Stats for Socialists: Energy Price Rises – the Cost of War and Private Ownership.

These are the new projections for energy price rises over the winter.

The projection for Oct 22 is more than double the price from Oct 21.

This could be an underestimate because the future projections are always being revised up, with some estimate already projecting £3850 by January.

The government’s one off £400 rebate will barely put a dent in that.

The scale of the increase imposed on households is extreme by comparison with the 4% capped increase on bills in France. France has a nationalised energy supply system and the recent experience of the Gilets Jaunes protests.

With supermarket chains in Austria issuing advice to staff over what to do if mass looting breaks out during winter blackouts, its hard to avoid the conclusion that we have a government here that is drifting to a scale of disaster it can barely comprehend.

The price of energy is being driven partly by rising global demand after COVID safeguards have been largely abandoned, but is given a vicious upward twist by the war in Ukraine.

The longer the war goes on, the higher the bills will be and the longer they will stay high.

The UK government is actively seeking to prolong the war. The Labour movement should be campaigning for the earliest possible negotiated peace – both to resolve the conflict and relieve the economic pressure here and across the world.

Meanwhile, the TUC has produced a very serious plan for affordable energy which everyone should read and spread about, noting that the projected cost of nationalising the big five energy suppliers is no more than this government has spent on bailing out the weaker private sector suppliers so far.

Stats for Socialists: No case for increased military spending.

Boris Johnson has just announced an aim to increase British military spending from 2% of GDP to 2.5% as part of “strengthening NATO defences”, while the new Chief of the armed forces, Sir Patrick Sanders, calls on us to be prepared to fight World War Three on land in Europe.

As this is supposed to counter a threat from Russia, it might make sense to examine what the military balance of forces is and who threatens whom.

British military spending on its own is already larger than Russia’s.

Figures from Stockholm International Peace Institute

NATO military spending, taken together, is 19 times larger than Russia’s.

Figures from Stockholm International Peace Institute

The NATO summit this week has agreed to absorb more countries – at the price of extraditing Kurdish dissidents to Turkey, all in defence of “democracy” of course – increase expenditure still further, deploy more troops to “forward” positions, i.e. close to the Russian border and sustain a long war in Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg was quite open about what’s going on. “The reality is that we have been preparing for this since 2014…that is the reason we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, why NATO allies have started to invest more in defence, why we have increased our readiness”.

“Readiness” – with 300,000 troops geared up… for what?

Place yourself in either of these pie chart segments and ask yourself which one has more reason to feel threatened.

Stats for Socialists: US priorities on Ukraine

The $4billion in aid to the world’s poorest countries to help them cope with the blowback from US sanctions (with $2.7billion coming from the US) is a desperate attempt to manage a situation that risks running out of control so that the war can be prolonged without two, three, many Columbias.

The US commitment, so far, to nineteen times as much spending on munitions (most of which will make its way to US arms manufacturers) shows what their priorities are.

On the one hand, hunger, primarily produced by their own sanctions. On the other hand, a war they want to pursue into next year if they can keep their own polities and those of the Global South stable enough.