Eric Pickles on the tv at 4.am and the wails of a teething two year old did nothing to wipe the smile of satisfaction of my face as I watched the labour gains clocking up last night. William Hague was the Prince of Arrogance this morning as he proclaimed the results were merely a “midterm blip” only to be expected in times of austerity. The Liberal Democrats were driven further into political wasteland as they paid the price for dancing with the devil that is coalition politics. The party I nearly voted for at the last election are left facing the prospect of being over taken by “the others” in local politics and it is time for some very deep soul searching.
More worrying than Tory arrogance and Lib dem impotence is the way that the population has disconnected from politics – the turnout yesterday was appalling low and can only be a bad thing for the future of our country. Tom Watson was President of the student union when I was at Hull University and was every bit as dynamic as he is now – lets hope there are a few more student activists like him, who will rejuvenate politics in the near future.
So what exactly did the Camerons serve up for supper to their “guests”
We’re All in This Together Salad
A lightly tossed salad made from locally sourced ingredients (from the nearest food bank)
A mish mash of pasta leftovers salvaged from the Pensioners Luncheon Club (not enough takers could pay the charge so plenty to go round)
Let Them Eat Cake
An all you can eat confectionery concoction – with an optional side serving of Fill Your Boots Pie (both with a sell by date of 2015 – get it whilst you can!)
Is it any wonder the Catholic Church has families leaving in droves and faces a bleak future when my local parish makes headline news having denied a child with Downs Syndrome the opportunity to make his First Communion? The story today to be honest moved me to tears. I have worked as a primary teacher for 12 years. I have had my children baptised catholic, was brought up as a catholic and prepared my classes for First Communion. I also worked one to one with a deaf child and went to tribunal to fight for his right to be educated in mainstream school. It is suggested that the school influenced the decision by stating that the child had limited understanding of the RE curriculum and that he did not enjoy going to mass. I can safely say that none of my children enjoy going to mass and that many children have limited understanding of the RE curriculum. If the decision was left to the discretion of the Parish priest as these things often are then he should be ashamed.The school should be ashamed if they did not fight the decision and some retraining in special educational needs is long overdue.
The Catholic church is guilty of blatant discriminations andhas no future if it puts outdated attitudes and doctrine above love and compassion.
Today will be a truly of nailbiting and interesting day in European politics. I switched on the news this morning to find David Cameron has pulled out of the Eurozone rescue talks due to unacceptable demands which would place the city at risk. He is right to protect our financial services industry, as much as it galls me to say it – we need the bankers to stay in the city of London. We are now in what appears an isolated position and the markets will duly decide if that is a position of strength or weakness. The strain on the coalition will be interesting to observe given the Lib-dems euro stance.
On our high streets the carnage continues with Barratts going in to administation – I have never seen my local supermarkets so deserted a week before schools finish for Christmas – whether things will pick up next week we shall see - I’d say more shoppers on our high street is more likely than a resolution to the eurozone crisis though !
My tightly budgeted Christmas shopping is done and all the talk of financial meltdown makes me glad that we tackled our finances head on two years ago – it is our second Christmas where everything is paid for without credit so we can enjoy what we have without worrying about paying for it in the new year – its a shame the euro crisis can’t be solved as easily as stopping using credit!
As a former teacher and a previous small business owner married to a serving teacher I can see today’s public sector strikes from both sides. I understand the anger of those who chose to work in the public sector accepting lower wages,but with the bonus of a good pension,who feel that they are paying the price for the financial crisis. I understand the irritation of private sector workers imconvenienced by todays strikes, among them many business owners who don’t have a pension at all, who feel public sector workers should share the pain.
The autumn statement and analysis of the current financial position of the UK made uncomfortable viewing – in the light the ongoing eurozone crisis I feel the public sector has no option but to accept the deal they have been offered. With up to 750000 public sector job losses predicted by the end of the Parliament many striking today may soon be joining the ranks of the unemployed and perhaps should be grateful to have a job at all!
This morning we hear that a Eurozone collapse would lead to living standards dropping to that of Latin America. Ex-chancellors Brown and Darling predict that France will be next to take a battering from the markets…
So how long will it be before we are urged to splurge on Christmas to save the UK economy? From preaching a message of austerity and belt tightening will our government change it’s Christmas message to – “spend spend spend?”
I for one have been running austerity measures in our household for too long to allow a huge Christmas splurge – we don’t do credit anymore so all our Christmas purchases will be paid for in cash – BUT my news savvy 13 year old has already commented that the Christmas budget should be doubled this year – because spending more on her presents is in the national interest !!
Scrooge or Greek style spending – what will it be in your household?
The crisis in Italy and the Eurozone debt nightmare is becoming like navigating spaghetti junction in rush hour.The complexities of the crisis and the ramifications for the world economy if country by country finds themselves insolvent make the mind boggle. We have built our societies on debt and some might see current events as divine retribution for greed – a natural reordering of an unsustainable world in which wealth has been created by manipulation,expoitation and massaging of the figures and not by plain old fashioned productivity and hard work.
We are being warned that the Eurozone crisis is worse than the banking crisis of 2008. Italy’s debt interest rate stands a 7% this morning described as unsustainable – I allowed myself a wry smile when I read that Barclays has a £27.5 bn holding in Italian debt – hard to feel sorry for their potential losses when they levy an interest rate of 30% on debt ridden Barclaycard customers – yet this punitive interest is in their eyes perfectly sustainable !