wave hits us and it will help us in the coming years too. Invest in trams, cycling, walking, electric buses, but do this at an unprecedented scale so that we don’t need to drive in the future.

Local the economy too. Lots of pollution from container shipping.

And ban the woodburning stoves from towns.

But above all, don’t let us return to business as usual!

 


There is a part of me that despairs. The prime minister gets to appoint people to the House of Lords our non-democratic upper chamber. Ok, so that’s wrong. An unelected undemocratic chamber that holds power, albeit not a huge amount, over the country. The US invades countries for less.

So wrong.

But the process has been there for quite some time so in the failure of Parliament to sort its lack of democracy out, any half decent prime minister would make good, sensible, non-partisan appointments.

Boris Johnson could have chosen Chris Witty, the Chief Medical Officer, who has played a high profile during this current covid crisis. Ok, it’s not going well but that is certainly not Prof Witty’s fault, it is the fault of Johnson and his master, Cummings. That would be ok, i.e. a meritocratic appointment.

The PM could have picked people from across the political spectrum to bring the Lords into line with the political make up based on vote shares. That would be ok, a pseudo-democratic appointment and in line with the result of some voting systems.

But to appoint one’s brother, lead brexit campaigners, party donors and other Tories is simple cronyism. It is the way of failed states. It is undemocratic beyond all measure. It is a croniocracy.