+Clearly, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives cares deeply about national independence, thinking of e.g. Taiwan and the right of its people to choose self-government. I wonder if she’ll be visiting Scotland anytime soon?
+During the 1970s, when inflation rose to a post-war high, it was largely down to two factors: the ‘oil shocks’ when OPEC raised oil prices dramatically, and the Barber/Heath boom and bust, which tends to get less attention. It took the successor Labour government some time to get inflation down again, but politically it was too late—Margaret Thatcher very effectively planted in people’s minds the thought that Labour governments will always be economically incompetent, a thought which lasted until the Tories’ own economic incompetence was exposed when the UK crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on ‘Black Wednesday,’ 1992. That kept the Tories out of power for some considerable time. Now that it is becoming once again clear that the Tories are indeed the party of economic incompetence, I long to hear Labour ramming that message home again and again, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I suspect that somewhere on our frontbench there is the thought floating around which says, ‘Let’s be fair, inflation is up globally, it’s not all their fault.’ This would fit in well with Starmer’s predilection for abstentionism, which has seen so many government bills through without genuine opposition. The only people it appears who are making any headway in talking up Tory economic incompetence are Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Or should I say they are doing a good job exposing it.
+What the government could do to even out the pain of the ‘cost of living crisis’ which is largely driven by energy prices is to introduce something like Domestic Tradable Energy Quotas—which would cost profligate users more and light users less. It was the subject of a private member’s bill of mine back in 2004. Another possibility is to re-introduce a luxury goods tax and share the proceeds out with the deserving poor. The longer term solution of course is to diversify our renewable energy sources. We produce enough shit to drive an anaerobic digestion revolution—the technology already exists, but it seems to be treated as a joke in poor taste. We could if we wished develop tidal power—a very predictable and reliable source of energy. But no, in 15 or 20 years’ time we’ll have a new nuclear power station or two. There may be talk of economic incompetence, but soon (I hope) we’ll hear more about energy incompetence.