Skip to main content

Golden Brown

Listening to Gordon Brown’s budget speech, as a technology business, the category that he believes holds the key to the UK’s economic future; I’m struck by how far he misses the point or simply prefers not to see it.

The Chancellor speaks extravagantly about the need for 14 million skilled graduates and cutting edge technologies but fails to recognise the problematical link between these and the education required to improve the skills base he predicts we will need by 2020. Throwing more money at the recruitment of 3,000 more science and maths teachers and free 'A' level education for all is good, but does not truly address the fundamental malaise in education that ten years of this government has failed to solve. The British workforce has declining productivity and our record in the generation of science graduates is dismal, it’s going backwards.

Not only does Britain need a skilled workforce for the future but it needs a flexible and competitive one as well and writing from the position of having built-up a successful company, The Research Group, from scratch, in the eighties and nineties, I can say with some confidence that the barriers to doing the same again today are too great, in the shape of a small mountain of employers legislation and associated red-tape. In other words, government is making it more difficult to create the entrepreneurial business environment that it tells us we need.

But here’s the bad news. 4p on a bottle of wine, 1p on beer, 9p on fags but at least the inheritance tax threshold is raised to £325,000 if you are thinking of shuffling off this year. Gordon Bdid not mention the fact that this Budget adds £5.5bn to Britain’s tax bill – already the highest ever – over three years. Of this £5.5bn, £4.8bn was not even contained in the Budget measures announced today.

If you have a “gas-guzzling car” you are going to wish you didn’t but there is a new low rate of road tax for fuel and emission efficient cars of £0.

So nothing that I can see that is unusually dramatic and no mention of the health service, which would be embarrasing but as I write, beyond a commitment to keep public spending high on a year by year basis, which would be fine, if we could see any true signs of a return on investment for what has been squandered over the last decade on the NHS, education, crime and everything else we’re all concerned about.

Oh, and a final piece of good news, VAT has been slashed on condoms - it's true - so we should all go out and celebrate!

At the next budget, I’m guessing that Gordon will be Prime Minister.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!