HOW can this Tory government continue to get away with so many own goals and suffer no consequences? Where to start? Well, Brexit and taking back control seems to have generated little beyond lorry queues en route to Channel ports and the dire situation in Northern Ireland.

That was never an “unintended consequence”. It was more a case of ignore it, it’ll go away, or eventually we’ll blame someone else.

OK, maybe I forgot the fruit rotting with no EU workers to harvest it. Or EU workers who’ve left the UK and not returned, contributing to shortages of trained, experienced labour.

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Now we’ve got a potential trade war with the EU, not balanced out by a few so-called trade deals offering no more, possibly less, with some of the same partners we had as members of the EU, The Munich-based IFO Institute for Economic Research in October 2021 wrote that “the trade in the eurozone exceeded pre-Covid December 2019 levels by 4%, whereas the UK stagnated at a much lower level.” Well, when you ditch your nearest neighbour, what else do you expect? If nothing else, the Covid years have shown the benefit of shorter supply chains: less fuel consumption, faster receipt and delivery of essential goods, benefits all round.

And now surely one of the biggest own goals has to be the way the government has failed to tackle the major UK rail strike.

I mean telling them, and by implications public-sector workers, to show pay restraint in June when just in last October Prime Minister Boris Johnson hoped he’d scored brownie points by taking to task private firms for using “immigration practices” as a way of keeping wages down.

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He was, by reverse logic, calling for better wages linked to his mantra of a high-growth economy, no doubt coming to a family near you as part of the benefits of Brexit. But wait, it’s not the strikers, the public transport workers, who’ll get the benefits. It’s city bosses, and non-executive directors, who will benefit from the removal of the current restrictions on their take-home salaries and other reward methods, like being offered company shares.

And that’s how capitalism works. Workers work, make profits for companies and bosses who get financial benefits, whilst the workers have to show wage restraint. What a wheeze! But in this process, who’s standing still and worse, slipping back into food banks, being buffeted by the spiralling increases in everyday commodities, energy and fuel price hikes?

And if that’s the case, who’s levelling up?

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Partygate showed us clearly that the PM and his entourage in Downing Street saw the Covid rules and restrictions as being for the likes of you and me, little people, whilst not applying to them. So bonuses, and the removal of restrictions resulting in wealth growth, that’s levelling up. For others, definitely not. The likes of the little people again, currently the workers in the public sector.

You have to wonder then will this newest own goal matter?

No matter if it’s a 2-0 defeat or a 1-1 draw at the coming by-elections, what will it change for the Tory party? Sadly, the more telling question might be, who still votes Tory?

Selma Rahman

THANK you to all our rail workers sacrificing a day’s pay to support safety on our railways. The Tories, abetted by their millionaire accomplices, will try to undermine your resolve. They absolutely shafted pensioners – don’t let them do it to you.

Ian Richmond