We’ve only had the economic agenda for this paradise for the super-rich that the UK Government’s seeking to create. There’s still their social agenda to be rolled out and, believe me, that’s going to be worse.
Within the space of a week, we’ve gone from living in what seemed like Ruritania to being part of a gigantic experiment, as economic and social policies are tested on the entire populace of the UK.
Gone is the vision of a Brexit UK becoming some unleashed North Sea version of Singapore with business booming. Instead, it’s to be some low-tax Valhalla where oligarchs and others can plonk their money and hedge fund managers can laugh all the way to the bank.
The economic agenda has gone from lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses and cutting taxes to nearly crashing pension funds and sending interest rates rocketing. Talk’s of the Bank of England base rate going to six per cent – meaning higher overdrafts and mortgages. Business closures will follow as interest rates rise.
The misery that’ll bring to homeowners will be worse than that of energy crises. Johnson was reputed to have said “f*** business” but Kwarteng seems literally intent on doing it.
But that’s only the economic side. We’ve still to see the social agenda but all the hints that have been dropped are truly horrific.
Failing to raise benefits in line with inflation would cause misery, with the pain worsened by the knowledge that it’s to provide for tax cuts for the wealthy. Hopefully another U-turn will follow but what remains is still grim.
It’s clear that massive public expenditure cuts are coming. The Bank of England may be working overtime printing money, but that quantitative easing is just to shore up the pound. There’s nothing left to replicate the Covid bailout.
Departmental cuts in health and other social departments will be frightening. Winter flu’s coming and probably another Covid variant with it. When we should be shoring up creaking services, Truss is intent on tearing them down.
It’s all part of a plan to roll back the state or rather the welfare state. Indeed, changing the NHS to an insurance scheme’s now mooted by Tory outliers. The state can support the City but not its citizens.
Kwarteng’s been grim but don’t think there’s going to be any respite from others in Truss’s motley crew. Priti Patel was appalling as Home Secretary. A nadir it seemed had been reached with her cruel and heartless policies.
But wait! Her successor Suella Braverman smiles more and doesn’t smirk when unleashing misery as her predecessor did. However, anyone anticipating a more benign regime’s soon going to find otherwise.
As Kwarteng has lurched to the right, so will the Home Office and other departments. As their policies create a rise in crime, they’ll react with repression. Migrants might well find that there’s worse than being sent to Rwanda. The attacks on worker’s rights will make Thatcher’s attack on the miners, the Ridley plan or even Norman Tebbit all seem moderate.
Frankenstein was at least fiction. We’ve got to live in this nightmare.
Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian