Monday, 4 October 2021


Is that where Britain’s going? You’d  think so based on schadenfreude articles in Germany on our “post-Brexit-plight” to e-mails from friends in France entitled “Doom and Gloom” to articles in our own press about the collapse of the economy.

Scotland's papers: Petrol rationing as PM urges 'don't panic' - BBC News

There are issues, to be sure, but to predict as the Times did  that “This could ruin Christmas”  is foolish. Taking a calmer view we can understand why these local difficulties have happened and how we can cope with them.

The shortage of HGV drivers. Better pay and conditions will solve this.

Eddie Stobart to keep on truckin' as investors back rescue | Business News  | Sky News

Blame Eddie Stobart. Rescued from collapse by private equity in 2014 the name that once dominated our motorways is seldom seen now. Instead we see the word “logistics” meaning “the organization and implementation of a complex operation.” When Eddie was king of the road life just seemed more straightforward than that.

Being a lorry diver used to be tough - long hours and poor pay. Now there are allegedly salaries of over £50,000 a year being offered plus a signing-on bonus of thousands more. But if you want a cushier life operating nearer to home Amazon are offering van drivers up to £17 an hour (that’s around £40k a year.) The good news is some school leavers are seriously considering training to become HGV drivers.

The fuel shortage will be a blip - such things always are. In 2000 we had a fuel crisis. At the time Archie Norman was Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. I met him at a cocktail party – those were the days – and was surprised to hear him saying “I fear this country may be becoming ungovernable”. When I suggested this was nonsense he stormed off. But then as in 2005 and 2007 a fuel crisis is an easy thing to start. Just hint a shortage of something important to people and expect a surge in demand.

Lavatory paper, gin, fuel, eggs, bread, chocolate. Those’ll do for starters.

Coronavirus toilet roll panic buying is only the start of omni-channel  retail's biggest supply chain test

The gas price boom. The large number of virtual gas suppliers selling on price was always going to be unsustainable as Russian and Norwegian supplies eased. Any market where price becomes the primary driver is a minefield for small, inexperienced players. Again a blip that will stabilise.

Food shortages. Some of this is to do with a poor summer in the UK leading to poor harvests but not just in the UK. The durum wheat harvest in Italy was a bad one too. But the shelves remain quite full, just a few gaps, not empty.

There are other disturbing  issues like the virtual nationalisation of a major section of the rail network, massive “logistical” fissures appearing in the NHS and the very culture of the Police Force being under scrutiny following the ghastly murder of Sarah Everard by a policeman. We always focus on hellish thoughts when that’s what the media tells us.

Let me lift your spirits a little.

Less driving will do us no harm.

The low-wage culture is rightly changing; maybe the minimum wage should be £15 an hour rather than £10.

After nearly two years of Covid, depression is understandable. Amazingly most of us are OK and beginning to be sociable again. 

Low price, low margin, low quality are on their way out. 

As a high wage, high quality, highly skilled economy we’ll be happier.

It’s always been easy to grumble. Our society will be fine. How fine is up to us.

To hell in a handcart? Nonsense. Just relax.

And Christmas won’t be ruined without pigs in blankets. Ho! Ho!  Ho!

UK faces Christmas without pigs in blankets amid labor shortage – POLITICO


1 comment:

Monkeybrain said...

Your optimism always works for me!