Budgets and Bombs


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This week has been a pretty quiet one.My journeys to work in my new Vauxhall Mokka were slow and tedious as there were hold up’s and traffic jams all the way meaning that I was unable to put my foot down and try it out. Of course it’s no Bentley continental but at the same time I like it. Have you ever been in one of those traffic jams where the lane next to you seems to be moving faster than the one your in, so you change lane and discover that your original lane is now quicker? Well that has been my week.Always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I started (another) diet this week on Monday and early indications are that its going quite well. I stood on the scales on Friday morning and it was a lower number than I was expecting so to celebrate we went out for dinner that night and had a jolly good feed and a few jars. It was pretty good timing too as, following this weeks budget the beer was 1p a pint cheaper so the thought of coming home 2p better off than normal was definitely adding to the enjoyment of the whole night. That was until we had a bottle of wine which has just gone up by 20p so typically we lose out yet again. The whole 1p off a beer is so pointless, surely the cost of changing the price outweighs the benefit and you can bet your life that the pubs and bars don’t pass the savings on anyway so there’s no real benefit to us. And even if it was passed on in full, it would mean that for every 350 pints, I get the equivalent of one free. Even Gazza would struggle to benefit too much from this. I have to be honest and say that I don’t really understand a great deal of what the Chancellor has to say and like many people, I’m not really that interested either. What I am VERY interested in though are the bits that effect me and my family,but I’m old enough now to know that while I stand to gain a bit courtesy of a slight change of tax allowances, I lose a bit when I have to give it back through increases elsewhere. Budgets strike me as a bit of an opportunity to reorganise the country’s finances rather than actually making any meaningful changes. A kind of re organising the deck chairs on the Titanic.For example a change of tax allowances due to take effect in a years time will mean that I will pay approximately £100 less tax so that’s a good thing right? Well, yes, I suppose it is but it’s only going to end up being given to edf the next time my gas bill rises at 5 times the rate of inflation.

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Are you sure that’s America?

Then on Tuesday I decided to take a look at my blog stats for the previous few days. One of the most gratifying parts to writing each week is checking out the stats page which not only tells me which posts get the most hits, but also which countries it gets read in. English language countries feature highly in the list but I also get some hits in some unexpected places too and this week my stats revealed that I got 2 hits in Korea, one in the people’s republic and one in the north; the ironically named democratic peoples republic. This made me sit up and take notice a bit, firstly because I didn’t expect that a few random rants of mine might be of any interest to someone so far away and secondly, a realisation that I should probably be a little bit more careful about what I say in case I were to inadvertently refer to their leader as a thirty year old tub of lard lunatic and cause a diplomatic incident. I’ll have to avoid that at all costs.I therefore decided to do a little bit of research about this country to discover some facts and have discovered that the aren’t any. On ‘The Guardian’s ‘ data blog: 10 facts about North Korea, the number one fact is that their old leader is dead. Within the Top 10 is their record during the 2010 FIFA world cup which was woeful. Clearly this is an incredibly secretive part of the world and nobody really knows anything about it, least of all the people who live there but we are,sadly,getting a pretty clear picture as to what it’s leader is like and it’s not a particularly optimistic one. This guy reminds me of one of the Bond baddies from the Sean Connery/Roger Moore era, the kind of megalomaniac who builds himself an underwater hideaway or lives in a dormant volcano and keeps busy creating either world domination or world extinction. In a country where you get the top job by waiting for your dad to die and by being called Kim, you get to control a nuclear arsenal as well as a massive and well funded army. Hopefully though his army will be as utterly hopeless as the bond baddies were and any opposing army sent in to capture him will succeed by tea time on day one leaving enough time left over for a bit of rumpy pumpy with a model of their choice.

So with Kim Jong un occupying the headlines and threatening nuclear annihilation against the west if he doesn’t get his copy of sports illustrated on time, the other leaders of the so called free world are feeling left out and have set about their plans to bugger it all up with a new found vigour and determination. 10 days or so ago if you were to ask most people in the world what they thought of Cyprus, they would give you an answer along the lines of it being a popular holiday destination offering a year round chance of a tan and the occasional slap from an off duty British squaddie. Right now though, it’s virtually bankrupt. I can’t claim to be an expert in such matters,so if i’ve got any of the details or even facts wrong then forgive me, but it seems that the islands banks have for a long time been the resting place for the spare millions of some of the worlds richest people. In order to secure a bailout from the rest of Europe no stone is being left unturned in a search for ways of raising funds,so at the time of writing there is a very real possibility that the state would plunder millions of pounds of private individuals money to, in effect, underwrite and secure this bailout.So in order to stop a northern rock style run on the banks, the banks themselves are refusing to give people their money back, the whole economy has become cash only and the chances of having a job in the near future seem very slim indeed. So why is this? Well, the German chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be the chief among European politicians in insisting on series of austerity measures that will set the country back decades, thereby undermining the personal futures of all that live there. If history tells us anything, it is that German interference in Europe never really goes well, yet still they interfere. Is this really what the world has come to? Governments taking your money in exchange for some dubious bond or share? Since when did this become legal? You can bet your bottom euro that if this actually happens in Cyprus, then the people’s of Portugal, Spain,Italy and Ireland will be next on the hit list. And should that happen, we won’t need the Koreans to start a war, as the people’s of Europe will almost certainly stage an Arab spring style civil uprising.

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So what about this country then? Well we all know that we’re knee deep in the brown stuff and sinking fast while our leaders pretend that they know what the right course of action is and what to do for the best while the ‘experts’ denounce it as a folly. I can’t take Ed Balls as a serious or credible alternative to the current chancellors plans though, and as for Ed Milliband being the next Prime minister… Well let’s just not forget that he was part of the government that got us into this mess in the first place. And anyway, I could never seriously vote for anyone who looks like they should be in a Wallace and gromit film. Perhaps the government are banking on the fact that with the exception of the occasional mid summer riot, we are not the kind of folk who get too involved in social uprising. Sure we like a good march, as well as a sit down protest while singing “we shall not,we shall not be moved” but we’re simply too lethargic to get involved in anything more aggressive. Instead we’ll have a jolly good moan about it, whinge and whine until the cows come home but take no real action. It’s just our way. In reality,who ever we vote for we’re not going to get out of it that easily and I feel a bit sorry for George & co as they’re criticised for sticking to the course, and then criticised for a change of direction if they do have a change of plan.whatever they do seems to be wrong.It’s a bit like my journeys to work this week, whatever lane they get into is the wrong one, probably because there isn’t a right lane to be in anyway. But like my journeys we’ll get there in the end as so long as we don’t end up having our bank accounts raided or being on the wrong end of a nuke, I suspect we’ll be alright in the end.

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2 responses to “Budgets and Bombs

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