A few days ago, I wrote a piece for UnHerd noting that last weekend, to little fanfare, Western sanctions against Russia started to collapse. What’s more, they started to collapse due to a clever intervention on the Kremlin’s part. The Russians said they would not be able to deliver much-needed natural gas to Europe in sufficient quantities unless the Canadians released a gas turbine that was being repaired there, and which is required to ensure the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is functional.
If Europe is unable to fill up its gas reserves this summer, the continent – and that includes Britain – will face crippling energy shortages this winter. It is difficult to overstate how bad this could be. For one, many people will freeze – especially in colder countries and regions. But in addition, whole economies will grind to a halt. That will mean less stuff is produced and distributed – and when less stuff is produced and distributed, but people still have money to spend, you get inflation.
Well actually it means extremely high inflation – or possibly even hyperinflation. Currently, inflation is running just north of 8% in Europe and 9% in the UK. We all know how painful this is. But I think that these numbers understate the impact on consumers. For the past few months, I have been missing my old personal budgeting targets by around 20%, despite having had the same amount of money budgeted as I did last year and buying the same things.
Now imagine what it would feel like if you doubled or even tripled that. Twenty to thirty per cent inflation is easily possible if European factories have to shut down, and energy prices go skyward. How would you like to see two-three times the decline in living standards you are already seeing? Now what if I told you that these living standards would take years to claw back? Could you live with this, just so that our leaders can posture ineffectively on Ukraine?
Read More: The Kremlin Is Forcing Europe to Undermine Its Own Sanctions
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