PETER HITCHENS: This economic crisis isn’t down to war… it’s the bill for our Covid panic

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Can we afford to behave as we do? I don’t just mean the Government, which has debauched the currency with mad spending. I mean all of us. Are we going to be able to live as we have done or is this the beginning of a major permanent decline in our living standards?

I don’t think there has been anything like this since the forgotten crisis of 1931, which brought down the government and split the governing party.

Nobody realised just how bad things had got until a large part of the Royal Navy mutinied against pay cuts, and so forced a panic devaluation of the Pound Sterling. In modern Britain they don’t need to cut anyone’s pay.

I said: 'Our economy is still crippled, and the overpraised Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured), like some beaming Dr Feelgood with a case full of dodgy stimulants, seeks to soothe the pain by huge injections of funny money'

I said: ‘Our economy is still crippled, and the overpraised Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured), like some beaming Dr Feelgood with a case full of dodgy stimulants, seeks to soothe the pain by huge injections of funny money’

Inflation cuts it, and those who fight for pay rises to make up for it get called wreckers.

I warned clearly in March 2020 that the out-of-proportion reaction to Covid would lead to this crisis.

I said: ‘Our economy is still crippled, and the overpraised Chancellor Rishi Sunak, like some beaming Dr Feelgood with a case full of dodgy stimulants, seeks to soothe the pain by huge injections of funny money.

Why I’m so Fonda Jane 

Pictured: Jane Fonda in LA this year

Pictured: Jane Fonda in LA this year

News that Jane Fonda stopped having facelifts ‘because I don’t want to look distorted’ reminds me of the unlikely evening many years ago when we appeared together on BBC Question Time, from which I am now banned without explanation.

I had expected Hollywood royalty, stiff, grand and humourless, surrounded by some vast entourage.

In fact, she was a joy to meet, funny, charming and amused by our many disagreements.

‘He will get this back from us as soon as we are allowed out again. Just you wait till you get the bill, in increased taxes, inflation and devastated savings.’

And it came to pass, just as I said it would. I needed no magic powers to see this. Anyone could have done the same, including Mr Sunak.

As it began to be obvious even to him, I wrote here back in May last year: ‘Most of the people in charge of this country can’t remember what inflation is like. I can. And it scares me.’

Now, ridiculously, persons such as the Governor of the Bank of England are trying to blame our problems on the Ukraine War which he says could not have been foreseen – an odd claim since it actually began in 2014.

No doubt our involvement in that war will make things much worse, and I am coming to that. But the main reason for the Western world’s plunge into recession is the ridiculous over-reaction to the coronavirus.

I am genuinely unsure what we can do to repair the enormous damage done to work, business, education, health and the national finances.

But may I put in a plea to our leaders, whoever they may be, to stop making a crisis into a catastrophe? It is time to end the Ukraine War before it sets the whole world on fire and wrecks what is left of our civilisation.

Now, ridiculously, persons such as the Governor of the Bank of England (pictured: Andrew Bailey) are trying to blame our problems on the Ukraine War which he says could not have been foreseen ¿ an odd claim since it actually began in 2014

Now, ridiculously, persons such as the Governor of the Bank of England (pictured: Andrew Bailey) are trying to blame our problems on the Ukraine War which he says could not have been foreseen – an odd claim since it actually began in 2014

For some reason, the USA has for 14 years now been having a costly arm-wrestling contest with Russia in Ukraine. This turned hot eight years ago and has led to horrible numbers of deaths, and much destruction, in Ukraine itself.

I really cannot see what ordinary Ukrainians will ever gain from it. Nor can I see what interest Britain has in it, apart from our endless, rather pathetic desire to please the USA, which neither notices nor cares.

Yet we pledge billions in arms supplies, so sustaining the horror. The same goes for all the other European nations now preparing for a chilly winter of fuel shortages and raging high prices.

Is there anybody out there with the wit and courage to bring an end to this idiocy? Or, in years to come, as we sit unemployed in our freezing houses eating bread and potatoes, while Ukrainians pick about in the ruins of their ‘victorious’ country, wondering how to rebuild it, and where all the young men have gone, will we comfort ourselves by saying that it was all worth it?

Foul play by BBC on the Euros

I would rather do algebra all over again than watch football of any kind played by anybody. I just don’t like it. I have tried to.

I have watched it on TV and attended league matches. But I have yet to see a goal being scored – because my attention has wandered long before it happened.

But I think I know why a lot of people do like it. It’s a bit like war without the danger. They like the suppressed violence, the licensed rudeness of the chants, the feeling of being a bit bad, the feeling of belonging to a gang.

I asked a genuine supporter if he had enjoyed watching the women’s championship, as everyone claims to have done.

‘No,’ he said, ‘and the male commentators who are claiming that they did are just lying. Women’s football is too nice. It is not the same game.’

He said this with some force. I am in no position to judge whether he is right, but I have sensed over the past few weeks something very like pressure on us all, especially from the BBC, to accept the view there is no real difference between men’s and women’s football.

Once dogma takes a real grip on society, there is no end to the parts of life it invades.

A warning all you liberty lovers cannot ignore

You may remember that Graham Phillips (pictured), the first UK citizen to be sanctioned by his own government, without any hearing or trial, and on the vaguest of charges, is now more or less banned from living. His life has been frozen by a decree

You may remember that Graham Phillips (pictured), the first UK citizen to be sanctioned by his own government, without any hearing or trial, and on the vaguest of charges, is now more or less banned from living. His life has been frozen by a decree

I have not been overwhelmed in the rush of liberty-loving public figures to defend the blogger Graham Phillips against government oppression.

You may remember that Mr Phillips, the first UK citizen to be sanctioned by his own government, without any hearing or trial, and on the vaguest of charges, is now more or less banned from living. His life has been frozen by a decree.

It reminds me of the way the South African apartheid state used to ban people it didn’t like, making them vanish.

Mr Phillips tells me that one of the results has been a spate of people on social media threatening to kill him, or suggesting he should be killed.

What does the once-gentlemanly Foreign Office think about that?

Mr Phillips says the culprits believe he has, in effect, lost the protection of the law.

I recall when almost everyone used to quote the German pastor Martin Niemoller about how we can’t expect anyone to stand up for us if we don’t stand up for others, especially those we don’t much like – and I’m not wild about Mr Phillips.

You know the one: ‘First, they came for the Socialists, and I did nothing because I wasn’t a Socialist…’

Well, it turns out everybody thinks it’s a set of instructions, not a warning.

Dev

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