Every day is bringing fresh computations of hysteria and nitwittery. People used to cough to cover up a fart; now they’re farting to cover up a cough.
But back to the bug and more pertinently, the government’s fiscal stimulus. It was never going generate a Joker-strength smile for everybody, but then again, the money pit was never going to be bottomless. That’s why loans featured so prominently – there’s going to have to be a payback. The upside, though: short-term plugs for gaps in cash-flow. The downside: the months leading up to the dates when money is due will still be barren.
We’re heading for a double-dip of recession and austerity.
Still, a suspension of business rates and grants for some will be most gratifying. But others will likely plunge through the cracks. Renters for example – who will largely represent the least affluent sectors of society – received no provision from the first wave of measures. They will ostensibly be catered for, but that’ll likely be another loan scheme and therefore another forced debt chase-down for the coming years. Think about what that will do for those already wildly thrashing to stay afloat with a concrete-boot student loan.
I may end up being pleasantly dumbfounded, but the rule of thumb for grant eligibility will likely be investment that pertinently leads to economic stimulus. Government money rarely pings into private pockets. It’s not how the justification for spending public money rolls.
Yet, it’s all completely needless anyway. If they’d had hundreds of billions sloshing about, they could’ve supported some stonkingly whizzo services for the isolation of the vulnerable and allowed the rest of us to get on with it. The fat lady would have been shuffling onstage before the audience’s last gasp from all the pinball-politics of the last few weeks.
As it is, we have a situation where Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clubs are continuing to train, yet the same people are being advised not to go to pubs. Go figure, but it’s what happens when you move off-script from a strategy and incorporate a mix-and-match factoid tombola with inconsistent, quasi-formal guidance.
And this is peak Machiavellian manoeuvering – the Government is about to close several hundred billions of pounds worth of finance deals to a captive customer base at rates tbc.
That’s one hell of a cough.
It’s all about the money, honey.
It’s like the local emergency glazier who goes around chucking bricks through windows on a Saturday night.
And looking further afield, the story from the EU has a reassuring familiarity.
For those who mocked the UK’s supposed descent into emotionally grounded sentimentalism with its drive for Brexit, it will be sobering to reflect of the infinitely more catastrophic self-harm that this virus panic appears to have stimulated in the heart of psycho-federalist Europe.
The pillars of freedom of movement and open borders now at a stroke seem to have incurred severe structural damage. And the hopes to strong-arm European partners into plugging the UK Brexit gap in the European kitty will also surely hit the skids once the moondust of the corona fantasy has settled.
It’s going to be a tough, unity-testing conversation when the poorer EU states come-a-calling for their corona-payouts. They’ll already be totting up the handout bonanza, and why not? They know that the Brussels Politburo will have no compunction about mercilessly rinsing them when the time comes. Those 500-Euro expensed lunches won’t pay for themselves, you know.
You may have missed it, but mid-viral meltdown, instead of supporting Italy, the EU levied a £6.8 million fine on Rome for not having fully recovered the state aid granted to the Sardinian hotel sector in 2008. This aid was deemed illegitimate because – wait for it – it caused distortions of the principle of competition within EU law.
You can see where their priorities lie, and it isn’t with European citizens. Like Ireland, Italy is now learning what the unity of the 27 actually means in practice.
And that’s zippity-zip unless you’ve got money to tip into the trough.
Help for Italy has been largely left to China and a late but hefty German face-mask donation. If they had pondered a Sino-German intervention, the EU would probably have sent Dr No.
It’s the biggest wheeze of them all.unsplash-logoRoman Synkevych