by Colin Campbell
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak doled out billions more from the magic money tree yesterday.
But if Sunak or Boris or the evil Tories think this is going to be enough to damp down the warnings of Armageddon ahead they are sadly mistaken.
The SNP warned that it was nowhere near enough. The BBC and the Guardian more or less said the same.
And as for the evil Tories popularity rating, that is absolutely certain to plunge even further.
During two years of covid they handed out hundreds of billions in free money to pay people to sit at home doing nothing. Or if they felt bored, to go out and do a bit of gardening.
I was a beneficiary and at the time it was great. Instead of going down to work overnight in a hotel two or three times a week, as I did then for a while, I stayed at home, had a beer or two, and watched the telly. And still the money rolled in. It was supposed to be only 80 per cent of what you earned, but often I got more than I did when I was working.
Just about everyone else I spoke to, who were in full time jobs, said the same as their eyes lit up when I mentioned the word “furlough”.
But the evil Tories have ended up being hated and loathed for it, mainly by the beneficiaries. The same will happen as a result of the latest shakedown of the magic free money tree. When this starts it seems virtually no one appreciates or is grateful for what they’ve got. They are resentful that they aren’t getting even more. And there’s liable to be no end to it. In a few months time, mark my words, evil Sunak will be under pressure to give 50 quid a week to everyone to pay their food bills.
On Tuesday the Herald had a banner headline: ‘Energy costs will force half of all Scots into fuel poverty.’
So that’s every second household heading for fuel poverty. That’ll no doubt include those with two cars. Or at least one car.
Do 50 per cent of households in Inverness not have a car? Everyone I know has a car.
But I don’t, haven’t had one for years. And as I slogged on the bike up the hills to Scorguie last night against driving rain and what seemed a gale force wind, I resolved to check the small print of Sunak’s statement to find if there was any free money or special treatment for an old guy in his 60s enduring that kind of hardship, winter or summer and all through the year.
Not a bloody word. Not even an on call valet service or free taxis. I thought, “What about me!”
If Sunak thinks his pitiful multi billion handouts will stop our pregnant morning sickness finance minister Kate Forbes, never in the best of grievance ridden form but probably even less so these days, from predicting an “unimaginably horrendous” time ahead, he can think again.
Ditto for money-saving expert Martin Lewis who claims millions face the choice of freezing or starving to death.
Many people unarguably face difficult times ahead. But as always, via the salivating media, some politicians and others for purely political reasons have seized on it using language that goes beyond natural concern and beyond exaggeration in an effort to whip up rampant hysteria.
Now I will very gladly return to watching a replay of the final day of evidence, before closing arguments, in the Amber Heard v Johnny Depp defamation trial, which I came across on YouTube a couple of weeks ago.
Prior to that I’d been vaguely aware this was on but dismissed it as a bit of celebrity tittle tattle, not my scene at all. But I tuned into a clip and got hooked. And since then I’ve watched many, many hours of an utterly riveting courtroom drama. It’s been compelling. Depp is widely forecast to win the case but my money’s on Heard. She and others who have testified for her sound much more credible to me.
So thank God for Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, whoever is to be believed. In these terrible, unimaginably horrendous times, we all need something to try and keep us sane.