JUST AN OBSERVATION
Just in case anyone hadn’t noticed there has been the first full Tory budget in nearly twenty years this week. Perhaps the most telling thing about this whole thing, which predictably enough hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, was the fact George Osborne required a significantly higher and more visible police presence to escort him deliver his ‘fair’ budget, A raised police presence; to deliver a budget? Why? Could it be he knows, despite his protestations, how harmful, unfair and divisive his proposals actually were.
Certainly the under 25’s in our society seem to have been well in his sights and it would now seem that if you come from a stable home with a reputable background and a reasonably comfortable lifestyle-like Cameron, Osborne, Duncan Smith et al- then you will be fine. If you don’t have these advantages however then housing benefit if you are under 21 will no longer be available and the new living wage-formerly the minimum wage but the Tories seem to be rewriting the English language as they go along as they also last week changed the meaning of poverty to one which suits their agenda better- is denied to the under 25’s.
Likewise the family values they attach so much value to seem to be fine as long as you stick to a maximum of two children-again those making these decisions have more than they deem acceptable for everyone else- and working tax credits are to be abolished thus ensuring that those on a low wage who received help with benefits and housing benefit will no longer be in receipt of these essential things which made life a little more bearable.
But wait! They have also raised the minimum wage-sorry living wage as it has now been re-branded- so everything is fine!
Except it isn’t really, is it? Anyone who works in these low paid jobs knows exactly what this means and that is in a bid to save costs employers will cut back on staff hours thus upping the workload of those already working for a pittance and possibly cut back on staff as well as a means of saving money. This will no doubt apply most to the hospitality and cleaning trade where people will more than likely not be any better off as they will have hours staggered and possibly doing more work for the same money if not less. No wonder Iain Duncan Smith was fist pumping in the air as this was announced as he has continually made it clear how much he loves poor people i.e. not at all!
Small businesses will also suffer as the wage hike will cut severely into their wages bill and many will have to let people go as they can’t afford to pay them. At least with tax credits and help with housing benefit those on a low wage could eke out some sort of lifestyle which was beyond poverty. Oh, but I keep forgetting we don’t have poverty anymore!
No doubt these observations are only the surface of a pit of bile that is raging in our society. I am still unsure why Scotland is having these draconian measures enforced especially when so many here clearly and overwhelmingly voted against these measures in the last elections but when every proposal suggested by the SNP is blocked by the very same people who less than a year ago claimed Scots were an integral and important part of the UK I suppose that is just how it is for the unforeseeable future.
Scottish summer in the meanwhile seems to have been and gone with daily rain replacing the more traditionally acceptable sunshine of this time of year. At least at this rate we won’t have to blame it on the festival when that trundles into town next month and those at T in the Park this weekend can get back to their wellies after the excessive heat and sunshine of the last two years precipitated a ‘taps aff’ epidemic alongside a flip flops and shorts malaise. Not had much of a chance to look through the Fringe brochure yet but as soon as I have picked out my top tips then I will share them on here.The Edinburgh International Fashion Festival is also making its way here again in the next couple of weeks and again details of this once I know more.
This weekend however, for those not partaking in T In the Rain, sees the arrival of the Artisan Market in Dock Place in Leith. Already a huge success in Stockbridge on Sundays it will be interesting to see how Leith takes to sampling chilli infused vinegars and the like at what are usually heavily inflated prices. It is certainly a great idea as Leith has such a thriving and creative community in its sphere but I often balk at some of the prices at the Stockbridge Market but know from experience that those in the New Town almost feel obliged to pay more as it is their civic duty. I am curious to see if the prices are adapted accordingly. If the Marshmallow Lady is there I look forward to someone buying me a pack of the chocolate chilli jam variety at a bargain knock down price. Personally I feel this is the only way a market of this calibre can survive.