Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

The Great British Spending Review……

Now that the UK Spending Review has been revealed in all its controversial glory I'm left wondering what all the fuss is about. Cuts in the welfare budget? Good. Increased retirement age? What's the beef? Cuts in government departments? Good. Increased pension contributions for civil servants? Fine. Stopping child benefit for high income earners? About time.

And yet the fear of the over sixties to lose their bus-passes, free TV licences and winter fuel allowances have all been unfounded. Social housing rents for new tenants to be nearer those of the private sector, and the removal of a council house for life seem reasonable enough, and yet I am not heartless. I fear that the less able will struggle.

It is unfair for them to bear the brunt, yet likewise a system which stifles ambition and encourages state dependency cannot be condoned either. Then there are the increased university fees, and the concern that this may limit opportunities for young people whose families are economically challenged.

The business of banks is to lend. The proliferation of borrowing encouraged rampant fiscal irresponsibility. The old adage of neither a borrower or lender be, is commendable, but hardly practical. The problem was that both shared a bed and behaved shockingly promiscuous. The ex Labour government found themselves with a treasury which they played with as a child in a toy shop. Since 1997 they spent money like water – foolishly and carelessly without thought nor consequence. Give the people what they want, and they will vote for you. They were guilty of gross misconduct and justice has been served upon them.

A period of austerity will not be a bad thing if it returns sense and good housekeeping to the nation. Folk years ago planned their futures, did not buy what they couldn't afford or live beyond their means. They instilled thrift and responsibility to their offspring, which led naturally to self worth and dignity. Two concepts which have been lost in today's selfish consumer driven society.

This easy access to money, this unadulterated borrowing, this embracing of wealth at any cost, this greed, forced simple things like affordable housing through the roof and has virtually killed the chance for any average earner to strive for a home of his own. Over inflated property prices has stifled ambition for our most worthy citizens. It seems like an unattainable goal, and yet the alternative of cheap rents are a thing of the past because landlords are generally greedy bastards. Children therefore stay longer in the nest, and parents invariably bear the brunt. In many cultures extended families live together where it is the norm. In Britain – in the West, the nuclear family has been assigned to the history books, and its fragmentation is reality.

Meanwhile the French are up in arms because they will have to work an extra two years to retire at 62. And we think we have problems! Whats their boeuf? Or is it all Coq au vin?

It will take more than a generation to fix our current problems, if at all. There needs to be a massive cultural sea change. Sadly we cannot return to the days of innocence and good intent of the 1940's when social welfare was an attainable reality. This brave new world has challenges which cannot be addressed by governments alone. Environment, over population and increasing demands on resources are just three other factors to add to the crazy puzzle which needs solving in the 21st century.

Man has done well to get this far, but his unique emotions of hope and faith may not be enough to get him much further. Still, we live in hope!

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October 21, 2010 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Dogs, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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