Posted by: Paul | October 19, 2010

Fright Club

I’d love to be able to tell you where I’m posting from today, but it’s one of those I-could-tell-you-but-then-I’d-have-to-kill-you moments. First rule of Fight Club, is you do not talk about Fight Club.

Instead, I’ll talk a bit about what the entire nation is looking forward to with bated breath – tomorrow night’s Champions League clash between Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur. Before that though, we have the unfortunate chore of Chancellor George Osborne revealing the results of the government’s spending review, on which the fate of potentially 600,000 public sector workers jobs hang.

At least, that’s if you believe what you read, see and hear. The fact is, we don’t know yet what’s going to happen, or how it’s going to affect the country. Some are expecting seismic changes. Victoria Derbyshire on 5 Live’s current trail proudly announces it will affect every man, woman and child in the country.

At times like these, I have one question on my mind. Are the media trying to deliberately scare us? It certainly seems like it sometimes. Or is it that we’re merely being softened up, taught to expect the very worst so when the reality arrives it doesn’t seem quite so bad?

Over the past two weeks there has been the steady stream of managed leaks of some of the nuggets of information which is, the papers would have you believe, going to tear our lives apart. Chief among this is the announcement that child benefit will be cut off for those in the 40% tax bracket. This ill-thought out saving has caused great consternation in some quarters, with the curious anomaly that it could penalise a single mother earning £44k, while a couple with kids earning a total of £86k would continue to receive it.

In the light of the tendency to release information early in order to let people come to terms with it, is this the worst we can expect from the spending review? In all likelihood, no – because the true horrors will no doubt not be immediately apparent on October 20th 2010. It’s what will come further down the line which really counts – when local councils have had time to assimilate what they will need to do / cut in order to reach 25% budget cuts, and some of which will inevitably include redundancies.

So we gird our loins and wait. I understand the country’s in financial trouble, but can’t help but think that unless the tories are careful, they could damage the chance of recovery that everyone’s clinging to – and that’s perhaps the scariest thing of all…that and the lack of appetite to fine the banks and bankers who have exacerbated the financial crisis. That speaks volumes about where the government’s sympathies lie…


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