PETER HITCHENS: I warned there would be a price to pay for Covid. Now do you believe me?

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The coming years of heavy taxes, along with the inflation and rising mortgage rates we face, are not caused by an unstoppable force of nature. Soaring energy prices either.

All of these things are the direct result of government actions. They didn’t need to happen. I warned them all. And yet, no political party, not even a minority group in Parliament, took any direct or direct interest in such warnings. The whole House of Commons thinks in unison.

On every issue where she could have been right, even divided, she was unanimously wrong.

Maybe those of you who have repeatedly ignored my advice that the Conservative Party is not your friend and our governments are not competent will finally start listening. And maybe those waving and flying the flag of Ukraine might also start wondering if they got screwed (they got screwed).

In the spring of 2020, I tried almost alone to warn that the government was making a big mistake about Covid, overreacting like a man burning down his house to get rid of a wasp nest.

I wrote here in May of that year: “Think of Chancellor Rishi Sunak as a smiling payday loan salesman, and you’ll begin to understand. But it won’t be Mr. Sunak’s cheerful face that you’ll see at the time of refund, but the tough and relentless officers of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

In the spring of 2020, I tried almost alone to warn that the government was making a big mistake about Covid. Pictured are people on the London Underground in 2020 wearing masks

I remarked, “No one has ever seen so much splurge of money that didn’t exist before in peacetime. Some fools today think you can do it without consequences… It’s not fairy gold we’re now spending on Mr. Sunak’s emergency leave and loans. This is our future for many years to come.

“We cannot know the exact details of what lies ahead, although I do not rule out a sudden rush on savings as well as severe local and national direct and indirect taxation and currency inflation. “

By the way, your savings do not need to be plundered. They are gobbled up by inflation while you sleep.

Even longer ago, on this page, on April 5, 2008, I wrote: “I sometimes wonder if our leaders really want to drive Russia into furious and brooding isolation. Russians are proud and patriotic. They are as hurt by the loss of status and empire as we were in the 1950s.

“Why rub one’s nose at it, week after week, keeping NATO alive years after it should have been disbanded and threatening to extend it to Ukraine and Georgia? It was by doing things like that that we created Vladimir Putin.

And I predicted, “The next European war will be fought with gas, oil and pipelines, and it’s pretty clear that Russia controls more of those things than we do.

Even longer ago, on this page, on April 5, 2008, I wrote:

Even longer ago, on this page, on April 5, 2008, I wrote: “Why rub the Russians’ noses there, week after week, keeping NATO alive years after it should have been disbanded? and threatening to extend it to Ukraine and Georgia? It was by doing things like this that we created Vladimir Putin (pictured yesterday).’

I might add the many times I have warned here about the surrender of the so-called “conservative” government to Extinction Rebellion fanatics, and the mad and irrevocable destruction by explosives of our coal-fired power plants. We didn’t even have the modesty and prudence to mothball them in case it was a mistake. If we had kept them, they would now be very useful to us. Who would dare to criticize us for this, when China and India are building new ones every few weeks?

Look, I was right on these big issues of national politics, and the entire political and media establishment was wrong, because we’ve handed over the running of the country to ignorant teenagers who don’t know the history and don’t do not have the character to question or doubt.

Do you think you might pay me more attention in the future?

Living proof that Britain was once a dignified place

I had a hard time going to the movies again, something I loved before but rarely do now. I think the main reason is that there have been so few films that I have actively wanted to see, or even try to see. But last week I saw Living, a small but powerful little movie starring that lovely actor Bill Nighy.

And I don’t think it would have looked half as good from the couch. Set in the very early 1950s and based on a classic Japanese film, it is very quiet and understated, depicting a world where we Brits were much more like the Japanese in our formality and elaborate mannerisms.

The price of admission is justified by the opening credits alone – an archival color film of London nearly 70 years ago, red buses among tall dark buildings, a totally British city which I come from remember, now as lost as Atlantis.

And what follows is a rather poignant warning to all of us about how very small acts of laziness or simple negligence can cause enormous damage, and how equally small acts of kindness can transform the world. See it.

Last week I saw Living, a modest but powerful little movie starring that adorable actor Bill Nighy (pictured)

Last week I saw Living, a modest but powerful little movie starring that adorable actor Bill Nighy (pictured)

Our ridiculous delusions of grandeur

Look, you can’t be bankrupt and a great nation at the same time. Now that we’re in this mess, don’t let a good crisis go to waste. Admit we messed things up and fix it while we still can.

Surely it is obvious now that our fantasy that we are still a great and powerful country, whose NHS is the envy of the world, is a ludicrous self-delusion.

Yet if we recognize the truth, we could be a much happier place. Think smaller. Do better.

Now that we’re broke, we should cancel the senseless and futile HS2 railroad, and instead rebuild the rail network we destroyed in the 1960s, with trains that don’t go particularly fast, but arrive at the less on time. We could also solve most of our urban transport problems by putting the trams back in place.

We don’t need to replace Trident, a Cold War superpower. We are not a superpower. Israel, which faces a real existential threat from its enemies, does not waste its money on such things – but still maintains a small, effective nuclear force, as we could.

Now that we're broke, we should cancel the senseless and futile HS2 railroad and instead rebuild the rail network we destroyed in the 1960s. Pictured: Artists impression of an HS2 train

Now that we’re broke, we should cancel the senseless and futile HS2 railroad and instead rebuild the rail network we destroyed in the 1960s. Pictured: Artists impression of an HS2 train

As for the rowdy NHS, envied by no one except perhaps parts of the Third World, when will there be a better chance to admit it has failed?

There are many alternative ways to care for the sick. It is ridiculous to pretend that the only choice is to adopt the equally bad American system.

I would copy the French, whose healthcare provision is ranked as the best in the world by the WHO, and where (for example) they have long since abolished open wards and given everyone in the hospital a private room.

I write on pages 34 and 35 today about the tragic mess we have made of our schools and universities.

Again, like in so many other areas of business, if we recognize that we’re not the best in the world, we might end up with something decent. But carry on with the fantasy, and we’ll go down the drain.

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