We have George Osborne promising a council tax 'freeze' for next year with a reported 'saving of £72 for the average family, an announcement intended to assure the electorate that all is well in the fight against their ever rising bills. As Mark Wadsworth asks, will people really fall for this - a reduction in an in-your-face tax of £1bn whilst increasing stealth taxes (VAT and NI) by 20bn - and not notice? How long will people continue to accept ever increasing bills whilst the cost of foreign aid is set to continue? How long will people accept what amounts to a lowering of their lifestyles whilst continuing to be charged £300 per annum for EU membership? What is really hard to understand also is the public swallowing the myth, one that politicians are only too happy to continue, that council tax pays for all the services they receive, when in fact council tax only provides approximately 25% of a local authorities income stream. What is also hard to accept is that the media seem content to perpetuate this myth.
The Financial Times reports that the drive for deeper integration amongst eurozone member states is causing worry for those outside, with the possibility that those outside will become enmeshed with the eurozone as a result of what is decided within. That the European Commission is increasing their control of member states' national budgets is fact; likewise is fact that the avowed aim of the EU is that it's currency will be the euro. Regardless of the legalities involved - and we all know that the EU does not worry too much about legalities when it wants something - one does have to wonder how long it will be before those 'outside' will be told: Sorry, but you're now 'in'.
An article surfaces today in the Daily Telegraph, one reporting on excessive use of credit cards by the Health & Safety Executive, a move condemned by MPs who last night lambasted the watchdog for “squandering” taxpayers’ money. Odd that this is classified as squandering taxpayers' money yet they did not consider that the case when the expenses scandal became public knowledge; nor that of foreign aid, nor that of EU membership payments.
When wishing to obtain funds from a bank it is necessary to specify for what reason the funds are required and how they will be spent. It is about time that politicians were made aware that taxpayers are their bank and that they too have an obligation to inform us why they require our money and exactly how it will be spent. If only for this reason should our system of democracy be changed and an element of Richard North's "Referism", together with ideas outlined in my "Constitution" series of posts, be introduced.
A statement made today on twitter by @andyholland01 said that the sad truth about this govt is that none of them are very bright* and nobody in the media wants to admit it - how very true.
* Update: See what I mean?