The outrageous actions of the last three Tory governments have come so thick and fast that the Opposition parties are running out of words with which to describe them. From the blatant lie of £350m weekly for the NHS if we left the EU through the illegal proroguing of parliament and threats to break international law to the denials of "Partygate" we've thought again and again that we had reached the nadir and things could not possibly get any worse.
But the Truss government keeps up the tradition, and they do. With less than a fortnight gone here are already four examples.
1. The decision to cap gas and electricity prices but still to pay the energy companies the full price in order to allow their shareholders to continue to receive excessive dividends, and to finance it by borrowing (which the "public" are going to have to pay back in some so far unspecified way)
My benchmark is to try to imagine what the reaction of the media, and in particular the "Mail" and the "Express," would have been if a Jeremy Corbyn Government had proposed something similar. Say, simply increasing social security payments to maintain the standards of living of the poorest and making no plans whatsoever as to how this would be financed.
Outrage: an end to our AAA rating (I think actually we've already lost it) provoking a run on United Kingdom "paper," and national insolvency?
2. The decision to sack the permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Tom Scholar, who is presumed to question the viability of M/s Truss's determination to cut taxes at the very time that the NHS, Care Service, Local Governmental services and much else are on their beam ends.
Sir Tom might very well have argued that this was based on a discredited theory and that tax cuts alone would probably not prove the magic wand which would l regenerate the stagnant British economy. He would have hoped that his boss, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would listen, but in the end he would have implemented whatever the government instructed. That is the tradition of the British Civil Service.
Again applying the Corbyn test, what would have been the reaction if he had sacked the key officials who challenged his views?
3. It is a proposed to remove the cap on bonuses for bankers. This was originally imposed by the EU, with UK agreement, in order to discourage the reckless behaviour which led to the Financial Crash of 2008. The insensitiveness of suggesting that those who already receive shedloads should be allowed to receive even more while nurses, railway workers, teachers and even barristers are urged to exercise restraint is beyond belief. *
4. This could be a threat to distract us from the above matters, but we are told that the government is planning to scrap the Johnson government's"anti-obesity strategy," The strategy incudes such things as the ban on sugary products being displayed at checkouts, and "buy one get one free" deals which encourage the over-consumption "bads" which make us unhealthy.
One can see the logic: it is an example of the "nanny state" which interferes with the freedom of businesses to exploit our weaknesses (and those of our children.). Much the same was said about speed limits, compulsory set-belt wearing, measures to discourage smoking, and somebody probably complained abut being forced to derive on one side of the road only.
But two-thirds of adult Britons are overweight or obese and the treatment of their resulting health problems cost the NHS about £6.1b a year.
* Post script, added 17/09/22
A friend has passed on to me an article by Phillip Inman in last month's Observer (14/08/22) which contains information which adds flesh and bones to this outrage:
In this year up to May total pay including bonuses in finance and insurance was up 13.6%. The bottom 20 per cent [in all sectors]received just 1% extra.
Pay and bonuses in the finance sector have exaggerated average earnings data [making it look as though the majority are doing rather better than we really are.]
In February the Governor of the Bank of England urged workers to show "quite clear restraint" and in May that they (we) should "think and reflect." [Presumably in an effort to set an example,] he capped his own salary at £575 000.
There's probably more to come. Without seeming to turn these issues into a linguistic joke, here are a few descriptive synonyms culled from Roget's Thesaurus:
Arrant; arrogant; despicable; flagrant; monstrous; preposterous; scandalous.