Thursday, December 05, 2013

Between the Tides

Merry Christmas from 1974
I've an eye on the tides over the coming twenty-four hours.

While we won't see the storm battering Scotland, the Met Office is warning about higher than normal tides along the East coasts, driven by the wind and we may see some stronger wind-blown tidal flow towards our small exposed part between Sheppey and Margate in the early hours of tomorrow. Margate today. is presently giving a high tide of 5.2m at 13:30 today according to my handy iPhone app, so nothing unusual there.

Thursday has a full meeting of the Council and it remains to be seen whether this will be used as an opportunity to play havoc with the meeting by the usual independent suspects. It will also be interesting to see if Cllr Worrow makes an appearance as he's not been seen since being interviewed in connection with an allegation which remains the subject of a police investigation. I did try and table a question to Cllr Fenner in regard to the position of our Diversity Champion in such circumstances but it was rejected.

Instead, I have asked the Council's Deputy Leader, Cllr Alan Poole, whether residents can be confident of an efficient and uninterrupted rubbish collection service between now and the New Year. The new regime, as many residents will be aware, has caused a barrage of complaints and I'm sure we are all keen to to be reassured that the teething problems are over.

Today, is the Chancellor's autumn statement and of course, everyone will wish to know if he's done anything to address the rising cost of living. One thing he will be doing, is raising the pension again by the 2030s because our Government and that of every other EU nation, is quite unable to meet the eye-watering commitments of a pension system invented after the Second World War and which assumed then, that most men would not live much beyond the age of 68.

Today it's very different and in 25 years, given rapid advances in medicine and science we may expect to live much longer; that's if millions of people learn not to smoke, drink to excess or indeed consume too many saturated fats; only about 15% of health outcomes are determined by health care and the remainder is down to lifestyle choice. As cancer takes one in three of us in the end and treatment is becoming increasingly effective, short of finding a magic pill, we can expect, statistically, to be enjoying a longer retirement than any other generation in human history. Someone has to pay for that and in particular, the cost of maintaining an NHS, which will have to expand to treat all those post-war 'Baby boomers' like me, who are fast becoming 'Golden oldies.'

Watching TV this morning over breakfast and the predictable 'Vox-pop' by the news channels, it remains depressingly clear, that most people have such a restricted view of the underlying conditions which have led to the present cost of living crisis, that they appear to believe there's a quick answer which may involve some form of economic black magic. Those of us here that study these things with interest, know very well that there isn't and while the good news of a growing economy is reason for optimism, we know the recovery is going to have to be sustained until at least 2020, simply to offset the financial crash of 2008.

We are moving from a society based on the pretense that everyone is given a reasonable standard of living to a society in which most of us will be expected to fend for ourselves, much more than any generation since the 1960s.

So, nobody can really make promises for the General Election of 2015. Politicians can either tell you the truth, that times are tough and will remain so until a stable recovery point is reached or they can spin an Orwellian yarn, promising a return to the generous and unsustainable welfare conditions that existed before this Government, cynically pandering to the millions in denial and which they know full-well, can't be delivered without plunging the nation back into deeper Greek-style debt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and I wonder which of those two options Labour will choose...

will be interesting to hear Alan Poole reply - but does anyone believe anything he says anymore?