‘WHERE are we going?’ is the question raised in my mind in the aftermath of the eagerly awaited Autumn Statement.
I am grateful to Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, for at least part of that answer.
“The truth is we just got a lot poorer. We are in for a long, hard, unpleasant journey; a journey that has been made more arduous than it might have been by a series of economic own goals…”
While this not something we wanted to hear, we at least now know what the immediate future is likely to hold.
How much longer will it take for the British public to realise there is something fundamentally flawed in the approach to governance by the Conservative Party?
There can be no doubt their judgement has repeatedly come under scrutiny and been found wanting. Like it or not our politicians have the even tougher than usual task of governing and leading a nation, one that is increasingly divided on a number of key issues, through the toughest times since the Second World War. The difference then was there was a common enemy, a shared goal and circumstances requiring strong leadership.
As the Conservative Party disintegrated in the vacuum left by the demise of their populist leader this summer, the party has struggled, not only to lead the country, but to establish leadership within its own party. Party members opted to elect Liz Truss. Having wreaked havoc with the economy, the government lost more ground in the period required to elect a new leader.
One of the most frustrating aspects of politics has always been the disproportionate amount of time and effort invested in the trying to allocate blame for the current prevailing aspects of our everyday lives causing the greatest concern or distress.
With that in mind let us get that out of the way first, if only to provide the context for the current crisis and also establish the conditions required to enhance our capacity to thrive.
It is becoming apparent ‘getting Brexit done’ is emerging as part of the problem.
The handling of the pandemic was a triumph for the NHS, often in spite of, not because of decisions made Johnson’s cabinet.
The energy crisis precipitated by the war in Ukraine has caused economic mayhem and misery for the majority of the population while energy companies never had it so good.
These difficult circumstances have had a huge impact on our world, but the lack of integrity, leadership, poor decisions, and a lack of vision for our future, is leaving the public feeling disillusioned, and in many cases, demoralised or angry.
We deserve good public services and to be able to enjoy a reasonable quality of life, but the distribution of wealth has been, and will continue to be under this government, skewed in favour of the very wealthy.
• We are always going to be economically dependent on energy production, so the absolute priority is to invest much more in the development of renewable sources of energy.
• Fossil fuel dependency is damaging to our economy and to the environment
• The transition to renewable energy is not only crucial in slowing down global warning, but ultimately the only long-term solution to energy security and economic stability.
The potential is there, the technology is there, but the political will is evidently not. We simply can’t expect to thrive and prosper if energy companies, and the likes of Putin, are calling the shots.
The way forward is to ensure tax concessions to energy companies are awarded exclusively for investment in the development of renewable energy, or perhaps simply impose taxation to fund government subsidies for greener energy suppliers and domestic insulation for all homes and public buildings.