OK, let’s start with the good news. To be honest, there’s not much of it.
But here it is — hold your breath. Avocados are cheaper at the moment than they have been for a year or so. By at least six pence.
That’s cheering, isn’t it? Especially for Oliver, Tamsin and their little children Wolfgang and Ludo — all of whom just adore avocado and eat it every day
Almost everything else, though, is getting dearer. A lot dearer.
And coupled with the fuel price increases we’re about to see, this is going to be the most expensive year we’ve ever experienced.
Government ministers have admitted as much.
And that’s why it’s absolutely vital that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, drops his ludicrous and damaging plan to tax the bejesus out of us via our National Insurance contributions.
Sunak is expected to bring in the increase in April.
It will leave everyone substantially worse off. Even those on £20,000 a year will pay an extra £89.
In normal times that might just about be OK. But not now. Not with the whole lorry load of trouble steaming towards us.
A whole bunch of foodstuffs are likely to increase in price by 50 per cent.
Most of this is the consequence of Russia’s invasion and the shortage of fuel, plus stuff like the cost of fertiliser.
Wheat is likely to soar in price. Margarine, butter, apples, bread — all the staples we rely on.
They’ve already increased in price and it’s likely they’ll rise a lot higher.
It’s not just food. There have been interruptions to our supplies of nickel and aluminium. Those metals are now costing a lot more.
That’s TVs, batteries, mobile phones — the list is pretty endless.
Add to that a general record high inflation of 5.5 per cent. And then the fuel price increases.
I don’t know about you, but I almost had a little accident in my trousers when I saw the bill for our heating oil last week.
And it’s due to rise even more. For oil it’s somewhere near THREE TIMES what it was a year ago.
And gas isn’t much better.
WE’RE HEADING FOR WIDESPREAD POVERTY
Add all this stuff together — and bear in mind that while wages are rising, they ain’t rising anywhere near as fast as prices — and you can see the problem.
We are heading for widespread poverty.
People simply not able to pay their fuel bills. Not being able to afford their weekly shop
The last thing we need on top of that is the Government taking another great wodge of our own money.
The policy may have been right when it was proposed last year.
But things have changed a bit since then, haven’t they?
Even former officials at the Treasury reckon that there would be no problem delaying the increases.
The mark of a good government — and a good Chancellor — is the ability to be flexible. To react to events. And when needed, to change policy.
So come on, Rishi. Don’t inflict extra punishment on the people who voted you into office simply for reasons of pig-headedness.
This time around, give us all a break.
We can’t just eat avocados.
Voting key to peace
I wonder if Putin and his grim-faced thuggish henchmen really are prepared to negotiate properly with Ukraine.
The Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has been saying that the Russians have suddenly become more “constructive” about peace talks.
I hope he’s right.
And it isn’t just the case that the useless Russian army is bogged down and needs more time to get in supplies of weaponry and reinforcements.
I wouldn’t trust Putin as far as I can spit.
If Putin is serious, then Ukraine – and the West – should agree to his demands for referenda in the two Russian break-away enclaves.
And make sure those votes are carried out fairly and without intimidation.
MOVING very rapidly up my list of Horrible Countries are India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Shamefully, all three have refused to condemn Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
In India’s case, because the Russians bunged them some cheap oil.
With Pakistan it was a lucrative deal on wheat.
Fine – every country has to do the best it can for its citizens.
And maybe morals don’t matter any more.
But let’s ensure those countries know that there are consequences.
No more foreign aid to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
And spend the money saved on arms for Ukraine.
Huw and cry over Beeb’s war on reality
HERO of the week is the Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova.
She’s the lady who interrupted the nightly Russki news.
Waving a placard saying “Stop The War!” and “Don’t believe the propaganda.”
That was a very brave thing to do.
And of course she was immediately arrested.
She knows, as we do, that she stands a good chance of disappearing altogether.
Or ending up glowing like an LED light bulb.
Wouldn’t it be good if some sensible BBC producer ran behind Huw Edwards one night?
With a big placard saying: “Don’t believe this propaganda either.”
Face it, Ange is right
LABOUR’S deputy leader, Angela Rayner, told police that in the fight against terrorism she would “shoot terrorists and ask questions second”.
Although not, presumably, of the terrorists themselves.
Facebook has now banned this quote because it goes against its idiotic community standards.
It seems terribly mean to ban the only sensible thing Angela has ever said.
But that’s Facebook for you – an institution which has forgotten the point of its existence.
I was banned recently for calling a woman “silly” after she suggested the invasion of Ukraine hadn’t happened and that people who took the Covid vaccine were “brainwashed lab rats”.
If they’d banned me for understatement, I would have understood.
No kidding on gender
THE American luvvies and the liberals are going berserk. Yes, yes. I mean even more berserk than usual.
The state of Florida has introduced a law banning under-tens from being taught about gender identity
It’s been reported over here as if this was the end of the world.
It isn’t. In fact, the sooner a similar law is passed in this country, the better.
Let kids have their innocent childhoods.
The horrible and complicated manifestations of the adult world will catch up with them soon enough.
I TURNED off the Baftas after about ten minutes.
The wokefest made me cringe. So I decided to do something more interesting.
Which was watch my dog licking its private parts for an hour.
Aussie bore Rebel Wilson as MC was a catastrophe – boring and about as funny as a dose of thrush.
And the more I hear from that smug little madam Emma Watson, the less I like her.
Uni so feeble
THE dimwits who run Nottingham University have withdrawn an honorary degree they were going to bestow on Tony Sewell.
Tony is a black academic who has spent his life trying to get children from poor backgrounds into our top universities.
He’s been incredibly successful.
The university hates him because he wrote a report for the Government about race relations – and concluded that there was no institutional racism in this country.
But Nottingham has showered those same honorary degrees on loads of functionaries of the Chinese government.
They have no spine and no morality. And it’s not even a very good university.
NOBODY’S taking much notice – but the Covid numbers are rising pretty sharply.
And the new ultra-contagious offshoot of Omicron seems a bit nastier than the one that arrived over Christmas.
We don’t want all those pointless restrictions back.
But as I’ve mentioned before, we MUST get that fourth vaccine booster rolled out to as many people as possible, as soon as possible.
We don’t want to be caught napping again.