I thought that on £26,000 a year – it would be £10,000 more but my ex-wife takes half my occupational pension – I was not badly off. I can’t afford to run a car, but am not allowed to in any case with my poor eyesight; and have virtually no savings. (A new roof saw to that.) I also pay my way here in Sweden, and have to travel back and forth, which costs a bit. So I’m not a rich man. But I have no mortgage, no obligations to children, who all seem nicely set up; and no other debts – financial ones, at least. And I’ve been getting by for years now in reasonable comfort; which in my eyes makes me richer than most: including the class of filthy rich who always seem to want more.
Then yesterday I read that some government minister or other has warned that even those who earn £45,000 a year are now included in the ‘relatively poor’ category of people who will be hard hit by the current and prospective rise in energy prices; which of course will include me. I had no idea that I was so close to – even under – the poverty line. I imagine that to a Conservative minister, with his ministerial salary, expenses, perks and shares, £45,000 must seem like peanuts. But even allowing for that, it’s clear that ‘comfortable’ people like me are going to find the going hard.
Which won’t affect my own political proclivities. But it hopefully might alert other ‘middling’ people to the gross and criminal deficiencies of this Conservative government, whose lying, incompetence, illegalities, corruption, proto-fascist tendencies, and – yes – partying, have all failed to provoke much of a backlash. For the middle classes, protest generally starts in the pocket.
Hopefully those £45,000 people might also think back further than this present Conservative government, to the days of Thatcher, whose neo-liberal revolution started all this mess off. Which doesn’t look good for Liz Truss, who in the current Tory leadership contest is explicitly positioning herself as the neo-Thatcherite anti-tax and anti-state ‘handout’ candidate. Even ‘middling’ Tories might resile against that, when their energy bills (like mine) start coming in.