Posts Tagged ‘Yera’
Other than destroy our saving’s income, a feat he has already achieved, the clammy touch of Chancellor George Osborne can do little harm to a bunch of old codgers given to breeding hens. So the response to yesterday’s mini-budget was somewhat muted this morning. In fact the rare treat of a wind and rain free morning had us in a reasonably positive mood. The weather men say that there is stormy weather ahead but we live for the moment. In any case we realise that the economic storms gathering will surpass anything that the elements choose to throw at us.
None of us watched the Osborne performance which, if most of the commentators are to be believed, was something of a ‘dog’s breakfast’. He clearly had a problem, namely that all he and his boss perdicted just a year ago has failed to come to pass, and the effect of the Euro fiasco has yet to kick in. We have always tended to favour the Keynes approach which has it that if you take away everyone’s spending power you inevitably end up in a recession. No spare cash, no spending, no trade, no growth.
Now we apparently face many years of unremitting hardship for those at the bottom of the income league, and unemployment is likely to rise to levels where social unrest will cause problems for the police whose resources have been cut. Yesterday was the day the gvernment was forced to admit that its austerity plan has backfired. It has been, er, too austere.
But one group will be raising a glass to the Chancellor today. Despite endless changes which will impoverish even more those near the bread-line, offset only by a strange reference to a new by-pass for Tunbridge Wells, not one penny more was taken from the top 10% of earners. Fat plums for the plucking stayed on the tree as the poorest bore 16% of the brunt of the new cuts whilst the richest bore only 3%.
According to the Resolution Foundation over £7 billion could be harvested with 40% tax relief on higher pensions whilst most earners will only get 20%. No additional bank levy was mentioned, there was no ‘mansion tax’, so beloved by the Lib Dems, on high-value properties even though owners don’t even pay their fair share of council tax. Worse still, two-thirds of properties worth over £1 million now change hands whilst avoiding all their 5% stamp duty, by using offshore company accounts.
An even bigger omission was mention of tax avoidance and evasion. Another 12,000 tax collectors are losing their jobs while some £25 billion is evaded and £70 billion avoided. In a time of national emergency the Chancellor had no breath of rebuke about the reponsibility of the rich not to dodge taxes, no threat to curb the culture of avoidance. Despite the High Pay Commission report on out-of-control boardroom pay – which even the Institute of Directors has called unsustainable – the Chancellor said nothing.
Instead came the great attack on public sector employees and war on the pay of women. After a three-year freeze, public pay rises are to be pegged at 1% for two years whatever the inflation rate. That might be painful but acceptable if the same criteria was to be applied to the bankers and super-rich. But the direct assault on the poor is almost beyond belief. When charities such as the Children’s Society and Save the Children launch a fierce attack you can be sure that things have simply gone too far.
I suppose the only consolation is that young George did not wheel out his original claim about our all being in this together!
TRY YOUR HAND AT THE MIDWEEK QUIZ ON LEISURE; 1. What imaginative type of game is known by the initials RPG? 2. Which French game’s name is the French word for balls? 3. In which month is Spring Bank Holiday? 4. Which London Museum is the most visited? 5. How many balls are needed to play a game of snooker? 6. What is the national sport of Japan? 7. What is lawn tennis known as when played on shale or clay? 8. In volleyball what do players hit the ball with? 9. What is the Chinese for “dark” and “light” believed to maintain equilibrium? 10. Where is the Jorvik Viking Stadium?
None of us can remember temperatures as low as these before Christmas. This morning we eventually thawed out the hen’s drinking utensils only to see them re-freeze almost at once. Even the hens seem dispirited, a large crowd stood around in the manner of spectators at Old Trafford waiting for the rain to stop. I’ve mentioned our retired bank manager Phil before, he made an appearance as we gathered for a brew. Having no animals to care for Phil only visits the allotments spasmodically at this time of the year but he likes to cheer us up with tales of banker’s perks. Today he mentioned that a former colleague has just heard that he has a record bonus this year. Hooray we cried.
In many industries bonuses are a matter of a few hundred quid at year end if results are favourable. Our bankers work to different dimensions. We have yet to see this year’s figures but for 2009 we know that 2,800 bankers each received total remuneration of over £1 million. The bulk of the amount came from bonuses in a year when the banks brought the country to its knees. And the word is that this year’s numbers are up. Alastair Darling responded at the time by imposing a one-off tax on banker’s bonuses and he netted a very handy £3.5 billion for the public purse!
