Trade Wars

At ease, Martin Lewis – a line of Tory MPs are here to solve the cost of living crisis | Marine Hyde

gGiven the caliber of employees and the attrition rate of this government, it is always an emotional moment when it releases an unprecedented minister on the airwaves. Just like the bit in The Simpsons where Mr. Burns releases the winged monkeys from his window with a “Fly, my pretty ones – fly!” full of hope. When thuds and blood-curdling screams follow, he turns to his servant, Smithers, with the dry instruction, “Keep the search going.”

Perhaps the communication geniuses of No 10 felt that way when they debuted hitherto deserved safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean at Monday breakfasts to discuss the coronavirus crisis. Cost of life. Who knows why the random goon-generating machine had been doing Rachel’s trick? Maybe Helen Whately refused to come out of her trailer. In many ways, I refuse to believe that Rachel is even the Minister of Safeguarding — a big part of me assumes she’s just a character hastily assembled from discarded holiday ideas and then ‘he was given a fake job title that would be rude to argue with. “Just say she’s the ‘Minister of Safeguarding’. That sounds like a thing. As for Rachel’s thoughts on how increasingly anxious citizens may react to multiple financial pressures, let’s see them on their own. “We need to have a plan to grow the economy,” she risked (no shit), “and to make sure people are able to better protect themselves, whether that’s taking more hours or by moving into a better paying job.”

Continue the search.

In the meantime, if you consider the government’s suggestions on how to deal with acute financial distress in the real world, please add “Have you thought about getting paid more?” to the stack. This pile also contains similar advice from Therese Coffey for working longer hours, while George Eustice recently revealed to shoppers the little secret of supermarket value ranges. “Generally,” he generalized unspeakably, “what people find is that by opting for some of the value brands over own brand products, they can actually contain and manage their family budget. Amazing, isn’t it, that George still has all that good stuff in the tank, as money-saving expert Martin Lewis recently admitted, “I’m out of tools to help people now… I’ve been through the financial crash, I’ve been through Covid. It’s the worst, where we are right now… It’s just not tenable in our society. It’s absolute panic and it hasn’t started yet. Did Martin think of indicating how people could retrain in investment banking?

In the meantime, with the Governor of the Bank of England appearing before the Treasury select committee on Monday to forecast ‘doomsday’ food prices, do you feel like the government has anything in the same postcode as a plan to make things even slightly better? Hand on heart, no. Rather the opposite. In fact, he has two plans to make them worse. The first is a possible trade war with the EU, which seems to be one of the right kinds of wars, seems to be one of the right kinds of wars. And the second is the triumphant announcement by Boris Johnson, via the pages of the Daily Mail against their hierarchical superiors, that he will lay off 91,000 civil servants.

Let’s keep in mind that the Prime Minister surely arrived at this number by the old no-hint technique for making cuts – thinking of the total number and then dividing it by five. Instead, we’ll focus on the main event, which suggests that the best idea for heading into a recession is to cut frontline service delivery. Whatever it says on the back of Johnson’s napkin, there’s simply no other way to make 91,000 cuts. Of course, No 10 doesn’t tell you about frontline service delivery, preferring instead to imply that it will just be a fair response to deserts for public servants working from home. It’s the main bugbear of that incorrigible office sniffer Jacob Rees-Mogg, a man whose own office doesn’t even feature a computer, but who has recently been prowling around Whitehall as the Child Catcher of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and quitting the sub-yodel “sorry to miss you” notes for officials. I’m told that Rupert Murdoch is obsessed with people going back to the office wherever they work, so maybe that puts a damper on the Rees-Mogg pencil.

Even so, for a government that has achieved absolutely nothing in office except a Brexit deal which it is currently threatening to burn down, it is truly extraordinary to see the Johnson administration working with so many commitment against this organic form of leveling. As it has become increasingly clear since the phrase was first uttered, they don’t have a clue how to “level up” anything. Yet, in a quick and elegant way, remote work is the market that is really starting to enforce its policy for them – allowing people to earn metropolis wages but physically locate themselves in less affluent areas for at least part of the working week. What not to kiss?

Let’s move on to Boris Johnson, a man who works from home. Indeed, its officials have spent much of the year explaining why certain rules do not apply in Downing Street. “My experience of working from home,” Johnson explained over the weekend, “is that you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking really slowly to the fridge, to cut a small piece of cheese, then walk very slowly to your laptop and then forget what you were doing. Oh, did you forget what you were doing? Let us help you. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE PRIME MINISTER EFFING. Hey well, maybe another time. Sorry to have missed you.