Sunday, 30 November 2008

Diana Watch

It’s mostly Gypsy children. Oh my God, they’ve killed Batman! Well Bruce Wayne anyway. He leaps on to a helicopter in which some bloke who claims to be his father, despite his father being murdered when Bruce was only a child, the trauma setting him on the road to cloaked vengeance, is trying to get away after shooting Batman. The helicopter is brought down and in the final frame we see a fallen, crushed and splattered body of a Batman. The writer says Bruce will suffer “a fate worse than death”, ooh, enigmatic, well no not really, I’m pretty sure he means that Bruce will be left disabled. Is this the end of Batman? No, probably not but who will take over? Is it time for me to reveal my secret identity? My penchant for rubber suits? And I have a basement, not as big as the bat cave I admit, but it is a basement.

Always up to date and on the pulse of the modern world The Vatican has said that has “forgiven” John Lennon for his “more popular than Jesus” outburst sometime during the 60’s. Well, yes it has taken 40 something years to make themselves sound important and as if they matter but this is remarkable speed when you compare it to the really rather sluggish 400 years they took to say sorry to Galileo after he discovered that the earth went round the sun. He was forced by the Church to withdraw his claims and the work based on them and then spent the rest of his life under house arrest, luckily he was right and was proved so and the heliocentric view of the universe has been excepted for, well if we’re honest, 400 years, about 5 minutes after he told someone about his idea.
Speaking of over reaction, some Tory bloke called Andrew Lansley, he might be a health spokesman, wrote on his blog that recession might actually be good for us, health wise. As we tighten our belts, so his argument goes, we spend less money on smoking and drinking by doing it less and we walk more to save money on petrol. Oh the out-cry. Oh the ridiculousness of the arguments. The man was making a good point I think but he was forced to take the blog down because of the fuss that was being made be the sorts who like being offended so that they can get into a lather and bash a political opponent. Not only do I think that he was making I good point, hard as it is for me to agree with a Tory, but I would go a little further, not only is it good for our health it’s good for our souls. It makes us focus on what we have and what we need, on what makes us feel good and not on things that we would like. Not those transient things that make us feel good for a few minutes, like shopping. If you are interested, yesterday, Saturday, was “buy nothing day”, how did you do? I bought 2 tickets for a National Trust property and a nice lunch so I didn’t do that well, ah well. Oh and I bought some sherbet fruits, umm sherbet fruits.

And so we came to the Pre-Budget Report (PBR). A quick summary of the situation, the banks have no money, you have no money. You have no money because you got a mortgage that you couldn’t afford a couple of years ago and your bank sold your debt to another bank and now you can’t afford your mortgage, the bank that bought your debt will loose up to 10 times as much, why we will never know. Now, consumers, you and me, have too much debt, about 1 trillion pounds, and at the beginning of 2007 the banks were lending irrationally to people who couldn’t afford it. So how does the government want to counteract the looming recession? For you and me to spend more and for the banks to get back too lending at 2007 levels. Oh dear, not really thought though this plan is it?
The PBR was a missed opportunity. Some have claimed that it was bold. If it was bold I am made of chocolate and, having just bitten my thumb nail, I can confirm that I am not. The lack of boldness in the speech meant that the headlines on the papers the next day could focus on the tax rises in 2011 on not the things that will happen now, the reduction in VAT to 15%, oh gee thanks, or the section about small businesses getting longer to pay their tax bill etc, now that is a good idea but really, when all things are considered, not that much to talk about. Government money for insulating homes, good green thing, and more government money for building roads, bad green thing.
Quite clearly in the statement was a commitment from Alistair Darling on how the rather weak tax changes were to be paid for but the Tories seemed to have missed that bit because that’s all they went on about, well for a day or 2 anyway. All they went on about was the “tax bombshell” that we were supposed to be surprised about, no, I listened to the speech and it was quite clear, some tax cuts now and then a rise to 45% on income tax on the top 1% of earners and a small rise in National Insurance contributions. I seem to have got it, why hasn’t George “what a nice yacht” Osborne? But my favourite part of the Tory attack was the “they thought about raising VAT to 18.5%” thing. What happened was a document was accidentally published on a government website that showed that discussions had been had an how to raise some money in 2011 and one of the ways considered was a rise in VAT to 18.5% but then discounted but the Tories went on and on and on about it. Why on earth was this an angle of attack? Really, it was pathetic and unhelpful to the necessary level of debate.

Just quickly I want to mention the American Governments decision to bail out some of the major car makers in the U.S. Now, in most reports about this story they have run a quick history of the car manufactures and most of them said that the car companies were making cars that people didn’t want to buy. Why then does the government bail them out? Is this not the why of the market? The Darwinian survival of the fittest companies. Has this not been the policy of the world for the last 30 years? Your company makes things that no one wants to buy than you go under, I’m very confused Charlie Brown.

And now to the awards,

The Award For Just Not Giving Up, For Trying And Trying And Trying Again,

This goes to Anthony Knott. This is a man who lives near here, in Sturminster Newton, and is a farmer. This is irrelevant to the story really but it’s all nice detail. In 1980 rode a horse in his first race. This week he finally won a race. It has taken him 28 years but he has finally done it. He is now planning on retirement.

Only the one award this week. Hopefully we will be going to see the comedian Mark Steel this week, which will be nice. Please keep thinking about the list of good people because so far I have had nothing from you lot. Have a good week xx

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