Saturday, November 14, 2009

Briefly Inactive

If you visit you'll have a good picture of what the weather is doing today.

Lots of larger ships sheltering off the Margate Roads now and I would expect to see some structural damage. A little earlier, while I was out in Westgate buying a paper, the road works signs scattered across the street and I found myself stopping the traffic while I dragged them back to lie flat against the pavement kerb.

Reading the Thanet Gazette I once again marvel at the incisive quality of the journalism. If three passers-by and an ageing Corgi, picked at random, were asked for an opinion on any local topic any reader might be forgiven for believing that the answers represented a groundswell of public opinion. If there's any doubt of course, then look for the regular letter from Westgate's Mr Muir and his one-man campaign against MP Roger Gale. Is the Gazette, I wonder, so short of good letters that they give his opinions space, week-in and week-out? Is he now a regular columnist I wonder?

On today's news, we hear that 21% of the total population are now economically inactive. For the younger generation looking for work inside this oveall figure, this is apparently the highest since records began. Reading the local paper, which publishes the size of the budget deficit facing your local council, I'm again struck by the evidence that neither Labour nor Independent councillors quoted in the pages appear to fully grasp the seriousness of the picture facing this country. One of the latter told me recently that he was convinced that the council had money hidden away somewhere that would fund the schemes he wanted. I'm not sure the paper understands the size of the problem either. You can slice and dice costs as much as you like but in the end, Government are not going to deliver the money we need, simply to stand still, that annual 60% of the cake which balances the 40% raised in council tax.

Let's look at this another way perhaps. I read yesterday that to afford a family an income of £25,000 a year is required; unless of course you happen to be one of the 100,000 or so families that receive up to £25,000 in benefits. Now imagine that the family income is cut to £22,000 and possibly down to £20,000 and that's roughly where we are in local government today. Without a doubt, any household extravagancies can go, any holidays; Sky TV perhaps and more but with bills going up there are much tougher decisions to be made simply to stay afloat.

The weather outside is now so bad that Sky News has given up the ghost as the satellite signal can no longer reach through the rain clouds. I think I'll settle down with my Amazon 'Kindle' reader. I have to confess that two weeks in to using an electronic book, it's quite changed my reading habits in a way I couldn't have imagined before. The convenience of having a best-seller delivered electronically, within seconds of ordering it from the Amazon website is remarkable and the shape of things to come. For any readers who might wish to try it, you can download the reader software for the PC and the Apple iPhone, free from the Amazon website.


Tony Beachcomber said...

There is one thing that really concerns me as to why the price of Gold is continuing to rise,and who is buying it and why ? Considering most of the cash for gold on the television is being refined into bullion and sold as quick as it is being produced. It does make me wonder what some people really know about the wider economy.

DrM. said...

Apparently it's India. The national bank is buying-up huge amounts of Gold and driving up teh price!

Michael Child said...

Any pictures of the storm damage Simon? We were fairly well protected from it here in Ramsgate, the only significant thing I noticed was that an illuminated adverting board on the end of one of the harbour bus shelters was blown out, fortunately the debris didn’t hit anyone As the electric wiring is now exposed and still turned on have you any idea who to report it to?

Anonymous said...

I passed Wetwood Cross on Saturday evening at around 6.30pm where the traffic was running very slowly past as the fire brigade were busily shoring up a Marks and Spencer sign which could have been about to fall off. I guess this was wind related.

Call me Infidel said...

re the price of gold another factor keeping the price up is the Chinese government buying small amounts when there is a dip in the price. Unlike Gordon Brown the Chinese know what they are doing. They do not openly state they are buying as this would push the price up. Conversely to pre announce a gold sale the way Brown did tends to depress the price. The other factor in the gold price is the weakness of the US dollar. The Chinese saddled with trillions of relatively worthless dollar bills are exchanging them for something more tangible.

Mr Friday said...

I think the reason why the Roger Gale issue is winding a few people up is his (and his wives) constant harping about the potential change of rules which will mean he cannot employ his wife. Neither of them get as excited and vociferous about real issues that affect his constituents day to day. I'm not trying to cause mischief as I voted for him but it does get a little tiresome.

DrM. said...

I was in a constituency surgery with Roger last week, when Ch4 News were chasing him for more comment on the same story, as were BBC News SE and he declined to cooperate.

I think part of the issue here is that he has taken a stand on MPs being able to employ their wives as they have done since time immemorial and nobody denies that Suzy Gale works extremely hard.

His stand attracted considerable publicity and rather more than his views on local topics which are less interesting to the national media.

Now I know from experience how diligently Roger Gale supports his constituents and bear in mind that because of the previous unpleasantness from the Gazette, a year or so ago, there is little or no coverage from our local paper on the good he does. In fact, it's like finding a good news story about anything vaguely Conservative in the Thanet Gazette.

Mr Friday said...

I have no problem with MP's employing family members providing that they are paid the going rate for the job they are employed for. If a MP's assistant gets paid £40k a year then I would expect them to be doing an awful lot more than an average PA who would probably get half of that.

I have no argument with Roger Gale. I am a Conservative voter but he must get a bad press as ll I can recall him making the papers for in the last few years is the current issue and something about dogs but I can't remember what that was all about ! Oh, he was going on once about overcrowding on trains but I couldn't take that seriously as he gets his rail fares paid for and travels first class.

Anyway, who reads the IOTG ? It's a load of rubbish which invariably finds its stories from blogs like this and others !!