EDITORIAL: We cannot turn back the rising tide

THERE is a well-known story about a long-ago King of England, called Cnut the Great, also known as Canute – you may well know the story.

One day, the king set his throne down by the sea shore, and commanded the incoming tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Needless to say, the tide came on in regardless and left the king with damp toes.

There have been various versions of the story, but the general interpretation was that Canute knew very well he could not command the tide to stop but did so anyway to show his courtiers that there were things that were far beyond his control.

Which brings us to one particular rising tide approaching our shores – that of inflation.

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday vowed that his administration will do all it can do to minimise the impact of a rise in consumer prices that could be as much as 7.3 percent according to the International Monetary Fund.

You will note what he did not do was say he would do all he could do to stop inflation coming – because he can’t.

He is not alone. US President Joe Biden yesterday took to Twitter to point out the causes of the current spike in prices. He said: “I know that families are still struggling with higher prices. I grew up in a family where if the price of gas went up, we felt it. Let’s be absolutely clear about why prices are high right now: COVID and Vladimir Putin.”

He added: “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up gas prices and food prices all over the world. We saw that in the most recent inflation data. Last month, about 70 percent of the increase in inflation was a consequence of Putin’s price hike because of the impact on gas and other energy prices.”

Even prior to the Ukraine war, there was already an impact from supply chain problems exacerbated by COVID – and that drove up prices too.

So when Mr Davis says the government will do what it can to minimise the impact, there is a limited amount to what can be done. Perhaps some taxes might be eased here or there – but that will have an effect on revenue. Perhaps some extra support measures can be put in place for families who are struggling.

Mr Davis has also said he is talking to shipping companies to get discounts on containers – though such businesses will be feeling the pinch of rising gas prices too.

In the meantime, get used to higher prices. It already costs more to fill your tank. Minister of Works and Utilities Alfred Sears said higher BPL bills might be possible too – some might say that is more probable than just possible. Expect it in all avenues of life – in today’s Tribune Business section, fishermen are warning of the increased costs they face even before they get the boat out to sea, and the reduced profits they are coming home with as a result of those costs. Those costs may well be passed on to customers too – and we saw over Easter increased costs for bread and fish already.

So be ready for it to affect you, even if you don’t think you drive very much or if you think it’s not likely to have a big impact on your lifestyle.

Credit to the government for not promising too much, however. What is being suggested are reasonable measures to soften the blow not a promise to avert the blow entirely.

Down the years, Canute has been pictured as a foolish figure rather than someone trying to show others that leaders are not omnipotent. Our own leaders would do well to ensure we are not caught out by our own rising tide.


birdiestrachan 2 months, 1 week ago

Truth be told. persons will have to do the best they can to get along with less.

Park the car when one can walk. and many of us. can eat a little less. we will be all right eating a little less.


tribanon 2 months ago

Soon you and your PLP friends will be telling us we must eat mud pies like the Haitians do in Haiti no matter the health risks involved in doing so.


ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

Hmmm... is Putin the man from the East?


ColumbusPillow 2 months, 1 week ago

We are too dependent on tourism as a source of income. Develope our natural resources. The steep rise in the cost of oil and natural gas is a chief cause of inflation This is motivation to continue the exploration for these resources. There is no alternative!


tribanon 2 months ago

Venezuela is blessed with plenty of oil but it sure hasn't help the very poor and suffering Venezuelan people any.

How's that great investment of yours in BPC coming along? LMAO


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