Friday 22 October 2021

When Do The Bread Riots Start?

A more than usually speculative post ...

Last week, the price of petrol went up noticeably (~3%), but for me even more significant were increases in the prices of milk at Tesco (5.5%), and - highly symbolic - the brown bread we favour (12.5%). 

Historically, British bread riots were when the price of a loaf went up from, like, 4d to 5d.  So we're halfway to that kind of increase.  In France, received wisdom is that Les Gilets Jaunes kicked off as fuel-price rioters.  There's nothing I can see that will do anything to reverse the current inflationary trend - in fact, quite the opposite.

When does modern British man/woman hit the streets over the cost-of-living?  And - will it be before or after the 'personal' costs of Net Zero Carbon hit home in a really visible way?

I put it that way because this week saw the launch of the fat government document purporting to be its Net Zero Strategy (alongside a distinctly, nay frostily skeptical Treasury document on the same theme).  Ordinarily, as part of our service to readers I undertake to review these things systematically; but this time there's no point.  The main strategy doc is so full of numerical nonsense and indeed internally contradictory numbers, it's an outright embarrassment - are there any Civil Servants left with an ounce of pride? - and can only be taken as something for Boris to wave at COP26.  (He'd have done better to stay with the highly complimentary assessment of the UK in a review from "Climate Transparency"  [one of those proliferating green NGOs] which has us as by far the best performer of the G20 nations - out on our own in a category of one.)  However, one thing is really clear: big costs are on their way.

In one very obvious scenario, COP26 could be a PR disaster.  It took a lot of effort to prevent the same outcome at Paris '21, when host-nation France was putting in 120% diplomatic effort and had a lot of other big nations onside anyway.  Doesn't look particularly auspicious for Boris right now, although Kerry, the EC (if not all euro-nations) and the UN apparatus will be more than a little helpful to his cause.  Crazy promises of cash might be forthcoming to work the trick.  On the other hand, stay-away Xi might put in a dramatic appearance and engineer himself into the position of being 100% pivotal: "either acknowledge me as the saviour of the world, or I pull the plug".  Who could be surprised if COP26 ends in fiasco, with the 'developing' nations stomping out due to their pockets not being adequately lined with gold; then Xi summons the developing world leaders to Beijing for an early Xmas present?

Anyhow, unless Boris engineers a half-triumph for himself, I reckon he's gone before Easter.  Then Rishi can announce the resumption of fracking, etc etc ...  Oh, and deal with those bread riots.  What a good job there's currently no Leader of the Opposition.

Have a great weekend!



andrew said...

I would like to think that the uk will collectively decide to spend more money on food and energy and less on houses.

So no revolution.

That does not mean johnson wont be pm in 2025. When *milliband* seems to be cutting through more than the rest of the lab party you need to start worrying about democracy.

The current cons remind me of the dying major govt except more sleazy and more incompetant.

I know : piss the french off to the extent they put up rigorous border controls and switch off their interconnects. Then everything will be their fault.

E-K said...

The worst Prime Minister we have ever had.

Tory voters are too easily lead to see it.

jim said...

Thumbed through the last 5 years household spending and roughly speaking rates+gas/leccy+food has gone up about 40% already. A lot more to come I reckon. I can remember my granny lived pretty well until inflation got going in the late 60's. Then not so good, bread and scrape time until the grim reaper came along. Snag is I planned on lasting a bit longer than granny and going skiing. That wheel is going full circle I think.

I suppose no surprise MPs are widely despised. Most of us are not into knives but I can remember those old innovations 'public meetings'. First it was 'can I see the questions'. Now all you get is some anodyne email trotting out 'not my problem p%^s off'. They seem so expensive and so useless. We should simply vote opposite just for spite.

As for pitchforks and placards, Priti has all our emails piped into her office, a modern day Wat Tyler would be in chokey pdq. Revolutions required much ferment in the taverns etc, Costas and 'spoons is not quite the same. Rest easy Priti.

Chatted with a chap who reckoned because computers had got so much better then cars and planes would also get so much better - problem solved. I don't think so but the worry is that many slept through the physics classes. They do say that if you go to a very expensive school you can avoid maths & science altogether. So cars and planes will soon be running merrily on a torch battery....

Boris gone by Easter? I don't think so. This s&*t storm has a long way to go and the sensible plan is to let Boris take it all until something bad happens then bury him. Starmer is wise biding his time and might make a credible stand in. But the one to watch is Ms Rayner. If things get bad she might just take the reins and start squeezing till the pips squeak.

Nick Drew said...

Rayner, as we've noted before, certainly has eyes fixed on the prize, Jim. But she really is polite-middle-class poison - which most definitely includes lower middle class. For every one actual voter who laughs when she calls all tories scum while clearly rat-arsed, there are three who make a careful note.

DJK said...

So where were the riots when we had 15% inflation in the 70s and early 80s? Pain is on the way, but I tend to side with the argument that this is due to newly unleashed demand, and hence it really will be transitory.

