A Pig in a Poke

head shot of Alec Ross

A local businessman, a fish restaurant owner in Stranraer, today writes the following on social media. For transparency, he is a friend and I have copied his post in its entirety.

“Everyone is very aware of the cost of living crisis. We made it clear a few months back when potatoes were trading at around £17 per bag that we would NOT make any price increases as we accepted there are good times and bad, and the decision of the business was to take this as the proverbial bad time. And we will stand by that unequivocally. We are so very, very grateful for every hard earned penny you spend with us.

Today we have just negotiated this weeks fresh delivery and we have refused to accept anything but the very best. The very best is costing us £32 per bag. Until we get through this ridiculous situation, staff have been asked to be respectful but careful in regards to portion control. There may well be a few less chips in your supper this week as a result and we hope you understand that. Your chips will be as good as they get, real top quality.

Many thanks”.

As so often, here a single case speaks to a wider truth. Why are tatties so dear? I’m imagining it’s largely to do with the extraordinary rise in temperature control costs for fruit and veg in storage – I’ve written about this before – and I’ve heard some horror stories in that regard (like 400% increases). You’ve also got the fact that it’s Westminster, not Holyrood, who gets to decide on who gets energy relief, and I know NFU Scotland have been pushing the case for parity with our neighbours. As they admit themselves, it’s a tough gig. So, a country with replete national resources begging for a piece of what’s already ours. Welcome to this precious family of equals. We’ve been sold a pig in a poke of chips, and until we get ourselves the hell out things will never improve. It really is that stark.

Here’s a wee thought. A world secure in food and water and energy – and Scotland has all three, but is denied the power to control them for the common weal – is a peaceful and stable one. Sharing our resources equitably is a big part of any leader’s job description. Arguably, it is their job description. We need to decide what we want society to look like and then structure our constitutional arrangements accordingly – rather than the other way round. Otherwise, the price of chips and everything else in our lives will be decided by people whose worldview is diametrically opposed to our own, and whom we haven’t voted for since 1955.

Seriously, if we think this is the best we can do then we need to have a word with ourselves.

Take care good people. I’ll meet you further on up the road.

fried potatoes in chips
Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com

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