‘Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ George Orwell, ‘1984’
Orwell’s famous quote from ‘1984’ is what we immediately thought of when we endured reading Rishi Sunak’s desperate interview in The Spectator today. The former Chancellor of The Exchequer – and leading light in the Johnson government – is clearly trying to re-write his place in Covid history, wanting us to believe that he was the wise outsider of the group, never really part of the clique.
That is just fantasy. The most disconcerting thing we think he said was, ‘We shouldn’t have empowered the scientists the way we did.’ It’s hard to know where to start with that, but let’s try: If scientists should not have been empowered concerning a public health crisis, then who exactly should have been? (Mentally scans memories of the cabinet at that time and sighs deeply). It’s common knowledge that it was indeed Sunak who delayed locking down for a second time in October 2020, causing a longer and more devastating upward curve in infections, hospitalisations and deaths in the months that followed.
We can only assume that somehow, the prospect of losing to Liz Truss (by a good margin if the polls are correct) has affected his grasp upon reality of what happened only two years ago. ‘Dishy Rishi’ to this, second-best to Liz Truss (or second-worst, however you want to see it). He must sit looking in the mirror, thinking, ‘How did it all come to this?’, trying to work out where it all went wrong. Was it the parties? The fine? His wife’s non-dom status? His designer loafers, maybe?
This pandemic is still in the living memories of us who those who survived. There are still people trying to deal with it’s devastating toll, so Sunak has a tough task ahead. We can certainly trust the tabloids though to march in step with him by propagating his narrative e.g. ‘We shouldn’t have locked down’, ‘It was just the flu’, ‘We’ve made workers even more lazy’ … ah, and the next destination is ‘the culture wars’.
It is worth bearing in mind however, that the entire 2022 Tory leadership campaign has barely made acquaintances with reality; it has existed in it’s own bubble, completely ignoring the worsening cost of living crisis (by the way, Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, has confirmed today that our energy bills are set to increase by 80% on October 1st – good luck paying those bills). But don’t worry, both Sunak and Truss pledge to help people. We don’t know exactly how at the moment, but the new/current/perhaps soon-to-go in a reshuffle Chancellor, Nadim Zahawi, has suggested to just not use as much energy. Brilliant! A simple solution to another massive national crisis. Maybe Sunak is right after all – we don’t need experts. We just need simple solutions in very few words i.e. ‘Get Brexit Done’, ‘Build Back Better’, ‘Make Brexit Work’, ‘Bring Your Own Bottle’, and now ‘Turn The Lights Off’.
We must remember to be fair – Truss has mentioned 70p off National Insurance contributions per week for the average person, so every cloud does have a silver lining. We’re sure that any minute now, Sunak will pull his solution from his Armani sleeves. You will see a shining light; you’ll at first think it’s just the reflection from his diamond-encrusted cuff links. But, no, this will be his plan: a government rescue package to help those who need it most; a package to support those who need to heat their swimming pools over the winter because, if you have a swimming pool, you must have worked the hardest, right? And this government rewards those who work hard
those with swimming pools and Armani suits to show for it. So, as you sit there in the freezing cold with no swimming pool to heat, remember peasant, that this isn’t a cost of living crisis. This is a crisis of laziness. Of workers who will not graft. Of the pampered worker, who expects everything for nothing. The snowflake worker.
Must stop now. Beginning to feel like a Tory speech writer.
Sarcasm aside, that is what is going to happen. When they can’t offer any concrete solutions to the cost of living crisis and can’t give any meaningful support besides token gestures, they will turn again to the culture wars. It will be, ‘Lazy workers, sitting all day on their arses watching TV with the heating on, moaning about the cost of electricity’. We are moments away from The Blitz being mentioned. Snowflakes can’t even sit in the dark these days. What’s wrong with the world?
We have an escalating cost of living crisis that is going to explode imminently. How can ordinary people, who have already been hit by rising energy costs in April, pay even more? Wages have stagnated and everything is more expensive. We cannot pay what we do not have. Is that a simple enough message for them? The government know that the public expect solutions, yet not one minister went on TV today to comment about the latest Ofgem announcement. Johnson has checked out, more so than before he was ousted (if such a thing is possible), whilst Sunak and Truss currently jostle for the leadership.
When one of them is finally appointed, we can almost guarantee that secretly, their first role will be to try and turn the public against those on strike and the gathering resistance. They know that if they’re not offering real solutions – and they won’t be – there’s only so far they can push people, before people push back. Getting through Covid only to then be hit by this crisis is not the existence any of us dreamt of.
~ L&A 26.8.22 ~
‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or does it fester like a sore –
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over –
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load
Or does it explode?
If you’d like to be part of that resistance, enrol here:
A little hope, always.