Dan Hannan has written a belter of a column for the Sunday Telegraph pointing out that our current economic misfortunes are directly linked to the lockdown policy and reminding us that he warned about this in May 2020.
I hate to say “I told you so” but… oh, sod it, no I don’t. I bloody told you so. As early as May 2020, I was warning of what lay ahead:
“If you’re a pensioner, your pension will lose its value. If you’re a public sector worker, you’ll find that, as its tax take evaporates, the Government can’t afford to pay you. If you have savings, they will be inflated away.”
At that time, 96% of people supported the restrictions, every broadcaster was droning on about “putting lives before the economy”, and only 26% of people thought the lockdown was making them worse off. “Only when we are unable to afford the things we used to buy will we understand that ‘the economy’ is what we call the transactions people make to improve their lives,” I wrote. “And, even then, we may struggle to link our misfortune to the closures we have spent the past two months demanding.”
Just as people who clamoured for net zero now complain about the price of energy, so people who clamoured for the longest lockdown now complain about the cost of living. Naturally, politicians find it easier to humour them than to point out the connection. And, of course, no minister wants to take away even a notionally one-off benefit.
But unless we act now to restore our finances, we face a sterling crisis and a collapse which would be most painful for the people on whose behalf the opposition are demanding more subventions.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: I, too, can say I told you so. This is the opening paragraph of a piece I wrote for The Critic on March 31st, 2020:
Like a growing number of people, I’m beginning to suspect the Government has overreacted to the coronavirus crisis. I’m not talking about the cost to our liberty, although that’s worrying, but the economic cost. Even if we accept the statistical modelling of Dr Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College, which I’ll come to in a minute, spending £350 billion to prolong the lives of a few hundred thousand mostly elderly people is an irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money. That may sound cold-hearted, but this isn’t a straightforward trade-off between public health and economic health. People are killed by economic downturns just as surely as they are by pandemics and more years of life will be lost than saved if the lockdown is prolonged. The Government should end it as soon as possible and encourage people to return to work, limiting social distancing measures to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.