It’s the end of the world as we know it?

As I sit here, dutifully waiting for the four horsemen of the apocalypse to come charging over the Tividale hills ushering in the end of humanity and the subsequent reports in our staunchly independent mainstream media that it’s all Gordon brown’s fault. I thought I’d shy away from my usual in-depth approach and jot down a personal perspective on life as it stands at this current point in time.

I’ve learned from passing the news stands in the supermarket and corner shops around these parts over the past six months or so that our country is so over-crowded with immigrants that no one can get a doctor, dentist, delivery suite for giving birth or a place for said offspring when they reach school age.

On top of that the economy is tits up, our houses are going to be worth less than the price of a Pot Noodle by the end of the year which of course due to soaring inflation in the cost of food will stand at somewhere around £5,000 come the time the big red suited one descends for his annual distribution of Chinese manufactured toys – should said toys get here because oil will cost $10,000 a pint and the freight companies will have all gone bust.

OK, a little exaggeration there but you get my drift. Everything is getting worse and in case you didn’t know, it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault because he’s Scottish.

So for a little perspective here’s my rundown of various personal experiences of late which either means that 1, all this stuff in the media is rubbish, or 2, the little bit of the world I inhabit (Willenhall, little town in the Black Country) has broken with the old space time continuum and shuffled off to a different dimensional plane.

Getting an NHS dentist isn’t hard, I’m about to change mine, no hunting around, calling up numbers from the Yellow Pages like J.R Hartley only to be told sorry. There’s plenty of availability.

My GP surgery at least the last time I went there a few weeks ago had a sign up inviting new patients to sign up with them.

Last year I had a minor op, removal on ingrowing toenail. Waited 5 weeks to have it done. Bit of mild discomfort while I waited but nothing too bad that required anything like regularly taking pain-killers. Back in the early 1990′s my second-cousin-in-law waited nearly two years in agony for kidney stones to be removed which led to over dependence on pain killers and substantial time off work. Yep, health service has obviously got worse under Labour.

Apparently expectant mothers are being turned away from maternity wards because they’re full or understaffed. Well, I can highly recommend Wolverhampton New Cross hospital as a place to give birth. The wards were half empty, service was great and Mrs Penguin was well impressed by the food. Far better than anything you’d get in the pseudo-private-insurance funded system in Germany – which incidentally cost a damn site more to run than our own good old NHS. On a side note to that, the neo-natal facilities have all been done up since we had Little Penguin and are a darn sight better now than even two and a half years ago but shush, don’t tell anyone, things getting better in the health service, we can’t have that now can we?

When the little Penguin’s are due to start their academic career there’s plenty of school places knocking around. The most likely destination for them, the newly built (with lots of investment dosheroonies from the Labour Government) but admittedly built in the most stupid of places thanks to the local Tories and LibDems’ has, the last time I checked only about 70% of it’s capacity filled. Much like most of the schools across the borough to the extent that you can bet the newly wishy washy Cameroonian Tories will find a way of closing a few to save money. Not that they’re penny pinching bureaucratic minded micro-managerial types of course.

I’ve never quite understood the British obsession with house prices. I’m assuming it’s a British trait and perhaps would make a good question for one of those nationality/citizenship tests. “Will you worry constantly about the capital value of your house?” Answer yes, you’re in, answer no, well you’re not really British enough, please sod off.

For the last few years we’ve had a media banging on about how house prices are so high young people can’t get on the ladder. Not to mention it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault for letting in all those Polish people in the first place. Now prices aren’t rising at rates vastly above the rate of wage inflation and Ministers get spotted with papers indicating they might fall by between 5-10% by the end of the year which you never know, might actually make them a bit more affordable to first time buyers, and the world’s gone to pot.

My house is my home. I actually don’t care if my little two bedroom Victorian terrace is worth £50,000 or £100,000. It’s irrelevant if said other persons comparable property is worth the same and if the differential between property prices narrows it actually makes it easier and more affordable to upgrade, not that I’m planning to.

Apparently there’s a credit crunch going on, its impossible to get loans for mortgages or anything else and our whole economic system built on the procurement of debt is going to grind to a halt.

