It is said that the first 100 days in office, or indeed in any job, are crucial. Performance at the interview is soon forgotten as doing the job takes centre stage when all eyes are on the new recruit. We all know of candidates whose ambition exceeds their ability. They perform well in interviews only to falter at the first hurdle, not giving much thought to actually doing the job.
In the UK all eyes are on Liz Truss, now prime minister after she won the Conservative Party leadership election. It is reported that she delights in being compared to Margaret Thatcher.
We may wonder if she, too, will snatch the proverbial milk from the mouths of babes this winter by further enabling food poverty on a scale not previously seen in most of our lifetimes. Then, add in fuel poverty to further widen existing health inequalities placing even more pressure on a failing NHS with over 6 million on waiting lists in England alone.
Of course, there are more issues at stake than just these two, but they are the most widely mentioned. Data released, in May, by The Food Foundation reports that 8.8% of households (4.6 million adults) had experienced food poverty in April, a figure that is undoubtedly set to rise.
No functioning government
You might be forgiven for thinking how a government could take a summer recess with an economic and health catastrophe looming. But here, in Northern Ireland, we have been left without a functioning government since February when the First Minister resigned, triggering the collapse of the power-sharing executive. It’s a familiar situation. Prior to January 2020, we had been three years without an executive. Meanwhile, we have localised public sector strikes where a perceived ‘rubbish’ proposed national pay award of an average of 7.7% has resulted in domestic waste not being collected.
It must be said that there is considerable public sympathy for these front-line workers, many of whom ensured continuous service delivery during the pandemic. However, should their demands be met, the anticipated impact of a 10% increase in local rates may not be so welcome and may further fuel inflation.
Liz is heading for a winter of discontent, and whilst getting the binmen back to work may not be her responsibility, all eyes in Northern Ireland will be watching how she handles the stalemate at Stormont. And with her first 100 days due to conclude in the mouth of Christmas, will she leave us hungry for more or just plain hungry?
But, of course, you get what you vote for, and just like the turkeys who didn’t vote for Christmas, you get ‘trussed’ up anyway.