Friday, August 12, 2011

The Voice of an Angry Woman.

Spoke at length to a constituent today who left me speechless - in the sense that I had no answers - at least none that I felt it appropriate to offer. She just brought home to me the scale of punishment that is being handed out to people who have worked hard to raise a family without relying on the state.

My constituent is a successful schoolteacher earning just about enough to take her into the higher rate tax band. Her husband has taken on the role of caring for their three children. So they are going to lose all of their child allowance, knowing that other couples earning almost twice as much will be keeping theirs. She also pointed out that she will have to pay a lot more of her wages to fund her pension, and that she will have to work for longer before she receives it.

Now to that which, entirely reasonably, made her so angry that she decided for the first time in her life to raise her feelings with her MP. She knows people that live ever so comfortably on the state, spending the money she pays in taxes, and never giving a thought to working to earn their own money. And she's had to watch while bankers, with shameless greed, have pocketed billions in bonuses, after her taxes were used to bail them out following their spectacular incompetence. Like her and many before me, I do find these millionaire bankers to be like sewers - nauseating but necessary.

As I listened, I felt rather helpless. The issues she raised are way 'beyond my pay grade' to change. I could have pointed out that the previous Government so screwed up the economy that we have little choice but to take tough decisions to repair the mess - but I didn't. I do not think it would have helped. But when I listen to really hard working and responsible people telling me how it is, I feel sickened by the likes of Gordon Brown and Ed Balls and their economic 'clever dick' illiteracy refusing to accept any shard of blame for the appalling damage they inflicted on the British economy. Pray they never get the chance to do it again.


Jeff Jones said...

I would have some sympathy with the idea of 'clever dick ' illiteracy if the Conservatives had before 2007 being pointing out that they economy was going to hell in a hand cart. As long ago as 2002 Warren Buffett was pointing out that the way in which western capitalism was being financed by the growing BRIC economies was unsustainable. I mentioned to my own MP that he should read Larry Elliot's 'Fantasy Island' long before the rash. He looked at me bemused when I told him that the economy was unsustainable. Over the summer Glyn forget about the novels you mentioned to the Western Mail and read 'The Big Short' by Michael Lewis. It's an account of the individuals who made money by betting that house prices would fall in the USA. In parts it's amusing . But you begin to wonder why others didn't see that the King had no clothes on. Labour made mistakes but they were supported by the majority of mainstream politicians. But Brown and others got it right when the bubble burst. If we had followed the policies being advocated by Osborne which was basically to let market forces prevail the recession would have turned into a 1930s style depression. As for the teacher who must be in middle management I would tell her that the government's proposed pension reforms are right and fair. She will end up with a pension far greater than most. She should work out what size pension pot she would need if she had to rely on the stock market and annuities as many in the private sctor have to. Someimes MPs have to tell constituents that they really are talking nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Teachers have had a long run at gold plated pensions into which they only contributed a fraction of their true cost. They also receive regular pay checks without having to worry much about being laid off. All in all they are in a very comfy position compared to workers in the private sector many of whom are in considerable job related stress not of their making. It is time teachers took a pay cut and stopped acting like they are so hard done by.

Glyn Davies said...

Jeff - I just need to get away from serious things once in a while, and I do read thrillers on holiday. Read 4 in 4 days while at Garda. And I don't have to read any book to tell me how precarious the public finances are. Most small business people understand only too well, and always did.

My real sympathy with the teacher was the 'unfairness' of her loss of Child Benefit. She was the first person in that bracket where she will lose it while people earning almost twice as much will still receive it. I did say that the pension changes were inevitable.

Anon - not surprised you didn't put your name to that!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I left off my initals: cw

Anonymous said...

Well, since the last government and the current government has not heeded the need to close our trade imbalance with China et al it rather looks like the gold plated pensions held by teachers and other public workers will be hit hard by the 'bold faced' reality of a lack of emphasis and understanding In re trade imbalance. There's causal linkage between national debt and a chronic trade deficit situation which has been going on for TOO LONG.

At some point (hopefully) the Conservative Party leadership will catch on because merely making huge cut-backs is not going to fix this issue.

We need a national focus on innovation led exports, but what have we got instead c/o the Conservative Party?

An announcement of 500 million to be spend on medical research - fine in itself, but no emphasis on patent creation - so what will this spend do? Oh, will result in IP donations on a massive scale via publications in the learned journals which absent simultaneous patent filings will likely result in jobs created not in the UK, but in, yes, you guessed it China et al.

Just take a peek at the taxpayer funded monoclonal antibody fiasco wherein a couple of tax funded (via the MRC) invented MABs and published their findings without filing for patent protection.

End result: MASSIVE job creation outside the UK.

When is the CP going to learn these lessons?

Apparently not today.


D Pimborough said...

I certainly agree with the poor lady that the rues governing child allowance are unfair. However the old "previous Government so screwed up the economy" is turning in to a mantra much like that awful phrase "lessons will be learned" (when things go badly wrong).

I repect your position however the problem was and is world wide and I doubt Gordon Brown et al had much to do about sub prime lending in the USA or runaway credit both by national governments or the private individual worldwide.

The de-regualtion of credit started in the 80's a quote from George Soros(billionaire investor):
"The cause of the current troubles dates back to 1980, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher came to power, Soros said. It was during this time that borrowing ballooned and regulation of banks and financial markets became less stringent. These leaders, Soros said, believed that markets are self-correcting, meaning that if prices get out of whack, they will eventually revert to historical norms. Instead, this laissez-faire attitude created the current housing bubble, which in turn led to the seizing up of credit markets..."

Sorry but I just don't buy the whole "blame it on the previous govt. singular" The blame stretches accross many administrations both conservative and labour, and was more than a national problem and was in fact international in nature.

If the financial institutions had adopted a conservative posture in relation to lending instead of doling out credit to everyone then perhaps we would not have ended up in this mess.