I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds Gordon Brown to be smarmy and sleazy. His grin makes my skin crawl. I immediately don’t trust him, just because looking at him chills my blood…
Anyway – he’s due to come out with his Pre-Budget speech today, his last as Chancellor (Treasurer), and he’s tipped to be the next Prime Minister. So, in preparation for his speech (scheduled for just after lunch) he was doing the morning shows this morning.
This is a guy who believes that the UK should be producing more graduates:- “China and India produce 4million graduates a year. We have to start competing with that.”
Nice point. Good politics. Tony will be stepping down soon, after all. The only problem, Gordon dear chap, is that China and India have populations of about a billion people each, so them graduating 4 million a year is within the realms of possibility. UK has about 60million. Hmmm. Anyone else see a problem with Gordon’s maths?
To get the money for this massive investment in schools he’s talking about raising the petrol levy (petrol will cost approx £1.50 per litre – it’s about 90p at the moment) and put a £5-10 levy on all air travel (which I personally don’t mind – and won’t make much difference really).
Now, all this was talked about at the end of October, when the government received The Stern Review on climate change. At the time, the higher taxes were discussed to pay for environmental programmes to reduce carbon emissions (renewable energy, public transport, home insulation programmes etc). Gordon said that the “UK would lead the world in tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions”.
I think that the hefty fuel levy will be a way to force people out of their cars. The trouble is, of course, that with the UK public transport system being one of the most expensive, badly run (thanks to privatisation) and useless systems in the world – there’s no alternative to having a car. Believe me, I know. Living in a quiet village where there’s only a bus every 2 hours that costs £2.40 (AUD$6) for a 30min trip – your life is a wee bit restricted. To add to that, travelling on PT in Britain is HARD – much harder than it should be. PT coverage of the country is woefully bad, schedules are consistently not met, and it costs a bloody fortune. To get from Cambridge to Brighton, approx 2.5hrs on trains, you’ll be travelling with 3 different train companies. Each company has different rates/fares – all of which are high. To get to London from Cambridge will cost between £15-30 (AUD$37-75!) for a 50min trip! I don’t have to tell you that those prices will not get people out of their cars.
But why’d Gordon suddenly flip flop and try to bring the focus to education? Unfortunately elections aren’t won with environmental policy. Not yet. Education is the banner headline, education is the national concern. Gordon’s warming up to move into No 10 and, since October, our mate Gordon has been to China. I think he was a little shocked with what he saw there.
Speaking as an Aussie, China has always been considered a world power. If only for population size, China rule the Eastern hemisphere. But when you factor in production and export levels, science and technology research and production, military and space interests and now their growing interests in Africa – China are coming out of their shell in a big way. The Olympics will also highlight China and, although their human rights and environmental records will be raised, I believe that most of the world will get a shock when they realise just how much China has changed in recent years. They are now truly a world power, and should be regarded as such.
But Gordon’s maths are still a problem, which is cause for concern in a treasurer!
I don’t believe Gordon should be campaigning for PM with his Budget. But let’s see what happens at lunchtime…
The Stern Review:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6098362.stm
Response to Stern Review:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6096084.stm
China’s economy:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6205758.stm