Thoughts for the Days Ahead

On the wireless tonight I heard that the campaign to scrap the August fuel duty rise had had the desired effect.  The Chancellor’s for turning, yet again.  I’m beginning to wonder if anything survives from that Budget that he Commended to the House just a few weeks ago.  This comes on the back of all those wonderful announcements we’ve had recently.  No housing benefit if you’re under 25 and should really be at home with mummy rather than out playing at houses and breeding, purely to extract benefits from the workers.

Is it just me that’s harking back to the 80s and dear old Maggie?  Is it just me that remembers the introduction of the Right to Buy; the start of the demise in our social housing stocks; the reason why housing benefit costs so much in paying the rents to the private landlords that own what once was our council houses.  Mr Cameron it seems that we are now reaping what your predecessors have sown.  I wonder if you ever stop to wonder how we got where we are today.

Still it was great to hear of your plans on the very day that the tory/lab/lib alliance launches its Bitter Together campaign, the one designed to keep us shackled to the corpse of Westminster.  The announcements of welfare cuts probably add to the Yes vote, so thanks for that.  Good timing.  Perhaps you neither knew nor cared what the others were up to that day.  In fact it sounded a bit like a manifesto, the start of a campaign.  I know the Coalition is less than secure, but nothing grabs these guys like power itself, and even I cannot see an early election being called.

I’ve heard much of Mr Darling’s plans, but impressed I am not.  My views are unchanged, hardened even.  There’s a detailed response to those soundbites that grabbed the headlines over at Newsnet Scotland.  I’ll put the link in later, but it is well worth a read, albeit a lengthy one, dispelling myths as it goes.

Fortunately I do not personally bank with RBS, for they seem to have created a bit of a mess lately, and we’re sure to find that reverberating right across the banking system for some time yet, as the full impact of missed payments becomes known.  I gather it was avoidable, if only they hadn’t paid off the experienced IT team and replaced them with fledglings in Chennai with no apparent knowledge or experience of they system they were trying to update and repair.  Progress, I guess.

Also in the news tonight was the announcement that the dualling of the A9 is to start two years ahead of schedule, but that, thanks to a 30% slashing in the capital spend budget, it will still take until 2025 to complete.  The accidents and fatalities on that road are reaching epidemic proportions, and as this family uses the road regularly, and often has journeys delayed in the aftermath of accidents, it is close to the heart.  But it was disappointing, though no less surprising to hear the blue tories try to make political capital, focussing on the 2007 election pledge to carry out that work, and to have the five year wait repeated endlessly on radio soundbites.  It was of course the same tories, along with their alliance with the red tories and the yellow tories, that caused that delay, doing so by forcing through expenditure of £500m on the Edinburgh Trams fiasco in a bid to bring down the fledgling minority government.

And once again I heard respected friends questioning the wisdom of making our own decisions.  It’s going to be a long two years, and until then we’ll be even more bitter together, I fear.  Time to grow a pair, to shed those fears.  Have a look at Paul Kavanagh’s article.

PS Here’s the link for that positive case for the union article, and another one on the state of NHS south of the border.  Think about it.



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