‘Think of Chancellor Rishi Sunak as a smiling salesman of payday loans, and you will begin to get the picture.
‘Yes, of course you can have the money. Happy to help!’ he says as he hands over the wads of notes.
But it will not be the cheery face of Mr Sunak that you see when the time comes for repayment, but the hard and relentless agents of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
And don’t think that the repayment boys will only be going after those who have accepted the various forms of government handout during the throttling of the economy.
Even if you have yourself kept working and stayed above water, they’ll still be after you.
It is time the media began to ask Mr Sunak exactly when he plans to announce his first emergency budget (the first of many, I fancy) to a stunned nation.
As my much-esteemed Daily Mail colleague Alex Brummer, a man who understands the national finances better than most, said last week: ‘The hugely expensive decision to turn an emergency measure, designed to see UK Plc through the peak of Covid-19, into a commitment that could stretch to six months suggests a public health crisis and economic meltdown far worse than first imagined.’
I’ll say. Nobody has ever seen so much wild spending of non-existent money before in peacetime. Some idiots nowadays think you can do this without consequences. In wartime it was disastrous. This kind of debt really hurts.
In 1914-18 our huge spending cost us our standing as a great power. And we never repaid our First World War debts (now worth about $225billion) to the USA, and never will. We suspended repayment and interest on June 15, 1934 and never started again. And this is why we have been Washington’s poodle ever since.
In the Second World War, the entire life savings of the British Empire – from ancient gold doubloons, moidores and pieces of eight captured from Spanish treasure galleons to modern negotiable securities – were shipped to the USA in secret high-speed convoys to pay for weapons. Most of this wealth never came back. But it was still not enough.
In January 1941, hard-nosed US Senators hesitated to provide any more help to a prostrate Britain. By this time the White House had forced the UK into a humiliating audit, which an enraged Winston Churchill had to swallow without protest. The great war leader was persuaded by aides not to send a furious cable accusing President Roosevelt of being ‘a sheriff collecting the assets of a helpless debtor’.’