A nation hurt by ‘skimpflation’ and why targeting ‘Saga voters’ is dumb

It’s always good to trip over a new word, especially if it sizes up nicely as a political cudgel.

While ‘shrinkflation’ had already entered my dictionary mind, ‘skimpflation’ was a fresh one.

The first suggests pack sizes of food products being reduced in size for the same price; the second that “recipes are reformulated and expensive ingredients are cut down” (thanks to Hilary Osborne of the Guardian for the definition).

You notice this at the supermarket where everything costs more, isn’t as good as it used to be and comes in smaller packets.

And you notice it in the country, too. Everything costs more, isn’t as good as it used to be and prime ministers come in smaller packets.

It takes a smallish man to point this out, but Rishi Sunak is certainly as diddy as his ego appears monumental. And we got him as part of a three-for-one deal at the Tory supermarket requested by precisely no-one.

Sunak pushed into the queue at the checkout after Boris Johnson (low average height, yet with a towering inferno ego) and what’s-her-name; ah, yes, Liz Truss (fatally skimped on good sense, shrank the economy overnight, then still swanned about telling everyone she was right and they were wrong).

As for skimpflation, that’s another name for the Conservative brand of austerity that’s left the country falling apart.

The NHS is shot thanks to cutting out “expensive ingredients” such as proper funding, the railways costs a fortune to use, the rivers are full of shit emptied there by privatisation, schools and hospitals are crumbling, and cash-starved local authorities are finally beginning to totter.

Oh, and the Post Office connived to have sub-postmasters jailed rather than owing up to having bought cruelly unreliable accounting software. This was flogged to them – and us, as the government owns the Post Office – by Fujitsu, which continues to make a fortune by plugging gaps in our hollowed-out state (more skimpflation) that now employs private corporations to do our public business.

Nice work if they can get it.

And what does the tetchy little tech man in Downing Street propose to do about all this as a general election looms? Promise unaffordable tax cuts in a dodgy deal to fool three credible voters for the price of two. Honey, I shrunk the economy, but I’ll roll them a tax cut bribe and hopefully they won’t notice.

Much better than doing something useful like investing in the country. “Tax cuts! Tax cuts!” the political Tory zombies cry, all other thoughts having died inside their skulls, although sometimes these dead-eyed souls may be heard to mutter something meaningless about woke this or woke that.

Still, according to the Sunday Express, Rishi is targeting me, of all the unlikely people. He’s not actually said if there’s one voter I want, it’s that liberal-minded, woke-headed blogger who never stops twittering on about how awful we are. No, what he’s after is the “Saga vote”, said to be voters over 50. Sunak apparently told the paper he wants to harness our “energy, wisdom and experience”.

Well, those qualities were certainly in evidence on what I still call Twitter, where assorted oldies competed with each other to exclaim why never in a million miserable years would they vote Tory. Plenty of energy, wisdom and experience went into those barbative tweets.

If there is one thing the old people in this country need to do it is to stop voting Conservative. Old-style Tories never appealed to me, but they were paragons of sense compared to the shallow, far-right, immigrant-baiting grifters we have now.

And here, to close, is my own new word – “stinkflation”. It refers to that bad smell hanging over the government.

Let’s hope Sir Keir Starmer resists using “skimpflation” to remove the good green and investment ingredients he has advertised down the Labour aisle of the supermarket.

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