Not a day for good news. The price of Gold finally reached the watershed $1,000 an ounce and there's the warning from Tony Woodley of the Unite Union that a British car maker is in imminent danger of failure, with the subsequent loss of 6,000 jobs. Channel 4 News appears to think it may be Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire but regardless of which one it is, the motor industry globally is now in dire straits, with Saab today announcing it is to go into protective administration from its creditors.
This week, I heard Lord Digby Jones warn that the financial crisis may stimulate the rise of the BNP and before the week was out, the BNP have had a shock council election victory in a Swanley, a safe Labour seat. We aren't talking Brick Lane here, it's a 'leafy' Sevenoaks after all and both main political parties must be hoping it's a temporary political abberation, like a sudden meteor strike. But I'm not so sure and we need to understand why this happened and respond to it in a positive manner before we start seeing similar results elsewhere in the country.
The UK stock market was plumbing the depths today and in New York the Dow Jones fell to its lowest point since the Internet bubble burst in 2002. I can remember that quite well, because I was taking part in a TV series, where, together with six other contestants, I was given a virtual sum of £100,000 to invest and the object of the game was to see how much profit one could realise in twelve weeks.
Using my knowledge of technology stocks, I came in second with £480,000 (I think) and announced that I was going to buy a virtual yacht with my winnings but only a matter of weeks after the programme, the value of that same portfolio dropped to around £22,000 as the Internet and technology market came to grief!
I'm getting a similar kind of feeling about the state of the economy at the moment but the worry factor is even greater. One person I know has even predicted that Government may one day announce a withdrawal limit on National Savings but I think that's very unlikely or put another way, we would be so far up the financial creek without a paddle that it probably wouldn't matter if they did.
I read in the Gazette today the story that the council is too mean or worried to webcast the council meetings. What a load of tosh! It's an old story and one I looked into when I started as a councillor.
If you want your council meetings webcast then it's not cheap. We aren't discussing a three minute YouTube clip but a fully duplex high bandwidth facility piped into the offices in Cecil Square. Those readers with a more intelligent grasp of the challenge than the hacks (pictured) at the Thanet Gazumph will realise that paying £15 a month for their 8mb broadband connection is cheap because the 8mb only goes one way. Ask your ISP for 8mb upstream and you'll be paying rather more than your monthly charge.
Now extrapolate that as bandwidth in and out of the council offices and you'll realise that live webcasting invariably comes with a hefty bandwidth bill. So the simple choice is do you want your council meetings televised and if you do are you happy to pay for it or see one of the other council services cut-back to finance it. At this time in our history, I believe we have more urgent priorities to spend our dwindling budget on.