15 September 2022
Liberté Egalité Fraternité
by Don Urquhart
It would be a mistake to regard our economic woes as manageable through the distribution of little pots of complicated money. Truss’s “help” for people with energy bills will benefit the wealthy infinitely more than the poor. No surprise when you inspect the list of people who financed her leadership campaign. A bunch of oil company executives, investment bankers and property developers are not looking for the economy to be managed for the benefit of the plebs. Sir Christopher Soames told us on Kuennsberg that Truss’s bung to the energy companies was the only way to go and nobody on the programme demurred. The Labour politician on the panel, Baroness Amos works for a private equity firm. It is the establishment against the rest of us.
Are they calculating that people will sit back and take it when the Zeitgeist mandates significant structural change in the economy? Across the population there is a majority for public ownership of energy, water, public transport. Thatcher’s sell-off of the family silver according to Harold MacMillan was always a road to poor service and the risks inherent in private ownership.
It will be interesting in a fortnight to see whether the Labour Party endorses public ownership at the Conference. To get himself elected as party leader Starmer backed it then backtracked at the behest of his financial backers. Last week Labour List published a poll that had 87% of members wanting the energy system to be run in the public sector.
The BBC tries to convince us that the passage of the Queen’s coffin from Balmoral is the centre of the world’s attention. Their coverage is embarrassing in this respect. I never met Her Majesty but then I have never met any of The Beatles, but that doesn’t stop me having views about such prominent people. She seems to have been a very pleasant and intelligent person. Friends in Germany have sent me condolences. President Macron’s response was very moving. So clearly her death has resonances beyond these shores.
Sky News reported that a demonstration demanding justice for Chris Kaba was a spontaneous outbreak of love for the monarchy. They apologised later but it showed what a state our news services are in. 6 days after her demise the BBC is still filling its news programmes with random vox pops, the first question being “how did you feel when you heard of Her Majesty’s death?” Of course the progress of the cortege is newsworthy but not on a constantly repeating loop.
I am reading Charles Derwent’s novel “My Beautiful Man”.
The hero Davy Turnbull ends up in France at the time of the Revolution. There are many resonances of our current situation. Our population is threatened with a cost of living crisis where many will die for want of the basic minimum requirements of life and we are faced with an increasingly authoritarian executive. And there is a change of monarch, albeit through less violent means than back then. And now there is a burgeoning debate about the role of the monarchy. People are being arrested for holding banners suggesting they are not thrilled with any sort of monarchy, constitutional or otherwise. In Derwent’s story Davy finds himself in Toulon where the royalists are being reinforced by the English fleet. Our establishment was then as now enthusiastic about putting down any challenge to their hegemony and feared the French disease would infect its neighbours. Bonaparte appeared and sent the English off tails between their legs.
The late Queen was born in 1926, the year of the General Strike. The year of her death might coincide with a wave of strikes and civil disorder.