I don’t consider myself a political animal.
And hey, I’m proclaiming that like it’s something to be proud of; in today’s world I suspect it’s probably not. But it is the truth. Sure I have opinions and gripes and an all encompassing faith that all politicians – despite the idealism they cherish in their youth – are essentially self serving, hardnosed, money grabbing staticians who have little or no understanding of the true nature of the common man’s reality. But essentially my understanding of politics is limited to what I see on the telly (Mock The Week, etc).
So with this piebald worldview in mind I soaked up the new UK budget with the usual sense of sourness and then some.
Due to all the scaremongering in the newspapers (entirely deliberate, I’m sure) this budget had taken on a real “do or die” feel. Deal or no deal. Some fat banker calling the shots while Uncle Noel pretended to be concerned and on your side.
Would they lower the threshold on child tax credits? Would the money Karen and I rely on to keep Tom at nursery and therefore both of us out at work still be there or would we be looking at one of us having to become a stay at home parent and still not earning enough money to pay all the bills?
Yes and no. We got a reprieve but the reprieve, the more I think about it, is going to be short-lived. I don’t profess to understand all the ins and outs, all the pie-charts and venn diagrams of who has lost what fortune and gained what pittance... but it seems to me (and this is backed up by common consent) that the cuts over the next few years are going to be disastrous for a lot of people. And my sector of local government is liable to be one of the ones hardest hit.
As usual it seems to me that the people at the bottom of the heap or those that are at the end of their tether are the ones who have been smited the most.
On a personal note, I’m not surprised but certainly not happy about them raising the retirement age. It little affects me but my father is desperately awaiting a knee-cap replacement operation – however, they won’t operate until after he has retired. This is due to be next year. He’ll hopefully squeak under the bar before the retirement age is changed. Otherwise he might find an extra 12 months tacked onto the end of his – already painful – wait. There’s bound to be other people in a similar position. I’ve long reconciled myself to probably having to work until I was 70 – and for many people that is the ideal; staying active is far healthier for you. But you know what? It’s always nice to have the choice. I think the choices for us all are going to become more and more limited as the next few years roll out.
All this is small fry, I know. Cuts have to be made. The debt must be shared. But as others have pointed out, if you cut a tree back too much you risk stopping it growing altogether.
And it seems to me that the trouble with the Tory’s is they’ve always been a little too free with their machetes when faced with the prospect of other people’s trees.
Chop chop. Slash slash. Do you like our new army helicopters?
I’m now wondering whether it’s worth my while planting any acorns at all.