Happy New Year – Or is it?
It’s been an interesting New Year so far and certainly far from dull. One snippet of news that came and went was the headline that MPs (some at least) believed they are worth more. A lot more it would seem. In fact 32% more; the YouGov survey for Ipsa concluded that some members of parliament were of the view that they deserved salaries on average of about £86,250; up from the current £65,738.
Most interesting it was the Tory MP’s who were firmly of the view that they we underpaid and we assume, undervalued and unloved. It did not end here though as there were some that took the view that £86k was still not enough and salary of the order of £96k was more in keeping with, we assume, their overinflated opinion of their importance.
It was cold comfort that Labour MP’s were more conservative in their opinion of themselves and thought that a figure of £77k was more realistic. Well that makes it OK then!
Meanwhile back in the real world that the rest of us inhabit, the New Year heralded more plans for austerity (it will work says Osborne – just give it time!) with cuts in benefits, public sector pay, pension entitlement and a debacle over what remains of the European community.
But take heart, Nick (Clegg) is protecting our interests and has ‘warned’ Dave that if he prolongs the debate over Europe then we will all suffer. After all if the relationship with Europe changes then we can have a referendum, by Law, and at the same time I assume, that many see Europe as the problem and not a solution. So now we are left with a real opportunity for the European dissenters to push for a referendum thanks to the Lib Dems intervention. I can almost see UKIP salivating at the prospect of getting their way- finally, and with legal authority to back them. But the only way that Dave can win a referendum, any referendum, is to ensure that the UK gets what it wants and show that it was a Tory victory. This way they can ditch the Lib Dems, we can stay in Europe on our terms and they can fight the next election on their own. A tall order and with UKIP breathing down their necks, the stakes are high.
It would appear that the ‘two man’ road-show with the nauseating clichés that we had earlier in the year is already beginning to be tested and the strain is beginning to show.
But as we see austerity bite in 2013 high street stalwarts are falling like nine pins. Comet, HMV, Jessops, and who is next; who will succumb to the lack of change in the pocket or e- retail patterns? But headlines of a high-street shakeup disguise the underlying trend for job losses in manufacturing and other sectors. Honda will shed 1100 and sackings in the City are at a five year high. (Mind you I doubt that too many will shed a tear over sackings in the City!) Nevertheless no matter where the losses occur they are still more for the dole queue and reliance on the ever dwindling state benefits system.
Is there a bright side to all this or are we now succumbing to the reality that is post celebration gloom and all the predictions are starting to come true that 2013 was going to be when things really got sticky?
Well, the weather has picked up!
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