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Reheating old grievances about lockdown won’t keep pensioners warm this winter | Gaby Hinsliff

There is a bizarre trend to lay every ill on those who tried to avoid Covid, rather than a Tory party that’s been in power for 12 years

What is driving the cost of living crisis? It’s not a trick question, or it isn’t meant to be. Most people would naturally say rocketing energy bills, heading now for fivefold what they may be in a normal year; climbing like ivy, snaking and clinging, smothering everything and blotting out the light. The equivalent, says a despairing Greg Jackson of Octopus Energy, of whacking 9p on income tax overnight; more than many mortgages, rents or the nursery bill that once felt crippling. Others may mention rising food prices or the cost of filling the car. But not everyone sees things that way.

It was a few weeks ago that I first started noticing a sudden rash of social media accounts, all hammering out the same bitterly aggressive message: if you supported lockdown, don’t come crying to us about this winter’s looming economic catastrophe, because it’s all your fault. “If you tittle-tattled on your neighbour and demanded longer, stricter lockdowns, this is on you,” thundered the influential Conservative lockdown sceptic Ben Goldsmith – brother of the international environment minister, Zac Goldsmith, and until recently a nonexecutive board member of Defra – when the Bank of England bowed to the inevitable this month and forecast a recession. It was, he tweeted, “jaw-dropping to see the peddlers of lockdown … complaining bitterly now as the country is handed the tab”. Although less jaw-dropping, perhaps, than blaming curtain-twitching neighbours for an economic crisis pushing up to half the country towards fuel poverty.

Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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