This is weird to me. I’ve been inundated with offers for loans and credit cards the last few months, far more than normal. Every time I go to the bank, building society or post office I get the question have you got a mortgage, would you like to switch to us or take out a loan?

As it happens, I am planning on switching my mortgage, have to sort out a few things but all told I should be shaving about 13% off my monthly payments which is nice. What was that about credit crisis again?

I’m torn but as far as I can tell, ably abetted by large swathes of the media we seem to be talking ourselves into a recession. Employment is higher than ever, unemployment continues to fall, the currency is pretty steady, interest rates are low. I may have missed something, and this is probably all Gordon Brown’s fault that he simply can’t do a recession properly but what happened to the good old days when the Tories were in.

They knew how to do a proper recession. Millions on the dole, interest rates at 15%, the pound collapsing in value overnight. Now that’s how to do a recession properly. Never mind, let’s hope the Tories get back in, after all they’ve got David Cameron who was an apprentice to Norman Lamont (the true master of buggering up economies) so I feel rest assured that when the Tories win the next general election we’ll have a proper recession and none of this wussy New Labour imitation stuff. Did I mention it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault, he can’t even get recession’s right.

So there we have it. This is not dismiss that there are real issues at the moment, many of which are hurting some of the most vulnerable in our society. Energy costs and as a direct consequence of them the cost of food. These are rising above the rate of inflation and those on fixed incomes like pensioners and people of benefits will be hit. Of course the rising cost of energy has nothing whatsoever with rip-off wholesalers like Centrico, conflict in the world, or the general inability to keep up with demand while supply gradually runs out. It is of course all Gordon Brown’s fault, I don’t understand why people don’t get that?

2 thoughts on “It’s the end of the world as we know it?

  1. I’ve been saying to people for sometime now – If you talk yourself into a ‘depression’ you’ve only got yourself to blame. The MSM is leading the talk, they speak of a growth 0.5% less than predicted. Um, that’s still a growth isn’t it? The credit crunch is the bankers own fault, I don’t have any credit (well ok sometimes I use a tab at the pub). I still get asked to apply even when my Experian credit rating is non-existant, I have not used any form of lending since 2000. If the banks cannot keep their own house in order, then they deserve to go to the wall. I personally blame Thatcher and her “everyone should be homeowners” bollox – no other country has the level of owner occupiers in the world, let the lazy rich buy the property and rent it from them. It’s a long way cheaper than buying and when you boiler dies etc. your landlord sends a man around to fix it, gratis. Having said all that I realise as a singleton with no dependants I can enjoy my carefree life, but really it was just one or two generations ago when a working man in debt was talked about. At which point did we lose track of that?

    PP – great to see you back blogging, hope all is well at Penguin Towers.

  2. Thanks for that poons. You’re right about the strangely disproportionate nature of owner occupier rates in the UK compared to other countries. I’ve never quite understood that a country that constantly talks about labour market flexibility has a paradoxical tendency towards probably the biggest barrier to people’s ability to up sticks and move somewhere else for work, that of being tied down to a property.

    I think we have a rather lax approach to debt in general here but this is built on a system where readily available credit is something we’re used to.

    I remember a friend of mine applying for a credit card from his bank in Finland. Didn’t matter that he had a pretty well paid job, they wouldn’t agree to it. I think in the end he did get one but the limit on it was something in the region of£250 which given that mine is somewhere around £10,000 and I’ve never earned anything like he did probably says it all.

    I’m personally quite happy to live my life free from debt. My mother always said there are only two things in life worth taking out a loan for, one is a house, the other is car. I have a house on loan and don’t own a car and that suits me fine.

    As th Penguin household watches German TV most of the time it’s telling that I’ve never seen anything like the “take a loan out to cover your debts or go on holiday or buy that new sofa” type that used to dominate daytime television here. Do they still? Haven’t watched UK daytime TV in years?

    Sadly though it’s the most vulnerable in society that get targeted. We had a Littlewoods catalogue come through the door the other day. Never had one before but flicking through, these catalogue companies that thrive on higher purchase agreements have distinctly higher prices to start with.

    I think I spotted two items, an iPod Nano for £55 and a Philips 32″ TV for £550. Both of which I know I could get for £32 and £450 respectively and that’s off the shelf without even hunting for bargains.

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