Postmans' Knock

The postman had to remind me this morning that it wasn't Sunday. "It's OK," he said, "I almost forgot as well" and so thankfully, I avoided waking the family up in time for church.

After a while, the Christmas holiday starts to resemble the film, 'Groundhog Day'. There's still half a Christmas pudding left under cling film and the cream is reaching its sell-by-date and so someone has to make that final gesture of selfless courage and eat it. The two bottles of good Irish whiskey present me with a rather more difficult challenge before work starts on Monday.

The New Year is hardly hours old before all the political parties are starting their pre-election campaigns. I caught the LibDems Chris Hulme this morning taking a thinly disguised class-war swipe at David Cameron over Conservative plans for inheritance tax reform, suggesting it was a cynical ploy to pander to his rich friends and George Osborne's.

Curiously enough though, the BBC ran a programme on Radio 4, a couple of weeks ago where the balance of the taxation contribution in our economy from both rich and poor was investigated. I was quite astonished to discover the remarkable degree to which the wealthier members of our society, (anyone earning over £50,000 pa) through taxation, already subsidise the broad majority who are the net beneficiaries of welfare. The economists clearly warned that the 'Class War' epithet was a political myth and that the LibDems 'Mansion Tax' plans and more risked pushing the system beyond breaking point. Like policing, taxation is only possible through consensus and it has to be sensible, fair and pragmatic across the entire society. Skewing this to penalise the more successful, could simply drive us back to the 1970s and a position where people and businesses simply leave the country.

Regardless of political affiliation however, there's a huge gap in the public finances to be filled and simply squeezing the so-called 'rich' isn't going to achieve it. Britain is going to have to learn to live within its means and for many families, this is going to come as a terrible wake-up-call after so many years of experiencing life in one of the most generous welfare states in the world.

Meanwhile and on a  lighter topic, here's a Rory Bremner sketch that you may not have seen.

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