BORIS Johnson’s elaborate plan to re-set his Government’s foreign and domestic policy agenda is already beginning to bear fruit. After carefully considering how much the Ukraine crisis can continue to divert attention from his Government’s criminality at home the UK Prime Minister last week promised a further £1.3 billion in military assistance to President Zelenskyy’s war effort.

The news – just ahead of the strategically important Eurovision Song Contest – paid immediate dividends. Ukrainian judges gave an unprecedented 12 points to the UK’s entry for Eurovision, thus providing a springboard for a magnificent second-place finish, the UK’s highest position for a quarter of a century. The news dealt a mortal blow to the Russian President Vladimir Putin who has not been seen in public since Ukraine’s overall victory in Eurovision was confirmed. Putin is a keen devotee of Eurovision after seeing how it brings countries together by emphasising peace and neighbourly goodness.

And who knows, perhaps we might even adopt a Nato-themed approach to future Eurovision contests. Countries belonging to the European military alliance would ensure that they all hand out points to each other on an equitable basis. Thus, members will take the actions it deems necessary to assist their allies’ songs.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, of course, will have far-reaching consequences for the UK and the rest of Europe. Combined with the effects of Covid and the emerging consequences of a hard Brexit the cost-of-living crisis in the UK is expected to reach critical levels in the next few years. In the common argot of economists and bankers everywhere this will – altogether now – “get worse before it gets better”.

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This is normally the code favoured by people whose personal incomes are future-proofed against any impending economic downturn. What it really means is “don’t say we didn’t warn you”.

This was first espoused by Jacob Rees-Mogg during the Brexit campaign when he was asked about the immediate consequences of Brexit. The then Minister for Brexital Purity replied that the benefits of Brexit might not be evident for many years.

The Governor of the Bank of England has also added his voice to the worse-before-it’s-better chorus. Andrew Bailey said he “felt helpless” over rising rates of inflation and added that, as Ukraine provided much of the world’s wheat, the war was crippling exports and pushing up prices.

Perhaps the Bank of England chief should be taking his cue from the UK Tory minister, Rachel Maclean, who has taken a much more dynamic and admirable approach to the cost-of-living apocalypse. The Home Office minister has told people affected by rising prices that they should “work more hours” or “get a better-paid job”.

Maclean is a former banker who also owns her own publishing company. She combines this with her job as a government minister. Her advice on how to work those extra hours or access those bigger salaries is to visit job centres and simply “apply” for those juicy big jobs which are just waiting to be filled by diligent working-class people. The minister, like most other Tory politicians, has never been processed by a job centre.

And besides, those big jobs which she thinks line the walls of job centres everywhere will become much harder to access. When Boris Johnson starts to cut 91,000 civil service jobs to free up money for Rishi Sunak to help ease our collective economic burden many job centres will face downsizing and closure.

Maclean is obviously destined for promotion in the Johnson cabinet. Being a junior minister is beneath her true potential. Perhaps a job at Housing or Health now beckons. Finding space a bit squeezed in your over-crowded council flat? Why just get yourself a bigger one. Feeling a bit depressed and run-down because everyone else has grabbed those larger-salaried jobs? Well, just smile a bit more and get some fresh air.

Rachel Maclean’s parliamentary colleague, Lee Anderson is also a devotee of the feel-better-quick policy of the UK Conservatives. The MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire insisted last week in the House of Commons that meals could be cooked for as little as 30p a day. He attributed food poverty to poor people’s fecklessness in managing their finances and being unable to cook meals from scratch properly.

One Lancashire chef, Gareth Mason attempted to cook a week’s worth of meals, each costing just 30p. He was able to do it but the portions were so small and so lacking in essential proteins that they would probably reduce your long-term health outcomes.

I feel though, that this chef is missing the point. Surely, if we were all forced to eat such small portions we’d all become leaner and therefore able to run faster and thus fit in more job interviews. Mason said that if you were to eat beans on toast for a week it might work. Surely it follows then that you could have beans one day and toast the next so you could make it go a little further.

In 1967, the Monty Python team wrote their famous Four Yorkshiremen sketch that parodied attempts by self-made rich people to emphasise their humble origins.

“We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, our dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt.

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“Luxury! We used to have to get out of the lake at three o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!”

It’s clear that the Johnson administration has been using the Four Yorkshiremen sketch as its route-map through the cost-of-living crisis. Basically, if we all put our minds to it the country can self-medicate its way out of ill health, starvation and poverty. That means we can free up more money to buy rockets and tanks for the Ukrainian military.

Meanwhile, in other news: Shell and BP made combined profits of £12.37 billion in the first three months of this year. Global tech companies have all approached record levels of profits following the pandemic. According to the Financial Times, Apple “is on the cusp of a $3 trillion market value”, almost triple its 2020 level.

The UK Government though, doesn’t feel that even a modest windfall tax should be imposed on any of them.