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  • Writer's pictureJim Manclark

The Hunger Games, coming to a town near you.

As unlikely as this sounds, the reality of it is actually starting to bite quite severely and has been creeping up on us for decades. After the banking crash of 2007/08 we were told there would be a period of up to Five years of austerity while the government got things sorted out and back on track. The problem with that was that things weren’t on track even before the banking crash. We had high unemployment, low wages and the sale of every nationalised industry in the UK so that profiteers could squeeze every penny out of these businesses as they could.

Now Fifteen years later and things have gone from off track to worse to disastrous. In 2014 the people of Scotland were conned and lied to by both the UK government and even politicians from Scotland when we were told we would all be starving with no money, no currency, no trading partners no resources and out of the EU and that we need the broad shoulders of the UK to keep us going and to run our country for us because we wouldn’t be capable of doing so if we voted for Independence.

Two years later we were then forced out of Europe against our will. Even when the people of Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a huge 62%, it made no difference. The simple fact of population size came into effect, Scotland and Northern Ireland (who also voted to remain) were outvoted by the sheer number of leave voters in England and to an extent Wales.

We are still going through a now very elongated period of austerity. Taxes are still rising as wages remain almost stagnant while the UK government find more and more ways to introduce additional taxation. The EU were blamed for introducing VAT and this was, we were told, to be removed once we left the EU. Not only has it not been removed but it has been increased and added to new sectors of the economy.

As people are now forced to take on multiple jobs just to try and keep up with household bills, forced into zero hours contracts and in many cases paid less than the minimum wage, which itself is a joke. People are struggling more now than they have every done.

On top of this, we have already been struggling to deal with the effects of higher trading costs since leaving the EU and this has put a great deal of strain on both Scotland’s economy and its people with the costs of everyday essentials continually rising faster than they may normally have.

Secondly, we are now facing massive fuel bills to both heat our homes, cook hot meals and to also use motor vehicles to get to work. Not forgetting the need to shower, wash clothes and lighting. Some blame this on the covid pandemic but the countries that produce oil and gas have not stopped extracting it or supplying it. We now find ourselves living in a Scotland surrounded by oil and gas fields, producing almost all the electricity we could need but where household gas and electricity prices are set to reach more than £3,000 per year by November. All this is happening while oil and gas companies are recording record profits.

Now with the situation with Russia and Ukraine, with the massive sanctions being put in place and the effects of those sanctions filtering down, these prices are likely to shoot up even further. With forecourt prices for petrol and diesel now hitting the £2 per litre mark in some places, £10 per gallon, we will very soon hit a point where people will not be able to heat their homes or be able to afford to buy food , let alone cook it or drive for work or leisure.

This is where the real hunger games will kick in as people reach desperation point while trying to look after their families. More and more people will be forced into not using their vehicles and so either work from home if possible, crowd into public transport which will quickly lose the ability to cope with the increased numbers or possibly even lose their jobs because they can’t get to work.

While all the time the cost of transporting goods from both abroad and at home to the shops is rocketing with the increase in fuel costs as is the cost to factories that produce that food and the farms where the basic ingredients are grown. If things don’t change very soon then we may well reach a point where people are dying in their homes due to a lack of food and heating. The only saving grace right now is that we are heading into spring and then summer which means temperatures will go up.

The coming winter afterwards though could be one of the worst in living memory in a country that is ironically rich in energy and resources yet poor because of a UK government that is totally incompetent and does not care about anyone or anything except lining their pockets as much as they possibly can.

It may not be long before the roads are only used by the rich, transport companies and public transport, if we can still afford it, while those less fortunate are left to their own devices. Without independence we will forever be lied to and told we are not good enough as the resources that could make us wealthy are plundered and removed from under our noses.

What will it take to make our people rise and put an end to all of this? Or will we just accept our fate and watch as the hunger games become a reality and they start making tv programmes where people compete for food or fuel. Scotland needs to break free and regain our independence so that we can take control of our resources and help our people. Then we can use the excess to help others and lead by example in a world that is filled with greed. As the song goes, Rise, and be nation again.

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