Household Economics

With food and energy prices rocketing, many of us are urgently reviewing our household budgets right now. Do we, like a magazine journalist whose column I’ve just read, splash out a gadget measuring electricity usage then run around turning off appliances at the wall? Are we all going to be sharing stone soup by the winter, cooking by candlelight? (Note to self: avoid tallow rush lights except in extremis. Too whiffy.)

I’m probably the last person who should proffer advice because I am, accordingly to my older sister and brother, notoriously feckless. It’s one of those familial reputations you can’t shake, regardless of the years. I’ve been painfully hard up in the past, the sort of broke that means you have to find the money for a court fine because you can’t afford to tax your car and you need your car to get to work to pay the bills and so on ad nauseum until you want to drive your illegal vehicle into a motorway bridge support.

But I currently have a roof over my head and I’m well fed. I’m not Jack Monroe, happily for all concerned, and nothing I say here will help those who not only lack the income to buy food but to pay the energy bills with which to cook it.

The political will needed to eradicate that sort of poverty is lacking and we’re moving swiftly in the opposite direction, with Rishi Sunak espousing Charter Cities* which will create independent fiefdoms for corporations, and Freeports which grant companies whopping tax exemptions.

It’s all supposed to boost the economy, but to whose benefit? The rich – and the Rishis – get richer and the rest of us presumably revert to serfdom while enduring the deterioration of our schools and healthcare. I feel like a Saxon oppressed by Norman barons and even they managed to come up with the Magna Carta.

This all started as an introduction to a recipe for ham and how a small joint could be made to go a long way but it got hijacked by a comment from a friend on Twitter and turned into a rant. Sorry. I’ll be back with a plate of ham next time. (I was going to say gammon but that’s apparently a perjorative term these days.). Feel free to disagree, comment or unfollow. We do still live in a democracy, after all. Unless you end up working in a Charter City.

* See here for the argument in favour of Charter Cities and a view against.


18 thoughts on “Household Economics

  1. I think this corner of the blogging community is in harmony, politically speaking. And sadly, ranting seem to be all we have left. Democratic process is rapidly being eroded.

  2. Sorry. Please educate me, and please accept my apologies in advance to anyone offended, but what is wrong with ‘gammon’?! And as an aside, who decides terms are offensive, and how is it promulgated to the rest of us, so we don’t inadvertently cause offence?…šŸ¤ÆšŸ¤”šŸ˜Æ sticking with this blog theme, I’m looking forward to the err…..’ham’ šŸ˜‹

    • If you follow the link in the post, Luisa, you’ll see why at least one person thought it was offensive. I was only familiar with the old slang term “you’re gammoning me”, meaning you’re having me on. There is apparently a new interpretation of gammon as a rude epithet. News to me too! Lx

  3. I totally share your outrage. What is worse, I don’t think there is anything at the core of this political shambles other than chaos and personal ambition. This was linked on social media (I cancelled my Speccie subscription some years ago re Brexit, so it should be readable).
    It’s written by a self-described centre-rightist which makes it all the more damning. The Tories are eating themselves.
    Will Labour offer anything better? How could it be worse? But it must stand up to scrutiny from the ghastly press who will do their best to savage anything the party says.

    • That’s a really good article. I detest what the Conservatives are doing but I don’t hold out much hope for Labour. They’re so limp. It’s acurely depressing.

  4. It is all so concerning. Less tax returns mean less money for public services which are already at breaking point. The profits made by the energy companies are just obcene.

  5. I quite like the idea of stone soup or at least the community it seemed to bring about. I might be stepping on toes but anyone qualified as a ” foodie” wouldn’t be offended by the common language. What’s next? Will a legume be offended if it’s referred to as a bean?

    • In her more impoverished days my sister used to refer gloomily to bone soup – not the bone broth so beloved today but an image of poverty extreme enough that you didn’t even have a turnip to lob in the pot. Perhaps that’s a better metaphor. šŸ˜€

  6. This enrages me too. It honestly feels like after the whole pandemic thing we had high hopes of recovering and getting on with our lives. The looming energy crisis just adds a spanner to the works. Housing market will be next, trust me.

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