I wonder how many households in Thanet, where income is gained by working at one of our four High Street stores owned by Woolworths ,would agree with Mr Brown's 'Freudian slip' in The Commons today? Quite frankly, we have to accept that Woolies was in trouble before the present recession and its expiry was just a question of time. Stock clearance, redundancy and closure are now the order of the day. The struggling High Streets in Margate, Cliftonville, Broadstairs and Ramsgate now await a further body blow.
With the German Finance Minister wading in with criticism of Labour's poor solutions to our present predicament, it might be wise to consider what the Brown solution really boils down to. Despite the big boom in the past 10 years based on 'credit', the only solution on offer seems to be that we must all be good citizens and carry on using our plastic and be voracious 'consumers' and carry on spending beyond our means.
Ignore the sinking pound, the balance of payments and the tax burden for the next Tory Government, let's now make those who we have supported on benefit now get out and work at the worst time in 10 years to go seeking a job!
I am a personal admirer of Frank Field whose attempts 10 years ago to reform and tighten up the benefit system were ignored by his own Government. The timing now is nonsense! I heard Frank Field on the radio today saying that of the 3 million jobs created in this country in the past 10 years, about 2 million had been taken up by immigrant labour. He regards his own Government's immigration policy dimly and I am not surprised with some forecasts putting the UK population as 70 million by 2028.
I fear we have a hard lesson to take on board. The good times are over.
Our manufacturing capacity has shrunk; we have relied on cheap imports and a retail boom created by 'easy' credit; we have relied on our 'financial services' to soften the balance of payments and they are now in melt-down mode. We have to wake up to the fact that our real standard of living is going to decline. The problem we face is accepting this harsh reality and how the British public will respond. I am concerned that we will start to see the most disadvantaged and the 'young' react to their 'stolen' expectations by taking to the streets and civil disorder next summer or earlier is a real and worrying prospect.
Bertie is in severely pessimistic mode tonight!