Richard Pierce

Life, Politics

Day 217

There must be a saying, and if there isn’t, I’m going to coin it now – “Economists are disgraced mathematicians or failed politicians. And politicians are disgraced economists.” A devil’s circle if there ever was one. In the week when the Bank of England, now headed up by a committed Brexiter, oddly enough also one of the most ineffectual people to appear before a House of Commons Committee, raised its interest rate to 1.75%, the biggest increase in 27 years, we have proof once again of how divorced the financial markets (and the actors therein) are from real life. AT a time when we’re experiencing inflation of over 9% already, and forecasts are that inflation will rise to above 13% by the beginning of 2023, it is inordinate stupidity, along with a healthy dose of I’m alright, Jack evil, to raise interest rates. If we look at the already massive disconnect between the Bank of England’s interest rate and the exorbitant rate mortgage and money lenders charge, this action will not bring down inflation; it will raise it. And it not only won’t bring down inflation, it will inflict what I would term hyperinflation on those who can least bear it – the extremely poor and needy, the people in the already broken beyond redemption Universal Credit system, the people below the breadline, the people in acute food insecurity.

The argument the Bank and its wet blanket Brexiter governor put forward for raising its interest is that it’s the only weapon to stop prices from rising continually. Eh? So people having to pay more for mortgages and rent and food and energy and electricity and all those other necessities to live (and which they already cannot afford) are going to not ask for pay rises to allow them to afford to pay more for mortgages, rent, food, energy, electricity, and necessities? This doesn’t add up (this is obviously where the failed mathematician bit of economists kicks in), nor does it make any sort of sense, neither in terms of real economics, nor in terms of compassion and understanding of how people below the breadline actually live. And for the currently almost non-existent government with a caretaker right-wing agitator Prime Minister permanently on holiday (not much change there to when he was not on his way out, if he is on his way out) to refuse to take measures against (matching terms here) hyper-profits by energy and oil companies (and others, actually – seen supermarket profits lately?), is not just neglect of its duty of care for every single citizen of this country, it also reinforces again that the populace of the UK has been lied to again and again (and in a more and more extreme fashion) for the last 12 years that this lot have been in power (although the current Tory leadership candidates talk as if they had been in opposition for all that time).

Of course, the biggest lies of all are that this economic implosion has been caused by covid-19 and Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine. They may be contributing factors, but they are small contributing factors; the largest single biggest cause of all this is Brexit. That is an indisputable fact which is being obliterated from history by politicians and media alike. Exiting the EU was never going to end well, and we’ve not even reached the end of the beginning of this exit inflicted on this country by self-centred lying politicians and those devilish economists.

I was also going to have a go at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for affirming yesterday the validity of a resolution made at the Lambeth conference in 1998 (Resolution Lambeth 1.10, to be precise) which declared that “gay sex is a sin.” But I’ve run out of space. Sort of. I’ve run out patience with people who use organised religion to oppress minorities, who abuse faith to turn it into organised religion with which to oppress people. Sandi Toksvig (with whom I disagree on many things) actually put it better than me in her letter to Welby, although her tone is rather more conciliatory than mine. I call myself a Christian, but I will have nothing to do with this kind of monstrous behaviour which conveniently forgets that faith, true faith, any faith, is about love. And people who love each other should not be persecuted.



When they’ve all follow her into the house, Aggie closes the door softly, carefully, leaves them standing in the dark while she watches her hands move swiftly across all the locks, and secures them. Only then does she reach for the light switch, listening to the satisfying full-bodied click it makes when she presses it into the on position, and the light suddenly rushes along the ceiling and down into hall, and extends its fingers to all the edges of it. She notes that the door to the cellar is closed, just as she had left it when she, Zak, and Anna had locked up the house to go and find Katharina and Marit. ‘Come, come,’ she says, pushes open the kitchen door, allows herself a small smile at how much she sounds like Robert, listens to another light-switch click, and feels proud of her tidy kitchen, with just a tiny remnant in it of the scent of the bread she baked those few days ago. It feels like a life-time, and she realises this is really the only place she would ever want to be. And the complications that might bring. And how unrelated it is to that girl in that unnamed village in the rain who couldn’t speak, and didn’t speak for an age, and who didn’t scream when someone took a knife to her womb. She suppresses the shiver and the worry, reminds herself again that not thinking is the only way to be happy, or even just on the path to happiness.

Lilibet walks across to the kitchen window that looks across the street. ‘There’s the cathedral, then.’ She turns briefly and smiles warmly. ‘I can see why this would be your favourite room in this place.’

Aggie nods, and smiles back. ‘It’s a comfort. When the lights are still on.’ She fills the coffee machine with water, gets out four espresso cups.

‘Anything I can do?’ Marit says, her hands in her pockets, adopting a slight stoop.

Aggie shakes her head. ‘No need. Sit down for the minute. All of you.’ She waits for the familiar sounds of the machine. ‘Lets just settle before we do anything.’

‘Proper coffee,’ Katharina says. ‘That’s nice. Thought it’s not the way we’re used to it. Kettle on the stove.’

‘Oh, Nan, all that old Norwegian stuff,’ Marit says, drops into one of the chairs.

‘It might be old, but it’s still good.’

‘Everyone has a different favourite way for coffee,’ Aggie says. ‘I had to persuade Cassandra and Valentine to get this thing.’

‘I shouldn’t think Cassie needed much persuading,’ Katharina says.

‘No,’ Aggie says. ‘But he did.’

‘Earl Grey?’ Marit says.

‘Just about. He didn’t like strong coffee. Said it was foreign muck half the time.’

‘And him at least half Russian,’ Lilibet says. She tries to keep her face straight, but doesn’t manage to, and bursts out laughing.

‘What’s so funny?’ Marit says, frowning.

‘Oh, just the hypocrisy of it,’ Lilibet says. ‘It’s just like everyone in power is nothing but a caricature. Making virtue of lies.’

‘And other people pay the price,’ Aggie says.

‘Always,’ Lilibet says, looking at Marit. ‘Yes. All the time.’


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