I often hear people say they have no interest in politics, but they mean party politics or even politicians. And that’s fair enough. Because they do care deeply about, housing, transport, food prices, energy costs and the myriad of other aspects of government policies that affect their everyday lives and that’s the realpolitik. They care about the crippling price of fuel and the fact that 45% of that on petrol and 43% on diesel is tax imposed by the UK government. Or the household energy inflation rate of 28% for gas and 19% for electricity according to the Office for National Statistics in June 2022. And of course, any increase in the cost of fuel and energy will force increases in food prices. So, politics is the cost of heating your house and putting food on the table. And let’s be clear while there are many influences on the cost of energy and fuel, the austerity programme, which is the beating heart of the UK government, is a deliberate policy. It was enforced by the Conservative and Unionist UK government from 2010 to 2019. And as part of their ‘big society’ charities were expected to deliver public services. It was the austerity policy that took many families to the brink, food banks popped up in towns and cities all over the UK and ‘in work’ poverty exploded. And now with high taxation, high inflation and the removal of Covid 19 support measures we have a cost-of-living crisis. The number of children living in relative poverty increased by 600,000 between 2012 and 2019 and now stands at a shameful 3.9 million in the UK.
While the architects of this crisis run for cover, back to their millionaires’ mansions, the revolving doors of Westminster will continue to spin at an alarming rate. New names will take up old positions, chauffeurs and security details will be reassigned, and the citizens of a very disunited kingdom will be left to pick up the shattered pieces. The United Kingdom is not for changing and we, in Scotland, can’t force it. We can however design and build a Scotland to be proud of, we need to accept the responsibility and get cracking.