Well I couldn't believe it yesterday (Wednesday) when I turned the car engine on at 7.30 am and turned on the windscreen wipers to remove the dew to find a' shushing' noise as rubber glided noisily across ice! 2 degrees Celsius plus and we've got a frost. The wind has been bitter and chill and the central heating has been very useful.
However, with the Government Comprehensive Spending Review 2010 (CSR) being announced yesterday too, it was a frosty day all round (good link eh?) If you don't know what that is and you live in the UK, then you must have been ill in bed for the last couple of months as the Government have been building up to telling us what they are going to spend in the public sector for the next four years (CSR).
In my line of work, cuts will be between 16% and 20% give or take a couple of percentage points equating to many, many millions of pounds. As most of the money coming in goes on wages, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out where the cuts will have to be made.
Now this is hugely complex and I don't profess to understand all of it, suffice to say, in order to pay back debts that the Government has racked up in recent years not least of which the reason partly was the fault of the unregulated bizarre behaviour of the banks (private sector), we, the tax payer and more importantly we public sector workers will have to pay, many of us with our jobs through massive and unprecedented cuts. Although relatively low, the chances are, as business support worker, I may well be one of those out of the door within the next four years and I'll turn the light out on my way out!
Personally, I haven't done anything wrong here. At all. I work hard to help my colleagues serve the public and it's a pretty good service, the best it's been for years (not perfect - what is - but not bad at all.)
The public expect a good service and they pay for the privilege. I am a member of the public and I too pay through my taxes and I expect a good service too. The Government have seen problems in society in the past and they have thrown money at it - and by and large problems have been solved with money, people and expertise and performance of the various public sectors has improved. That's because the public, from all political backgrounds, age, gender and locations have demanded it.
Now, a large majority of those people who have demanded those good services have voted in a Government who was committed in their manifesto and through their election pledges to slash and burn them.
What will happen now is that to make ends meet, the Governments own figures suggest that 490,000 public sector workers will lose their jobs.
Those people will not have jobs, will not be productive, will not pay taxes, will not put money into Government coffers and will need benefits perhaps while they attempt to find work. Surprise surprise, despite paying taxes, those made unemployed will probably have their benefits reduced or at worse refused under new Government austerity measures. Families will lose their homes.
Banks continue to make profits, multi billion pound profits - from us, the great unwashed who bailed them out in the first place. The Government intends to tax them paltry sums.
Those in the UK reading this need to understand that despite Government assurances, front line public services - that which you and I directly receive WILL be affected and those services WILL be reduced and suffer loss of performance. Hopefully this will be minimal - but it will be there and here's another surprise, they have removed some of the targets which means the public may not be easily be able to find out how badly cuts in funding is affecting them and how their services are performing!
And yet you will pay not one penny less in your taxes for a reduced service.
What's the solution? I don't know, I'm not clever enough to have one or know what that is, but I do know my family and I in middle class England will suffer along with those poorer families who are in genuine need. I do know that better regulation of the finance industry, sensible regulation of benefits, protection of pension plans from greedy companies and investment houses and none meaningful investment across the public and private sectors would have gone some way to stopping the rot. Not to have done so has been the fault of successive poor Governments. Slower, more considered pay back of the debt, which I agree must be paid back eventually would have kept more people productive to fight the way back to prosperity.
I am glad benefit cheats will get their just deserts, I'm glad schools and the health service will suffer less than other services (but they will suffer nonetheless believe me), I'm glad those that go to work will earn more than those who for selfish reasons (not genuine) sit at home all day and laugh at the rest of us, but to think that the private sector will get loads of work from this is folly. Public services won't pay the private sector to do some of the jobs - there will be NO MONEY to pay for them - some services will stop altogether. The private sector who supply the public services will suffer greatly as well as contracts dry up or are not renewed - meaningful projects for improvements will stop or be delayed indefinitely.
And today I read that a Councillor down south is calling for his council and his colleagues elsewhere to start a new regime of self regulation and peer inspection and targets to make up for those the Government have taken away in an attempt to stop bureaucracy. Madness.
I'm sorry to have gone on a bit on this subject and it's probably the last time I'll do so, but that's what blogging is all about I guess - put a point of view that's uncensored and heartfelt. You decide and have the freedom to make whatever comment you wish if you haven't fallen alseep by now.
The weekend is a-coming and I hope you enjoy it and perhaps I might go for a walk to clear my head. I'm going to the pictures to watch a couple of films and I'll report back on them here over the weekend.