Cost of living crisis: Boris Johnson is like Nero fiddling while Rome burns – Christine Grahame MSP

Summer, at least a Scottish summer, has arrived, with lots of showers and very moderate temperatures. I’ll settle for that.

Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister's birthday during the Covid lockdown (Picture: handout/UK Government via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister's birthday during the Covid lockdown (Picture: handout/UK Government via Getty Images)

I found twigs on the bonnet of my car so I think the pigeons are back to nest right above it, hence the discarded building material, and I look forward to the inevitable large droppings to follow.

The tree wasn’t pruned this year, so they have a better canopy and hence a more luxurious residence. The mice, which in winter scratch inside the old cottage walls, have migrated for the summer back to beneath the shed and into the walls of the small dyke. Must be two separate tribes I guess.

Mr Smokey (rescue cat) keeps the situation under control utilising his age-old feline skills. Take a close look at your cat and you’ll see the King of the Jungle, which is good news for my pest control.

The bad news is the looming energy and food bills. Rishi Sunak, no doubt to take our minds off Partygate, has introduced some financial help for the winter but it's finger in the dyke stuff.

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I recall inflation in the 70s rising well into the upper 20s, then the “Winter of Discontent” as strikes became an epidemic. You can’t beat inflation by exorbitant pay demands, though I understand why they are being made. It fuels inflation and the weakest are left even further behind.

Pensioners and those on benefits and low incomes suffer even more. We need instead investment to create jobs and work our way out of this crisis. There are plenty of tasks needing attention, public housing for starters: affordable rented homes and homes with inbuilt, energy-saving insulation. That’s where I started, in an Edinburgh council house, and, when I married, a council house in Galloway.

Then we have the existing housing stock to insulate and upgrade. But I have a sense the announcement by Sunak is what is called in the trade “throwing a dead cat on the table”.

In other words, a distraction from the other big issue of the day and that is the utter arrogance of Boris Johnson telling us to “move on” from Partygate where, while we all were stuck in our homes, at No 10 they quaffed booze, got blootered, vomited, and insulted decent security and cleaning staff trying to do their jobs.

Party what party? It was an office “event” and at those “events” all the rules were followed. I know this because he told not just you and me but Westminster Parliament. It’s called lying.

Boris should rewrite the Oxford dictionary the way he is going. The only way he can be made to walk the political plank is if he’s pushed. Even if enough Tory MPs call for his resignation it takes half of them to bring him down.

With some 120 of them on his payroll, as ministers, personal private secretaries and so on, that’s a tough call. Shameless of him and spineless of his colleagues. In the meantime, this Nero fiddles Rome burns, which brings me back to the winter ahead.

Finally, I have visible confirmation that Mr & Mrs Pigeon have set up home as they are flying dangerously close to the Velux as I type.

Christine Grahame is SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale