Much talk over the last few days about the prospect of the Chancellor as an out-of-season Santa, giving away the goodies in exchange for votes. And it will work. Whoever is favoured in todays’ budget, however meagrely, will think just a little more kindly of the current administration. Of course there will also be the detractors and Ed Balls will magic up his own version of prizes for all in response, claiming that somehow Labour, who are largely and repeatedly responsible for the hideous debt burden the nation carries, have a solution to provide prosperity and equality for all. And it’s all bollocks; all of it.
We are simply bust. The fact that our national debt has doubled in the last five years is not ameliorated by the knowledge that it would almost certainly have tripled under Labour. Debt/deficit, the difference is simple enough, yet the ‘great’ British public, who are less numerate than they are literate are either too stupid to get it, or too stupefied by sheer terror to contemplate it. Because it’s like this: Imagine you buy a house for £200,000 on a 90% mortgage that costs you every penny you have left after eating and shortly thereafter you lose your job but manage to blag a mortgage top up of £20k to tide you over. But you can’t get a job that pays what you used to earn… and the value of your house falls to £150,000.
You don’t want to sell it and even if you could you’d still owe £50,000 but after a few months you realise you have no choice, bite the bullet, take the shitty job, rent a studio hovel and accept you’ll never own a home again and undertake to repay your outstanding debt at £3,000 a year for 30 years and hope the interest rates stay low. You can’t save, you have no pension plan and short of winning the lottery all that lies between you and the gutter is sucking up to your crappy boss and praying he doesn’t go bust himself. In short, for many people, it’s all a bit grim and likely to stay that way for some time. You just have to suck it up and carry on.
How do you prefer being cut?
No gimmicks, said George Osborne, so why the gimmick of Inheritance Tax reform which affects nobody without significant assets? Why persist with a Minimum Wage strategy that has ended up being a wage ceiling, rather than a floor? Why not, instead of just talking about ‘austerity’, actually start to implement it? And why not, above all, instead of trying to do a Tommy Cooper and pull a comedy rabbit from a battered old top hat, just tell the truth; we’re still broke and the odd little morsel of under-nourishment is going to do little to change that. It’s about time the government did what a hell of a lot of people are already doing and have done before. Why can’t we all just ‘be British’ about it?
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