Thursday, 29 March 2012
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
This means I'm down to my last £20 of fuel or in quantity terms - a pint, so I headed for the local garage. It was like the post office on pension day. Cars of all makes, shapes and vintages were struggling to get to the well head before the garage owner closed up shop. He was smiling; the customers were grimacing; he having taken a month's income in one afternoon, they panicking.
Being the cool dude I am I simply drove through. I was not going to queue and join the herds of brainless wallies. I knew better.
Which got me thinking. Cameron and his cronies are losing it. If they didn't think this country was in a constant state of near collapse the reaction to Frances Maude's advice yesterday about filling up and stashing a few gallons of fuel next to the boiler will have changed their minds.
Some commentators have said his comments were deliberate - to shift attention away from GrannyPastieGate onto the threat of a tanker drivers strike and the close links between those workers union, Unite and Ed Millipede and his freak show performers. I don't buy that. I think what we're seeing is the real disconnection between the Chelfont St Giles/ Notting Hill brigade and the rest of us. Cutting down grannies in their prime and snatching from their mouths the only hot food most kids get these days is not the way to win friends and influence people.
Our Dave made it even worse by eulogising about the merits of the Cornish pastie which he is supposed to have enjoyed at York Station a while back. Except the pastie he said he had was not on sale in York at the time. Mind you this did bring us the delightful shot of Ed Millipede and Ed Ballocks stuffing their faces with sausage rolls outside Greggs while at the same time trying not to mention their chief paymaster Unite. Apparently most of the Tory Cabinet ( except Little Lord Georgy) eat Gregg's pies regularly. The Labour Party's rules stipulate that on Fridays the only food permitted is hot pies ( with or without gravy).
Certainly George Osborne may be regretting his smirk when he was asked by an MP whether he'd had a hot pie. He now has to explain how the VAT man is to differentiate between a hot pie which has cooled down before being bought (VAT free) and a cold pie warmed up by the ambient weather (VAT rated). This measure he said was part of simplifying the system.
Which brings us to the Grannytax. I'm not sure I understand it, but here goes. Currently if you're 65 or over you have a larger tax free allowance: £10,100 rather than £8,105 for 2012-13 (if you're over 75 it's slightly higher). In his Budget - he announced (the only measure not pre-announced) that from April 2013 people who become 65 in that year will no longer get this increased tax allowance, instead they will get the standard tax free allowance. For those already 65 or over the upper limit will remain but will not be uprated, as it has been in previous years.
Our Chancellor has argued that this is a tax simplification measure since it removes this differential. He also states that grannies don't lose any money. Which is strictly true. If you're 65 or over now you'll keep the higher allowance, if you're not you won't get it but you haven't had money taken away-you just don't get something you might have expected to get. Also, the Chancellor points out that the personal allowance will go up next year anyway as part of the Coalition's pledge to take more people out of tax, and the state pension is also rising significantly. So in two ways most Grannies won't lose out.
Except this oh so reasonable "simplification" has put our George in fear of his life from the Granny Brigade. Nothing to do with announcing this at the same time as heralding the good news that if you earn over £100k you get a massive tax reduction. Nothing to do with the Granny Tax being the only measure not pre-announced before the Budget. Either the man is an idiot or he has lost contact with the real world.
If you don't think this Government is in deep, deep trouble just read the Comment page in the Daily Telegraph. It is not known for panicking, but it is today.