MP COLUMN: We had no choice but to roll with the blows
Freedom is coming, slowly but surely, I hope. As spring turns to summer, we will start operating as normally as possible.
But too many good businesses will have gone under and unemployment will have gone up. Many of the deep inequalities that marked our society before Covid and made it more toxic will become ever more apparent.
Optimists think we could see a fresh Roaring Twenties. As the world recovered from the horrors of the First World War and the even more catastrophic Spanish Flu pandemic that killed many millions, a pent up frustration caused an explosion of creativity and economic activity in what’s dubbed the Jazz Age.
Many people have saved large amounts of money on much missed holidays, meals out, drinks at the pub, work lunches, clothes, haircuts, beauty treatments, and commuting. It is reckoned we have about £250billion to spend.
Getting such vast sums into circulation would do much to get the economy going. But evidence from the Bank of England fears that maybe only 5% of these will be spent. People might prefer to put their savings into property and other assets and probably push up house prices.
Labour Leader Keir Starmer is pushing for a British Recovery Bond. People can invest some of their savings safely and for a return. The funds would then be used by the National Infrastructure Bank to fund projects across the country. There would be a focus on infrastructure outside the south-east, which is good news for our region.
I see this proposal as just the start of new, innovative, and radical ideas to remake Britain on a more equal basis after the ravages of Covid.
I know we all crave normality but Covid is going to fundamentally change much of how our society works by accelerating trends in retail, high streets, housing, and work.
We had no choice but to roll with the blows, not always that well given the government’s too little, too late policies.
Keir Starmer has made a great start in holding the government to account and putting them on their toes. My party has a long way to go having hit rock bottom at the last election.
Proper political competition with fresh ideas is best for our democracy.