This week’s headlines are more than worrying; an energy crisis, the ongoing shortage of lorry drivers and other necessary workers and now the news that we are 100,000 care workers short. Each one of these is massively damaging either to us all or to those most directly affected.
The driver shortage now means our biggest port for imported goods, Felixstowe, is turning ships away as the backlog of containers builds up on the dockside. This threatens supplies and jobs and the things we expect to see on our supermarket shelves. The government seems to have had no planning for this and, even allowing for a Covid effect, reality owes more to the bungling Boris effect.
The shortage of care workers is in many ways worse. We’re told that the shortage of carers is more acute now than before Covid so what is the impact on those amongst us, the elderly, the sick or the vulnerable? I’ll tell you. Already overstretched care workers will be asked to stretch a little further, hard on them and less and worse care for people in need. Our Prime Minister’s solution was to pay them more and I believe they deserve it, but he has no plan to fund those 100,000 missing care workers.
And on energy prices, we’re told families may face “significant” increases, probably hundreds of pounds, next year which falls on top of the National Insurance hike for most people and the £1000 a year cut in Universal Credit for the most needy. Let me be fair, world energy prices are going up but what is special about the UK is that we have let “market forces” take control of energy supply when dodgy businesses thought their role was to play the global energy market to make a quick profit rather than guaranteeing supply to their customers. The government was warned about the dangers of this but chose to smile kindly on their dodgy friends. Our Prime Minister will claim this is nothing to do with him or with Brexit or even with the most incompetent bunch of government ministers in living memory. Bluster is not enough in the tough job of managing our country, it needs someone who has got the brains and the patience to manage the detail of government.
People reading this will have their own views but just ask yourself how many crises does it take for Prime Minister Johnson to admit, even to himself, that he’s way, way out of his depth.
This article was originally published in the Rochdale Observer on 16 October 2021.