Abraham Lincoln was wrong. You can fool all of the people all of the time. Let me start by giving an example of Inflation that I discovered by extrapolating a piece of information passed on to me by my father.

He told me that when he and my mother were courting, an evening out to London would cost him a florin (10 pence in today’s currency). This would include the tram there and back from Balham, supper at a Music Hall, a drink each and sometimes a cigar for himself. This would be about 1912.

Fast forward to my courting days with Ursula in Clapham. No more trams but the underground would take us to London where I would buy tickets for a theatre play for the Gallery (The Gods) if possible, have a meal before or after the play and a shandy each. This was in 1952 and would cost me a little north of £1.

Advancing another generation and transport , meal, theatre and drink would cost around £10 in the 1980’s when our Children were courting or married. The question of who paid was then in cultural flux.

Having little experience of my Grandchildren’s courting habits but keeping up with the costs of the Entertainment World of the early 2000’s I calculated that a continuation of their ancestors’ evening out in London would cost around £100.

This staggering rate of increase in prices, only becomes apparent as one grows older and has a reference point and comparatives to use as I did. Inflation is portrayed as statistician’s territory and too dry a subject for the average citizen. I wonder why! Maybe it is an example of the herd instinct denial in wanting to know that their leaders are selling them down the Swannee.

But hold on a minute. If the wages keep up with the continual creeping cost of living why should all this matter. If only!

When my parents were courting it was customary for there to be one earner and one home-maker in a family; and maybe children. It was usual for the wage earner to be the man and the home-maker to be the woman and the wage was enough to support the family. If women worked it was usually as servants or at menial tasks.

Any changes to this cultural norm happened at glacial speed until WW1 and WW2. After WW2 the speed of the absorption of women into the work force was not sufficiently fast enough to build up a shattered infrastructure so Commonwealth immigrants had to be encouraged to come to the UK. Women workers were claiming or, encouraged to claim, that their work was more to assert their independence or for ‘pin money.’

But this pretence was short lived and the politicians realised that with the growing consumer society commerce was pushing, if people wanted the ‘good things’ in life that they were increasingly being told that they did, then full-time working for women would be necessary

The population accepted without demur those conditions hardly realising that, over time, they could only have the ‘goodies’ now available if both men and women worked full-time. In other words, it was necessary to live what was a ‘normal’ life with two wage packets.

Having pulled this off so effortlessly, the politicians, now in lock-step with Commerce, started tinkering with the wage structures. Why tie people down with making them work full time if some of them wanted only part time work or contract work? so yes, free them to choose.

This or course resulted in zero hour contracts and the gig economy that depended upon the new religion, ‘Market Forces.’. Working was no longer about a living wage but all about what the ‘Market’ would pay and this increasingly meant that even with two wage packages a family at the bottom of the socio-economic range either could not pay their rent or feed their children or heat their houses or pay for their childrens’ school uniforms etc.

The politicians now entwined with Commerce in the magic of Market Forces addressed this development by paying benefits to such families; in other words, subsidising Commerce with Tax-payers money so it could pay lower wages to their employees and higher remuneration to themselves and higher profits for their share-holders.

One would think that such avarice would be the limit in any so-called democratic, developed society. But there are no limits with governments bewitched by Market Forces. And with the so-called reform of the benefit system for those now portrayed as ‘work-shy’ or ‘scroungers’ bringing out the need for food banks for hungry people who worked in this system but could not feed themselves and their children. How these politicians applauded the splendid response of the Charitable organisations who stepped up to the plate to help such people in their time of need.

But what about the wealth gap? And the wealthy that avoided paying taxes by holding their money in off-shore banks; and Multinational Companies that avoided paying fair taxes legally?

Oh now, come, come; that is the politics of envy. And do we want to drive these wealth makers (sic) away? So you CAN fool ALL of the people ALL of the time and the herd remains in denial. Here’s to Inflation, plus a few refinements like scrapping the Welfare State and privatising Public Services.

JULY 19th 2020