BORIS has much on his plate. The challenges mount and his time is scarce. From the coronavirus to rebalancing the economy and from acting as the only, and oftentimes relatively porous, line of defence against the sinister intent of an unhinged and powerful “wokosition”, he must remain vigilant, his eyes firmly set on the prize.
Does he need a trip to Specsavers?
Eurostat figures remind us why Brexit was needed. In 2020, Inner London’s GDP per capita was over 620 per cent of EU average. The Tees Valley and Durham, Southern Scotland and West Wales and the Valleys stood 20-30+ per cent below. People in Inner London were by that measure a staggering 900 per cent richer on average than their counterparts North and West.
In fact looked at from a distance, we would notice that over 70 per cent of regions in the British Isles linger below a European average – which includes the economic inputs of Romania and Bulgaria. These two countries are wedged between Cuba and Panama in the ranking of the World’s least wealthy countries according to the World Bank. Yet 70 per cent of our regions are below that average.
Something has to change. The status quo ante is not sustainable.
Our exit from the European Union was and still is a great opportunity for a reboot.
Not least, it should refocus the minds of our political class on domestic policy rather than spend time on frequent and costly distractions such as international governmental conferences, which often end up being little more than shallow ego trips.
Delivering for us, the British people, must be the only concern of our ruling class. That implies making life better for the majority of the country. “Levelling Up” must not just become another empty slogan, it must be acted upon.
It will require tough decisions in the field of business, capital allocation, taxation – and much more.
Further, it must be freed from the Zeitgeist of Identitarian and Millenarian ideologies that pollute the minds of much of our supposed elites.
Empty dogmas that seek to waste our valuable time on trendy topics must be avoided at all costs. When a proposal is made, the majority – that is to say, the poorest – have to benefit. For much of our population any increase in the price of food, footwear, clothes, transport, and housing is a rise in hardship and a simultaneously loss of financial independence. The sensitivity to these concerns must be paramount.
Brexit can be a fresh start. It can also be a cynical move back to a London-centric and internationalist world view, purposefully forgetting the realities of life in Britain for the majority to be better able to wallow in theoretical platitudes and generalities.
Boris has it in his power to decide the way ahead by showing a lead.
As such, the recent publication of the National Food Strategy by Henry Dimbleby, the son of the BBC’s David Dimbleby, could easily portend the belated and potential final victory, if it is implemented by the UK Government, for those who seek to punish the Brexit voter “by any means necessary”.
Indeed, the National Food Strategy – by imposing a tax on salt and sugar – threatens to wipe out any gains which stand within our grasp to reduce the price of food for all and thereby boost people’s spending power. And when ideas like this are applied in one part of the UK you can bet the politicians in the other jurisdictions will quickly see a chance to raise taxes and follow suit.
The results will be predictable. Whilst the rich, forever seeking earthly absolution, will feel that they did something for the little people, food prices will rise. The poor, in turn, will lose out.
Interventionist measures like these, which basically seek to price the working poor out of pleasure, have always comprehensively failed and will continue to do so. Whether it’s calling for outright bans on advertising, excessive health warnings on packets and gratuitous lifestyle taxes, after thirty years the same health regulators appear to be asleep at the wheel.
When it comes to changing people’s behaviours for the sake of public health, it seems these health regulators are still signed up to the ‘anti-tobacco playbook’, despite never questioning whether it’s fit for purpose in 2021.
However, we know how the story goes. It is a noose around the victim’s neck, which only ever gets tighter. And when the unintended consequences materialise, as they always do, they are then used as another excuse for yet more punitive tax hikes and regulatory control.
If the proposed tax on poor people’s foods is pushed through to “save the NHS”, what is to stop another government taxing or banning meat outright to “save the climate”?
Deliberately adding costs to foods would have been deemed an act of political suicide only a few years ago. No matter how well-meaning Mr Dimbleby and his caste might be, it should remain so.