Year of three Prime Ministers has been grim as Tory incompetence, sleaze and scandal made cost of living crisis worse – Ian Murray
Families have had to cope with energy price rises and inflation no-one thought possible, along with government turmoil like never experienced before. Can you believe that it was just last Christmas when rumours were circulating that a video existed of Boris Johnson’s aide in a mock press conference taking questions from journalists about a Covid “party” at Downing Street?
Since then, we’ve had unprecedented chaos at Westminster culminating in the Conservative government crashing the economy, giving up on any pretence that they care, and asking hard-working people to pay their debts.
I don’t think there is a better festive way to put it than Labour MP Angela Eagle’s description at Prime Minister’s Questions last week: we’ve had five Education Secretaries, four Chancellors, three Prime Ministers, two attempted leadership coups and the partridge has had to sell the pear tree to pay the gas bill.
All this tells us that democracy matters in the UK, despite us perhaps taking it for granted. We see that with the dreadful war in Ukraine. President Zelensky’s determination proves just how invaluable democracy is and how hard we must fight to ensure our neighbours across the globe have that same right.
So, seeing multiple Tory governments treat parliament and the British people with such contempt has been hard watch to watch. And it’s made more difficult by the hardship people have been thrust into because of decisions made by those in power.
Countless displays of sleaze, scandal and colossal incompetence have been hard to miss. But as the Conservative government has indulged in navel-gazing and bids to save its skin, real families have continued to struggle through one of the worst cost-of-living crises in recent times.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, in from stage (far) right came Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng. Although their leadership now feels like a fever dream, the economic crisis they managed to plunge the country into within just 44 days will be felt by ordinary working people for years.
The consequences are first-time buyers’ dreams of home ownership trashed because of the Tory premium on mortgages. Mums and dads across the country going without to make sure their children can go to sleep warm and fed. It’s heart-breaking.
And now we have strikes as far as the eye can see as workers rightly stand up for their livelihoods, terms and conditions. All while the government walks past on the other side. A real dereliction of duty.
It's not so much a traditional “winter of discontent” but a winter of malcontents from both of Scotland’s governments. Sadly, I can make one sure-fire prediction for 2023 – the SNP will still be banging on about nothing else but independence.
Maybe, things can only get better in 2023. Apologies for ending the year on such a gloomy note, but I know this Christmas will be tough for so many. I truly hope that all readers can have some precious time with their loved ones.
The year ahead may be difficult, but – as the Christmas story reminds us – it is love, care and hope that will help us face the challenges together. Merry Christmas.
Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South