Time for a blog.
And to think a couple of weeks ago I was thinking of ditching my website and quietly retiring into the social media accounts of FB and Mastodon (& a little Twitter to keep and eye on what’s happening over there).
Then I started doing some number crunching on my energy bills.
I’m angry! It’s not that I can’t pay (unlike many) it’s that I know I shouldn’t have to pay, that this world is a seriously corrupt and unhealthy place & our politicians are merely tinkering at the edges! We need some radical action to solve this malaise and to save peoples lives! (& no I’m not being overdramatic here).
Aware that costs would climb I made some adjustments as to how I used power. Switching off, heating differently, putting up extra curtains, wearing extra clothes.
This afternoon I’m sitting here watching the football, wearing socks, sweater & Oodie, rug over my knees. I feel like a little old lady and despite my advancing years I’m just not ready for that image of me! I’m quite cosy but it’s not a picture I want to project to be honest!
Thing is, we live in an energy rich country, wind, wave, nuclear and yes coal, oil and gas and yet we are paying through the nose to heat our homes and cook our food.
OK we should have done more in the past to insulate but why would we given our energy riches. We have lost control of this starting with ‘Sid’ who bought up shares in British Gas and then over the years sold them on to the offshore organisations who now hold us to ransom.
Last year the winter quarter cost me about £500. This year it will cost nearly £1500 if I use the same amount of fuel I used then. There is an extra £500 coming to people like me of a certain age but that still means my costs have doubled and I am of course contributing to that £500 through my taxes. Others are less fortunate with regard to government pay outs.
Last month I reduced my electricity usage by 15% and my gas usage by 22% but that was before the winter. Would that I could achieve those figures for the next quarter. Now don’t get me wrong. I will survive. I have an occupational pension in addition to my state pension and I have savings but why should I contribute to the fat cats. (& while my state pension will go up 10.1% in the spring my occupational pension has only gone up by 3% overall this year).
But if I’m looking at this in detail, number crunching and being careful, what about others. Others on low income, or only the state pension? People with no savings? People already using food banks and deciding between heating and eating or not able to do either.
There are daily posts about food banks, community fridges and warm spaces on social media. Many friends are working to stock food and volunteer in warm spaces in villages locally. IT SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY!
Community fridges were set up to use and recycle local food. They were ‘green’ initiatives. Now they are lifesavers! Community spaces were for hobbies, community and to help avoid social isolation. Again they are now lifesavers too! Stand in the village square in the evening and see the steady stream of people heading for the community fridge – it is humbling so see people coming out under cover of darkness clearly wishing you weren’t there to see. Community fridges should be free of stigma but clearly now they are not.
I don’t have the answers. No-one does but something radical is necessary (nationalising energy companies springs to mind). & while the trickle down of funding for local initiatives by central Gov & Councils ‘takes the edge off’ it is not the long term answer.
Most but not all will get through this winter and then the urgency will go as the weather improves and people start to feel warm again but really? Is this the way we should live in a first world country and in the twenty first century?