In the real World, life is a slog and things don’t come easy. The British know this and I am sure that our natural grit will carry us through the tough months ahead. There isn’t a bottomless pit of money for individuals or governments and we need to get back to “being sensible” – spending less, paying off debt, trying to save a bit. We all know Britain has borrowed too much nationally and individually. It is time for a break from the culture of “spend, spend, spend.”
Old Labour bankrupted Britain in the 1970s. Many are asking if the current Government are taking us down that road again. Ministers used to boast they had ended “Boom and Bust”, but now we face recession, partly as a result of their excessive borrowing and lack of banking supervision. In their World, the economic problems we face came from America – and there were no mistakes made here. They will spend taxpayers’ money to create jobs, they claim, and by borrowing further eye-wateringly large amounts of money. They are encouraging us to keep spending even more borrowed money. Sensible Britons know that simply throwing taxpayers’ money at this situation is foolish. “Make-work” schemes are no substitute for real jobs. The recent VAT cut from 17.5% to 15% was never going to stimulate the economy when discounts of 30% or more were already on offer in the high street. I also challenge the morality of encouraging people who have already “maxed out” on credit to borrow even more.
As we face difficult times, perhaps we will be drawn to think more about what really matters in life. Over Christmas, many people told me that although they spent less, they enjoyed their valuable family time even more. The main TV Channels helped in the Christmas run-up with the “X-Factor” and “Strictly” Finals and some other good programmes. Apparently, we are watching in record numbers. The new Eurovision show seems promising too.
Many people take their view of life from the papers and TV, but good news is often in short supply. Throughout the year, I see people with problems and try to help, but I also visit projects run by volunteers and charities and see some of the work done by local churches. I meet young people at schools and when they raise issues with me. I visit local businesses. Overwhelmingly, my impression is that people are good and keen to help one another through, as they always have. We will need that spirit over the coming months.