|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
30 November 2015
|All Smoke and Mirrors
Chancellor Prince George, PM in-waiting, aka Prince Georgie, Georgie Boy,
Boy George is hiding behind a smoke screen smugly assuming he has duped
us. With the press announcing ‘the end of austerity’ on their front pages and
clearly complicit in the total illusion. Oh must we mention i-d-e-o-l-o-g-y driven?
Of course not. When the smoke eventually clears – possibly in five years – we
won’t even recognise Britain. But surely we’ll recognise Georgie Boy. Surely he
will still have that child’s hairstyle plastered to his little head.
Will Hutton in the Guardian: “There is no economic or social argument to justify
these arbitrary targets for spending and debt, especially when…the average 14-
year term of our government debt, has rarely been lower over the past 300
The Conservatives’ choice is driven by a refusal to see any merit in public
activity: in their worldview, the point of life and the purpose of civilisation is to
celebrate and protect the private individual, the private firm and private property.
The state should be as small as possible.
It has no role, say, in owning Channel 4 to secure public service broadcasting; it
will be privatised with scant care about its ultimate owner.
Equally, there was no point in holding the 40% stake in Eurostar, forecast to
generate more than £700m in dividends over the next decade and a good
payback for £3bn of public investment. Thus it was sold for £757m in March…to
get the sale through before the general election. You could only proclaim a £2.25
bn loss on the public balance sheet and the surrender of £700m of dividends as
a “fantastic deal for UK taxpayers”, as Osborne did, if you see zero value in
Weep for our country.” That says it all…
Fade to Black
So it’s all spend while you can. Did you fall for the Black Friday hype – literally?
The US vicious annual sport? Now that we are close to total Americanisation –
you know, from taking over prestigious high streets to TV to holidays – now we
have four days of Black Friday. The very purpose/origins of holidays – gone; so
it’s all about money, greed, materialism, capitalism – oh add a few please. We
still have Cyber Monday and Boxing Day, so ha America.
This year’s frenzied shoppers started queuing in the US at 4am and then literally
brawled and beat each other up to the incitement of cheering crowds. Cheery.
One shopper grabbed a vegetable steamer from the arms of a little girl. Wait. A
veggie steamer? Not an enormous flat screen telly then? Women head-butting
(always so attractive), hair-pulling, shrieking expletives at each other. What’s not
to like? Arrests followed the altercations, particularly when police were
intentionally assaulted. Really.
We tried it last year, well, perhaps not quite with the imported US enthusiasm,
but this year we’ve gone British. No more human pileups as the doors were flung
open. When the stores opened at midnight, no queues, no massive mayhem -
they were nearly empty. Everybody ordered on line. The stores tried to set new
code of etiquette: how long a shopper can browse, how many are let in with
security to hand. But it wasn’t necessary; no punch-ups this Black Friday.
No More Leftists
Tube escalator etiquette is being threatened. Oh no! No! Not sacred tube
escalator etiquette! Megaphones have been ordering commuters to “stand on the
left”. Right. A habit since 1915 I might add.
One of the busiest stations, Holborn, has begun a three month trial to persuade
passengers to move to the left. The 23.4metre-long escalator, 60 steps, one
minute ten second ride has 56 million people a year passing through.
Commuters have called the trial ‘unnatural’.
The left-right rule is observed by 90 per cent. It’s that 10 per cent that sets eyes
rolling, tut-tut mutterings. You always want to say to that little family gathering
blocking your way, that couple pressed next to each other “you’re not from here
Now you know that it isn’t just the escalators in the underground, in department
stores that require the left-right divide. Argos in Liverpool has created ‘fast
lanes’. Ah. Just those very words. Evidently half of British shoppers get annoyed
with ‘slow walkers’. Half? Really? Trials might start in London. Can’t wait.