The Truth

Darling's first Budget.........

by Stewart Cowan, 12/3/08
Alistair Darling's first budget inevitably included a rise in cigarettes (up 11p for 20) and alcohol (from midnight on Sunday, alcohol duty rates will increase by 6 per cent above the rate of inflation. Beer will rise by 4p a pint, cider by 3p a litre, wine by 14p a bottle and spirits by 55p a bottle. Alcohol duties will increase by 2 per cent above the rate of inflation in each of the next four years).

You can read the whole budget speech here or a summary on most newspaper websites, but I just want to comment on some aspects.

The Environment

I care about the environment, after all, I live there. Maybe something needs to be done about plastic bag use (I never throw them away as I either reuse them on shopping trips or as bin bags). Do we need legislation to make shops charge us for them?

What about the far more important environmental disasters in their early stages, like the chemicals that some people flush down the toilet that end up in the rivers and seas that are having 'gender-bending' effects on marine life? These chemicals are now in other food chains, as suggested by this article in the Daily Mail, where male starlings have become more effeminate due to ingesting female hormones from the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy. The article also reminds us that oestrogen in sewage outlets is changing the sex of fish and causing males to produce eggs.

I think it is probably obvious that certain chemicals are also in the human food chain and are to blame for boys becoming more effeminate and girls entering puberty ever-younger.

Pensioners really better off?

Although the Chancellor is raising fuel payments by £50 a year for over 60's and £100 for people over 80, will they be better or worse off after increases in utility bills? With the scrapping of the 10% income tax rate, many pensioners will be worse off regardless.

The budget as an excuse to expand the Police State

"Today I can announce new measures at Heathrow and other airports to ensure that a greater use of biometric technology speeds up the time it takes passengers to get through immigration control."

I bet it will be easier still when they decide it's barcode tattoo or implanted microchip time.

On education

Mr. Darling stated "And so the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families will be investing 200m to bring forward by a year to 2011 the Government's aim for no schools to have fewer than 30 per cent of its pupils achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English and Maths."

£200 million? Surely it could not possibly cost that much to dumb down the exams even further.