Skip to main content

Expect the unexpected

Today is budget day - expect the unexpected! Much of what will be in the budget has already been trailed in the media, but there will most likely be a rabbit of some sort that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will pull out of the hat. There is an election next year - indeed there are elections this year too. There will be the waving of order papers and cheering from the coalition back benches.

I will not and cannot speculate on what the rabbit will be. It will be some kind of give-away that will please the bulk of middle Britain and appease disgruntled Tory backbenchers.

There will be lots of talking about how solid the recovery is and what kind of recovery. Unemployment is tumbling and growth is strong - and there are more clear skies. Spring is bursting out all over. People will begin to feel better, and the Scots are more likely than not to vote to stay as part of the United Kingdom. That will make people feel better - won't it?

The coalition - or at least Cameron, Clegg and Osborne - are making plans for life after the election. The Guardian newspaper will no doubt once again find some reason to urge its readers to vote Liberal Democrat - oh yes, I think it will. They will put it together in some neatly considered editorial all about how 'on balance' - nice phrase, neat phrase, useful phrase - the coalition has been a success.  There has been no change of substance in the way we elect our representatives - hardly mentioned now by the Liberal Democrats, neatly forgotten - and no reform of the House of Lords. So we meander on as we did before.

Postscript

So what was the unexpected? It was the fundamental changes in the rules governing what you can and can't do with pension pots.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement

A weaver's tail - the harvest mouse

Living in the grass is a tiny mouse: the tiny harvest mouse, with a wonderful scientific name that sounds like the title of a Charles Dickens Novel,  Micromys minutus.   It is the only British mammal with a prehensile tail. It uses its tail to hold on to the slender grass stems, at the tops of which it builds a nest. Photo: Nick Fewing These tiny mammals (just around 5 cm long) build a spherical nest of tightly woven grass at the top of tall grasses, in which the female will give birth to about six young.  In the fields, we see cows and horses brushing away flies with their tails; often they will stand side-by-side and end-to-end, and help each other.  Two tails are better than one!  In nature, tails are put to good use.  Just as a tight-rope walker uses his pole for balance, so for some species, a tail provides balance. When running, a squirrel uses its tail as a counterbalance to help the squirrel steer and turn quickly, and the tail is used aerodynamically in flight.  But many anima