Are we heading towards another winter of discontent? The last major occurrence was in 1978-79 when Callaghan's Labour government failed to control widespread strikes against pay controls. The behaviour of far-left unions did not help. The situation has some parallels. This government is letting us all down.
It is letting us down because it is incompetent. Let's just consider a couple of examples. After Brexit and Covid it has failed to sort out the need for HGV drivers either by visas for foreigners or testing and training new ones. The fuel shortage is just a manifestation of a wider problem. One only needs to look at a supermarket shelves. Meanwhile shortage of abattoir workers means we will have to slaughter hundreds of thousands of pigs and other farm animals. It is not just bad news for farmers but cruel. Another problem that was foreseen but nothing was done.
The inevitable gas price increase has been due to market forces but has been made worse by a failed regulatory system that allowed companies to trade without a sustainable business model. There has also been no strategic stockpile to reduce the shock unlike Germany or even Italy. Yet again the government has reacted to events and not managed them.
You can argue that ideology has a part to play in this, today the Prime Minister was arguing we either have massive immigration or a non-functioning economy or society. The reality is lack investment in the NHS and social care has meant that we had to import these workers from elsewhere. As a country we produce few doctors and nurses, let alone care workers.
However, there are areas where even ideology cannot cover up incompetence. The performance of the Metropolitan Police and Cressida Dick has been shameful. Despite overseeing a number of disasters, failing to prepare for the fallout from the Sarah Everard murder takes the biscuit. She had only had six months. Advice to the public that if challenged by a lone male officer to flag down a bus or run to the nearest house illustrate the lack of imagination lei alone understanding of our senior police officer. She does a disservice to those officers who have kept the faith and not let the public down. She drives a horse and cart through the consensual style of policing so beloved by us by destroying trust even further. Yet Dick is a useful lightning rod for the discontent many of us have for the police cuts and incompetence emanating from the Home Office.
Do you think things can get worse? Yes, we are heading into a winter of discontent.
Cllr Luigi Gregori
Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson
North West Hampshire