But now we see a very strange development in which, for whatever reason, the two men who before the election hurled venom in the direction of the banks, are falling over backwards to remain their best friends. Just over a year ago George Osborne went on GMTV and slammed banks for paying “inexcusable bonuses”. We will, he declared, “end the big cash bonuses. If there is spare cash it should be lent out to small businesses”. Scroll forward to this week and what do you find? Osborne has referred the matter to Brussels, which is the equivalent of very long grass, and has confirmed that there will be no UK action.
Meantime Vince Cable, who had insisted that any bank employee being paid more than the prime minister would have his or her salary and bonus details published, has now decided otherwise. A government that has not hesitated to apply that criteria to senior civil servants has curiously lost its nerve. We are all in it together? It seems not!
There has also been a good deal of comment from the legal profession about the absence of prosecutions arising from what happened. It is true that several leading lights left in something of a hurry after the taxpayer’s bailout but they have re-emerged in equally well-paid positions in the private sector. Some of course, such as Fred ‘the shred’ Goodwin, have been ennobled.He may have cost us a few bob but we must remember to call him sir.
Without putting too fine a point on it there clearly is a strong link between this government and leading financiers. Bonuses are to continue at obscenely high levels, there are to be no prosecutions and the scandal of tax avoidance schemes, that rob the treasury of an amount equal to the deficit, is to continue unchallenged. One suspects that Osborne et al are gambling on the fact that few of us understand in detail what the banks did. They are right on that but we do know that their being forgiven and rewarded excessively is unacceptable. But what can we do, it is clear that the banks had Brown in their pockets and have now slipped in their old chum Osborne.
None of the wealthy clique will have heard of Doug Paulley. Perhaps they should pop along to his residential care home in Yorkshire. Doug is a 32 year-old wheelchair user, having been diagnosed 14 years ago with a degenerative neurological disorder. He and his fellow residents in the Leonard Cheshire Home are allowed £22.30 per week from their benefits. Up until now they have also received a mobility fee of up to nearly £50 a week. It was, says Doug, a “quaity of life saver”.
Now it is to be cut completely and will totally curtail the little freedom that Doug and others enjoyed so much. He has said that he hopes he is not still around when the cut happens.
The two situations are not directly connected but it is the banks that created the ruin of people like Doug. And it is their pals in both the last and this government who prefer to see the vulnerable suffer to the alternative, a quarrel with their own!
THE MEDIA TENDS TO BE POOR AT REVELATIONS!
For many years various newspapers have boosted circulation with ‘exclusives’ about the split up/ engagement/marriage of William and Kate. In reality of course they had no more of a clue than any of us commoners but that didn’t stop them from invention.
The Mail on Sunday’s royal correspondent, Katie Nicholl, was billed last week as “the writer who really knows William and Kate”. Her track record suggests otherwise. Private Eye magazine has analysed her many predictions going back to 2004. In December of that year we were told that William wanted to split up for good. But by 2006 William was about to propose. Come 2007 the couple had parted for good. But in 2008 a wedding was being planned – for 2016.
Earlier this month the friend of the Royals was at last able to brief us finally. The announcement would come as part of the royal family’s ”Christmas sojourn to Sandringham” . At least that exclusive wasn’t so far adrift as all the others! Mind you the writer is not alone. Richard Smith of the Daily Mirror wrote in October of “others who make an industry out of wrongly predicting the nuptials – we choose to get our facts right”.
But even this paragon of accuracy failed. He said that “their formal engagement will be formally announced early in 2011″!
ENGLAND FIGHT BACK IN BRISBANE!
Having once described the present Aussie attack as the worst one to ever wear the baggy green cap I feel a little less embarrassed by developments in Brisbane.
In the first innings the England batsman treated Peter Siddle and others with far too much respect. Last night I watched with delight as Strauss and Cook belted them to every corner of the ground. The result should be a draw which will not represent a disastrous start even though ny fiver on a whitewash will have gone the way of most of my punts!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Republic of Ireland 2. Afghanistan
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Who won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize 2. In which city did she do her work?