Monday, July 15, 2024
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What to do in hard times


BEING born in 1939, it is only natural for me to shake my head in disbelief as I read the many and varied reports online, and in the occasional newspaper, commenting on our government’s handling of financial affairs and other matters.  

I am struck by the apparent level of incompetence, not just of ministers, but seemingly of civil servants at high levels. Is it one of the many effects of Parkinson’s Law (expenditure always rises to meet the income), bureaucratic capture, corruption, or a combination of these? 

Take finance for example, where an individual can find themselves in difficulty through little or no fault of their own. Money troubles can be caused by redundancy, bereavement, or perhaps a family member urgently needing cash to cover some unexpected crisis.  

If the individual has been financially prudent, he or she will have an emergency fund to draw on. But even if they have such assets, they will almost certainly look to cut back spending until such time as they feel secure again.  

Such a thought as a cutback of spending seems inconceivable to MPs, government ministers and bureaucrats. Indeed, any individual who makes such a suggestion is accused of starving the NHS, or frontline workers, and so on.   

Yet in truth there appear to ordinary people many areas that spending could either be scrapped or at least severely cut back. Foreign aid goes to a host of countries, some of which appear to have little concern for the welfare of the UK.  

Do we really need to give taxpayers’ money to the arts? Or why not let the BBC rely on advertising and / or subscription? The Government could use any profits the BBC makes to pay back some of the huge debt accumulated during the pandemic.  

My earliest memories are from 1942, of being held by my father and watching a night-time air raid to the east of our home on Tyneside. The government debt for the Second World War was paid off eventually in 2006 (long after I had retired). If I remember correctly by a Mr Brown, wasn’t it?  

If I also remember correctly, it was the same Mr Brown who sold off much of the UK’s gold at about the same time. I wish I had been able to buy some of it – it would have helped my retirement a little to overcome the Government’s poor treatment of those of us let down by the Equitable Life compensation scheme. Or perhaps it could have helped those ladies who are members of Women Against State Pension Inequality. 

It seems the UK’s homeless are less important to our ‘elites’ than the need to signal their virtue to the world by providing first-class hotel accommodation to illegal immigrants. I do not blame the illegal immigrants, but our government gives them better treatment than those poor people who are born here. 

Will all this cost the Tories the next general election? The opposition parties currently in parliament do not inspire any confidence. Will potential new government parties emerge over the coming months?  

If a party or a coalition of parties does emerge, it will need to be brutally honest with the people about what needs to be done – and honest with itself. The need for huge cutbacks is evident. The difficulty is that a large number of people have a vested interest in all the areas supplied directly or indirectly with taxpayers’ money. 

Add into this mix the strong possibility of a major recession / depression during the next 12 months or so, along with moves by some countries to try to change from the current fiat / US dollar monetary system to one incorporating gold / silver, digital currencies, or commodities. The need for open-mindedness will be essential to arrive at answers and to prioritise which areas to cut first.   

What do I suggest? Perhaps as a short-term measure we could swop our Rishi for Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni – she seems very good. Sadly, I’m not too sure the Italians would agree to let her come. 

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Tom Odell
Tom Odell
Tom Odell is from a Tyneside socialist family, but became active in the Conservative Party after experiencing the Wilson government in the 1960s. He gave up Tory activism when David Cameron was elected. After a career in industry, he is now retired.

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