If you have read a good balance of the reporting and commentary on yesterday’s budget, you will have realised by now that this was a political budget. The Chancellor and his puppet-master know that their stewardship of the economy has a maximum of 12 months to run and then , as is the fashion nowadays, the lecture and non-exec circuits beckon. There is light at the end of the tunnel for some but unfortunately, not for all.
There is no point in raking through the coals of yesterday’s return to Old Labour and the 21st Century embrace of the Politics of Envy.
“Let’s do the rich!”and the great unwashed and the slack-jawed champagne Socialists will most likely follow. Trouble is that the great unwashed is fast becoming the great unemployed and Tony Blair’s Champagne Socialists (teachers, media people etc.) are now more Cava Sippers than being able to afford the real thing. Some have even moved to pink Zinfandel!
The Budget was delivered with all the panache and conviction of a tortoise that knew that it would never catch the Conservative hare. And did you see the Hammer-horror grin that Brown’s face morphed into when Darling sat back down into the wet patch.
Cigarettes – √. Booze – √. – Petrol – √.
Let’s make it look as if we are going to upset the rich – “It’s always good to piss on their strawberries”. -√.
Oh yes – Pensioners – √.
Did you notice that the Chancellor looked a bit uncomfortable talking in mere pounds and pence. After all, he is used to lots of noughts now. When the scale of Government’s borrowing was announced there was a definite shift in the Earth’s orbit as economists’ scrotums shrunk to a tenth of their size – at the speed of light. Some may remain dysfunctional for years to come. Like the banks.
This was a Budget by Numbers when what was needed was a masterpiece. The trouble is that before this Government is run out of town, Chancellor Darling will touch up an already impossibly bad economic picture with another Budget. What was that Chris Rea song? Oh yes – The Road to Hell.
You may be wondering why all seems to be well with the Banks – they should have all completed rehab by now and should be ready to score us some readies. Their Social Worker – otherwise known as the Treasury is telling us that they still need a bit of time to regain confidence. That is why they are currently being fed a “money substitute” through the medium of quantitative easing.
How is it that a few of the big banks have declared such surreally fat profits? Have you never wondered why or how they seem to have been rehabilitated so quickly? They are still cooking the books, ignoring the fact that they are still insolvent. The difference is that now they are doing it with this and other Governments’ connivance. To put it simply – it is a world-wide con trick. There is naughtiness afoot.
If we knew the real figures, we would panic. The fact is that for every pound or dollar that the Banks once had in their coffers, they lent or gave away at least 50. They tied the modern Gordian Knot not with rope but with worthless paper and they have fashioned what appears to be the most complicated paper chain ever conceived. Currently they all owe each other billions because they screwed each over, many times over. The screwer was also the screwee and vice versa.
This has been institutional fraud carried out by banks on other banks and the only reason why they are not all standing in the dock is that there isn’t enough dock available.
The other important factor is that instead of doing what Alexander the Great did and cutting through the knot, Governments still think that they can untie it . If they carry on their random attempts, it could take a generation.
The banks have the Governments by the balls.
That brings us neatly to a rather pathetic silver-haired Edinburgh Solicitor predicting that we are soon to experience a recovery with a growth rate of 3.5%. That statement really is not worth commenting upon because of the poor man’s past record – which is similar to Russell Grant’s. In fact…………………………..
There are billions of pounds stashed away in funds, in banks and in insurance companies. That money belongs to us and many of us will have to wait years before we can get our hands on it. I am referring, of course to Pensions. Personal pensions, group pensions, small company pensions… they come in a hundred delicious flavours.
There was a time when someone leaving a company – whether voluntarily or otherwise could take their accrued pension with them. Let us say that the Chancellor announced that for the next two years, anyone being made redundant or who wanted to stop working could have all of their accrued pension immediately. What effect would that have.
Firstly, we would have “spenders” in the economy. who could provide a massive buying stimulus to all retailers. The Government would save on benefits because many of these individuals would suddenly have “savings”.
Secondly the institutions holding the pensions would not have to be “persuaded” to part with the money because if they refused, they would be breaking the law. And if the didn’t have the money, then we would all know.
Thirdly, employers would think twice before sacking anyone if they knew that they would not-only have to fund their redundancy pay but that they would also have to hand over accrued pension benefits.
Too simple? The alternative is to keep feeding the banks with money that we do not have and that has a time limit which is not as far away as we seem to think.