As to Boris being gone by Easter, I hardly think so. And I don't buy the adulation of Sunak (much of which seems to come from Sunak himself). Do you really think that somebody who worked at the Great Vampire Squid can really inspire the great mass of British people?

lilith said...

Cop26 What could go wrong?

Jan said...

I don'tknow about the rest of you but I see my potential council tax bills as much more of a problem than food. It's already one fifth of my pension and that's with a single person discount. At least with food/fuel you can adjust what you spend a bit but there's no getting around council tax. I wouldn't mind so much but most of it goes on pensions for retired council employees rather than services.

Maybe there will be a repeat of the poll tax riots at some point.

As for Boris, he'll wriggle his way out of any piffling (as he would see them) difficulties he may ecounter and will be with us for a while yet I don't doubt.

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E-K said...

I can accept high bread and food prices. I can see the mechanisms which have caused it.

What I can't countenance is how unnecessarily vulnerable we have been made regards energy after 11 years of Tory rule and much worse since they got an 80 seat majority to NOT do what they are doing.

And the surrender wokeness is simply inexcusable.

The Red Wall was a rejection of Political Correctness - a plea to "RESCUE US !"

Nick Drew said...

Outstanding link, Lil !

E-K said...

Not as outstanding as the recent Baldwin film.

Gunfight at the OH NO! Corral.

Elby the Beserk said...

Very good interview linked to in this article, with economist Ewan Stewart, who says lockdown was a catastrophe and that the government's handling of the economy since Covid an utter disaster.

Direct link to interview here

Charlie said...

I don't understand this desire for the UK to "have a good COP26".

Net Zero is still a very niche desire. I think most people are onboard with recycling more, not chucking loads of crap into the sea etc. But net zero will require lifestyle changes that will take us back to the 70s in terms of foreign travel, private car usage and worrying about turning the heating on. Folk won't have it.

Don Cox said...

The 70s were OK. Britain was much more free then.

Don Cox

Scrobs. said...

All I want to see is a three-mile queue to get into the place, with Obama right at the back...

Brilliant Lawrence piece, Lils.

(Sadly it's JRT-RIP now, last Thursday, our 49th Wanniv on the Scroblog now)

E-K said...

Who'da thunk that the glaciers only receded from Britain 12,000 years ago with not a chimney in sight ?

A great find by Elbers (above.)

The economic damage of lockdown is not a fraction of the damage done by signalling to China the West's total weakness and vulnerability.

They got by because:

A) The disease wasn't designed to attack Chinese people

B) they live in a dictatorship.

Part of living in the Free World is that, every once in a while, we must be prepared to put our lives on the line (as I honestly thought I was doing when I worked at the beginning of lockdown, particularly as being taxied in minicabs is a significant part of my job.)

visc said...

E-K - given the gain of function research was funded by Fauci and the NIH and placed in another country due to illegality in the US, I don't see it being designed to attack a particular group - apart from those who lap up the govt. narrative.

As for riots, our friendly corporate-fascist government of dim wits and shysters think they 'll just nudge people along to get to net zero and starve them too. Two articles on the same (now deleted) got report.

Don Cox - indeed Britain was freer then- we weren't ruled by the corporate uni-party that infest the Palace of Westminster currently.

Elby the Beserk said...

Somewhat off topic, but has anyone seen the climate disaster? Apparently, according to some rag called "The Guardian" (don't buy or read papers any more bar sports and following the odd link)...

"The climate disaster is here. Earth is already becoming unlivable. Will governments act to stop this disaster from getting worse?"

Had a good look around our neck of the woods. Same old same old.

Don Cox said...

"The disease wasn't designed to attack Chinese people"

I think there is a real possibility of some inherited immunity or resistance to such viruses among the Chinese population, because epidemics of related viruses have been spreading from animals in China for thousands of years.

Some research to see if the Chinese diaspora have suffered less than other groups would be interesting.

I do not think Covid-19 was "designed" in a lab anywhere. Viruses are constantly evolving new varieties.


E-K said...

Absence of obesity and absence of old and unwell people in China. Simple as that.

My "designed" was being provocative and China has not helped investigators prove otherwise, but we have far worse conspiracies being forced on us here in order to wreck our civilisation - like we are stopping black people getting jobs or women working in sewers.

The funny thing is that feminism has gone full circle and men are somehow back in charge. (Trans)

lilith said...

I love Mr Chappelle

Here he is doing actual critical race theory

Anonymous said...

Don Cox - It's odd though that despite looking very hard for 18 months (they ARE looking, aren't they?) no one has found the animal vector for Covid.

Occam's Razor says it was either a product of the Wuhan Institute where, funded by the Septics, they were researching gain of function in bat coronaviruses (i.e. making them more virulent and/or infectious) - or, less likely IMHO, someone wanted to make the Chinese look bad. I tend to the former because their ultra-fierce lockdown implies they knew what was about to hit them.

It wouldn't be the first lab escape. 1977 flu was genetically almost identical to a strain circulating in the 1950s, the theory being it had been isolated in a lab and escaped.