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.