A few months ago everyone was an epidemiologist. Now this week, it would appear that everyone is an economist. I am neither an epidemiologist nor an economist. I know that all viruses are things to be avoided, and to avoid spreading airborne ones that it is best to keep it out of the air. As far as Economics are concerned, I’m also something of a lost cause. Man of the House tried to explain World Monetary Theory to me once. I looked as blank as he looked when I tried to explain the light in Caravaggio’s ‘Lazarus’ to him. I know enough to know what my mortgage rate is, what my bills are, and what my income is compared to that. I know that if interest rates go up, then that will cost me more money because things are more expensive. I know that food prices have gone through the roof since Brexit and continue to get worse. And I understand a little bit of why.
There is nothing wrong with me being a bit of a doofus on this subject. If I make a mistake, then the only money I am risking is my own. However, I had always hoped that, even if I disagree with those governing us, I could respect them for two things 1. That they were more experienced and intelligent than me and 2. Whatever they were doing, they believed that it was in the best interests of the country. I think we can all agree that both of those things have gone entirely out of window these past few years. Just when we thought the nadir had been reached, down they go again.
So when Man of the House came into the room last Friday and announced that the Chancellor had gone “batshit crazy” I barely turned a hair. We are used to “batshit crazy”. As if that means anything anymore. We are used to being told that the facts staring us in the face are not the facts. A party? No, you don’t understand peasants. It was merely a gathering of people having drinks and nibbles – that’s not a party. Bankers having unlimited bonuses affects inflation? Don’t be silly plebs, it’s those pesky public sector workers on their massive salaries and having the brass neck to expect a payrise so they can both eat and heat their homes that are causing inflation. Fossil fuels causing climate change? What nonsense! Who told you that? Climate scientists? Honestly! We are used to this sort of illogical, patronising and sanctimonious bollocks being spouted at us as if it is we, the Members of the Public, who are too stupid to understand things. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I don’t think our stupidity is the problem.
When Man of the House explained to me that the Treasury had just done something which meant that it and the Bank of England were and are pulling in opposite directions, I formed the view that I didn’t much like the sound of that. Aren’t they both supposed to be on our side? In my not even pretty little head, I see this as a Christmas Cracker. On one side we have the Treasury, and the Bank of England is on the other. And we’re the cracker. Now unless I have missed something, things never turn out well for the cracker. But you don’t have to take my word for it, and to be perfectly honest, why would you. Those (and I am struggling to think of an exception as I type) who do understand the minutiae of this, think that what the Treasury has done is unwise at best. The Chancellor “[doesn’t] comment on market movements” apparently. Well, tanking the pound would appear to speak for itself. As does assisting the rich to become richer and the less well-off to remain so. So as no comment is forthcoming there are only two conclusions one could draw; the first is that they know something that everyone else in the area of economics in pretty much the entire world does not, or the second, rather more unpalatable one; they don’t care.