Friday, June 25, 2010

Fudge It

Budget briefcaseI 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?

Hmm.

I’m now wondering whether it’s worth my while planting any acorns at all.


18 comments:

The Dotterel said...

How utterly bizarre that your father has to wait until after retirement for a knee operation! Surely he needs the new knee more now whilst still at work? Or is there something I'm missing?

Nota Bene said...

It always makes me smile a wry smile when I read that they can't tax the rich too much because they might up and leave....
...I've given up on Greece as it all seems like hell there, but might move to France on the basis that they've just upped the retirement age to 62...

Steve said...

The Dotterel: I think that knee replacements don't last forever so they don't want to give him one, having him wear it out by working, and then need a second op a few years later. That's my understanding anyway.

Nota Bene: 62? Hmm. I've always fancied a little vinyard or three... I might come and join you.

W. Ork said...

We are redecorating and restructuring and recreating. We are living off of one paycheck as I wait for my Permenant Residency to take place so we are learning to live life to the fullest on a tight budget. So sit back and stay awhile as I learn to create our home, indulge in my craftiness, figure out what it means to be a wife, discover how not to burn dinner and learn all of the little lessons that life throws my way.

EmmaK said...

Come on lad have you sent your novel to the agent yet??? soon that acorn will sprout and you will be rich at Croesus ....go on just do it!!

Steve said...

W.Ork: didn't your father have a bit part in Lord Of The Rings?

Emma: but then I'll have to pay a helluva lot more tax...!

libby said...

Shafted by everyone...supporting everyone...us 'in the middle' people are yet again going to have to pay for others in so many ways..

the fly in the web said...

Amazing how it is always the ordinary guy who gets hacked at...I reckon the rich should all leave the U.K., then they could stop pissing on the rest of the people in this 'trickle down' system.

Do not under any circumstances move to France. The trickle down system in France is of Niagara proportions.

Steve said...

Libby: same meat different gravy as usual, eh?

The fly in the web: bugger. It'll have to be New Zealand or Australia then. At least I speak the language.

Löst Jimmy said...

It'll be 70+ by the time we reach the finish line Steve, assuming their are any jobs left to retire from.

The Sagittarian said...

Well, if you do come here (and we have the rabbit hutch and the kids dis-used playhouse remember) you won't have to retire until 65...altho' Australia put theirs up to 67 so am sure its only a matter of time before that happens here too. However our Tory guvment has also rearranged taxes recently so that the rich got a $480 tax cut per week and the rest got shite like $14 per week. Maybe we should club together abd buy an island somewhere in the Bermuda triangle??

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: my biggest fear is that there won't be a finishing line...

Amanda: I'd like to buy an island in the Bermuda Triangle and ship the bloody Tory's out to it!

P.S. If you change the bedding daily in the rabbit hutch I'll catch the next boat out.

Heather said...

I understand the sharing of the debt to some extent but sadly the ones that are going to suffer the most are the ones that didn't cause the problem in the first place as far as i can see it. Or maybe i'm missing something.

Steve said...

Heather: no, you're spot on. The problems were caused by the politicians and the bankers... but it's the man in street that pays.

Löst Jimmy said...

It is somewhat ironic that Child Benefit is cut, remember this is monies meant to be of assistance to children during their growing years, pray tell me, HM Government, why are children to blame for robber baron bankers stealing all the money?
It's all bollocks, it really is.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: succinctly put.

EmmaK said...

sometimes you need to squeeze lemons to make lemonade!!

Steve said...

Emma: ah but squeezing out the pips into the mixture tends to sour the flavour...