The worry of the Australia deal, swinging politics and the ever-more-terrifying cost of living – Mike Chapman speaks for Liberal Democrats across the Blackmore Vale
What is happening to our democracy? The Australian trade deal has been formalised without any democratic scrutiny of any kind – not a single parliamentary vote. It’s even worse when you realise it is likely to form a template for other such deals. Britons may gain as consumers and a few exporters and services companies may benefit, but most of us are likely to be exposed to an increase in cost-driven, lower-standard competition as a result, especially in the agricultural world. The level playing field of the EU’s Single Market has gone.
That the Brexit wonderland was voted in by a majority of about 2.7% of the electorate is bad enough. But now we are about to witness a lurch to the right due to just 0.3% of the electorate; the 150,000 or so Conservative Party membership. This may lead to a lurch to the left in a subsequent general election, if the polls are anywhere near correct. Push-me-pull-you politics as always. We ought to know better by now. We ought to drive for a better consensus and be led by people with real skill and understanding rather than dogmatic, career-driven professional politicians.
15 per cent mortgages?
Still, not to worry. We are told that somewhere out there a magic tree is bending under the weight of luscious moneyfruit – ready for picking as early as September.
It will then be fertilised with loads more tax-free magic money, which apparently won’t even attract higher interest rates.
What a difference a few years make. My first mortgage was up around the 15 per cent interest mark. There was just no money for anything else much. Apparently, though, economic fundamentals don’t apply these days if you wish hard enough. Mind you, we may all need a bank loan soon just to pay the energy bills.
And there’s the rub: if all it takes to re-budget your household is an adjustment here or there, then fine, you carry on.
The cry from the streets, from the working majority and from the vulnerable, however, is that with everything else going up sharply, nothing coming down and the fuel bills doubling, maybe tripling come January, ends cannot – cannot – be met, inevitably leading to disequilibrium, debt and a great deal of unhappiness, here in rural Dorset as much as anywhere.
We are going to be at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show on the 17th – we want to listen to local hopes, fears, gripes and groans but also to visions and ideas. We want to find that common ground and a forward view that everyone can get behind.
See you there!