With rising discontent over energy crisis, strikes, looming recession and drought, we need real action from political leaders – Scotsman comment

Now is the summer, autumn, winter, spring… of our discontent.

With fresh waves of strike action looming, concern about staggering energy price rises growing, the economy shrinking, and a drought causing water restrictions, it is once again hard to see light at the end of the tunnel.

After emerging from two years in the dark depths of the Covid pandemic, we hardly had time to pause for breath before life took several other turns for the worse.

The energy crisis, supercharged by Putin’s bloodlust, is at the core of many of our woes and it is there that the main solutions can be found.

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But with the UK Government indulging in weeks of navel-gazing as the Conservative party, increasingly ridiculously, takes its time over selecting its new leader, it was left to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to come up with a robust and, some would say, ingenious plan to stop people facing financial ruin from spiralling energy bills, thereby protecting the economy as a whole.

The 2008 financial crash comprehensively destroyed his hubristic claim that he could abolish “boom and bust”. However, Brown also orchestrated an effective response that shored up the economy and prevented an appalling situation from becoming far worse, an achievement for which he received precious little credit.

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Now we need political leaders with similar ‘Brownian’ ambitions, with his attention to detail, hard graft, and reasoned, measured decision-making if we are to get through this crisis as a nation and emerge in decent shape.

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The UK's leaders would do well to consider Gordon Brown's plan to deal with the energy crisis (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Populist soundbites and rhetoric, nationalistic sniping at Brussels or Westminster, and picking fights in the ‘culture war’ won’t cut it. These are pointless distractions from the monumental task in hand.

As has been pointed out, people will die if energy prices four or five times higher than a year ago force millions to choose between heating and eating.

So government must step in, there is no one else. And their next job is to tackle inflation and get the economy back on track, with increased tax revenues from growth enabling health and other public sector workers to receive the pay they need and deserve.

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Meanwhile, in these difficult times, we all need to share the pain. And while we do, whatever our differences, our discontent, we must remain reasonable, understanding and, quite simply, kind to each other.

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