Political Edge

Gordon Brown promised me that the recession would be over by 2011. I listened earnestly as Alistair Darling reassured me that the economy would grow by 1.25% in 2010. However, just days later I was crushed by the Treasury Committee, who responded by saying with deep breaths that “we need to be realistic.” The National Institute of Economic and Social Research says that the economy will shrink by 4.3% in 2009. It’s pretty obvious that the future of the world economy looks grim and we are powerless to stop it.

However, there is hope. One New Yorker took her economic fate into her own hands and, over six years, managed to steal over $12 million worth of gold. Dubbed ‘Goldfinger’ by the American press, she hid jewellery and gold bullion in the lining of her handbag and snuck it out when she left the office each day. The impressive thing is that they only noticed in January when they decided it might be a good idea to do an inventory check. I imagine they were quite surprised to find the light-fingered 50-yea- old with 850lbs of stolen gold in her apartment.

For those who hope to survive these turbulent economic times whilst avoiding grand larceny, there are other ways that enterprising students have been saving money. Pubs are complaining that tomato ketchup sachets and sugar packets are being stolen in record numbers. I tend to favour the policy of cutting back on essentials to save money for luxuries. For example, don’t buy fruit; a bottle of vitamins is far cheaper in the long run and then you have enough money to go out.

Anyway, back to business, which was a discussion on the budget, in case you hadn’t noticed. The 50p income rate of tax probably won’t do very much as most of the really rich people targeted will just move their money. Local businesses such as pubs are already doing badly and raising tax on beer and cigarettes will reduce overall demand.

An extended holiday on stamp duty may be helpful but, given the relatively high prices of houses anyway, it will be ineffective for the majority of the population. What else? Oh, the government’s futile attempts to get the UK’s failing car industry back on its feet will cost far more than the 12,600 cars are worth. It might be time to let that industry go, Gord.

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