Cost of living crisis: Tories are offering about as much help as Smaug the dragon would – Susan Morrison

Rachel Maclean is the Safeguarding Minister. Nope, no idea what she’s safeguarding.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 4:55 am
Smaug the dragon was enraged by attempts to steal his treasure (Picture: New Line/Mgm/Wingnut/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Smaug the dragon was enraged by attempts to steal his treasure (Picture: New Line/Mgm/Wingnut/Kobal/Shutterstock)

It’s a word I always associate with Smaug the Dragon, curled protectively upon his golden horde, primed to incinerate any desperate soul foolishly trying to steal a penny of his fortune.

Makes Smaug an ideal Tory, I suppose, since they, too, get very twitchy around poor folk and what they think is their money.

Ms Maclean is a junior minister. She was being interviewed about the cost-of-living crisis, the Big Beasts of the Cabinet having gone missing lately. Never a good sign.

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They’re sending out the expendable ones now. Rachel had the air of one of those blokes in war movies condemned to hold the line whilst the officer class scarpers.

Kay Burley asked Rachel how people facing soaring food prices and reading fuel bills more terrifying than anything written by Stephen King should cope.

Rachel suggested people work harder. Or get a better paying job.

Excellent idea. For starters, we could all become MPs. £88K each they cost us. And they get expenses. The great thing about becoming an MP is that you don’t need any qualifications, or, from what I’ve seen of Mr Johnson, principles. Anyone can have a go. In fact, we could job-share it between three of us and still come out with about 29 grand each.

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Let's all become train drivers. How hard can that be? ScotRail says it doesn't have enough. Great. Hand over the keys, mate, and let's get the last train to Glasgow Central moving.

We could all lend a hand with those pesky ferries, like the barn-raising scene in Witness or building a Lancaster bomber in WW2. The budget’s already busted the £200 million mark, so the odd million or two won’t even be noticed. Bags I first shot hand-brake turning one round the Ailsa Craig on the sea trials.

Obviously it's difficult to fit in a new job as a train-driving MP when you’re already doing three cleaning shifts a day. Not a problem. Just re-define those jobs, make yourself sound massively important and demand more money. Rich people do it all the time.

Person who orders stationary for a ‘lifestyle management ‘company? Nonsense. These folk are Associate Directors of Non-Digital Asset Acquisition, demanding a salary north of £50k.

Be no more the lowly cleaner! You are now the On-Site Director of Hygiene and Disinfection. Take the rubbish out to the bin and you can sling in Sustainability and Recycling Executive Practitioner. Got to be worth at least 40 grand right there.

Rachel, of course, was doing the ultimate victim-blaming. This is a global crisis, she peeved. You’re on your own. There’s nothing we can do.

Actually, there is. During the pandemic the word ‘furlough’ suddenly became very fashionable and Mr Sunak discovered he could splash the cash like a drunken sailor on shore leave so that workers could get paid. He’s another Tory who’s vanished lately, come to think of it.

We did it for an even more select bunch in 2008. When Fred the Shred and his boys played the banking system like dodgy trackside bookies we bailed that lot out to the tune of £124 billion.

So don’t you give us that helpless bleating. You’re supposed to be in charge. Get on with it.