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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

A piles of copper penniesI’m getting a bit fed up now of the constant carping by Government and the national media on how ‘wealthy pensioners’ are the new scroungers and that they don’t deserve the benefits they currently enjoy.

I have to state here and now that I have always, throughout my working life, thought that we – the working majority – have a duty of care towards those in retirement and those unable to care for themselves.  As I am fast approaching this venerable stage of life I see no reason to change my opinion now.

Nor do I believe that the rights and benefits I have worked towards all of my life should be reduced or removed.

What is wealth? What do politicians and newspaper columnists mean when they talk about wealthy pensioners?

We are all led into thinking that millionaires like (for example) Lord Sugar should not be entitled to a free bus pass or winter fuel payments. Because of course, he is wealthy. He is wealthy by any scale we use – but I still think that if he and others like him have paid their dues for all their working life, as I have, then they should the same benefit as the rest of us. However – can you honestly see him using a bus pass or actually noticing his winter fuel payment? Really?  He and his businesses will pay more BACK through taxes and the various other ways that HMG suck us dry than we can possibly dream of.

The real issue is that once the populace have accepted, as they are now being led to accept, that wealthy pensioners are scroungers and that those benefits (which all pensioners have worked for, all their lives) should be removed, everyone will lose out.

If HMG remove the right to free bus passes, they will stop funding the bus companies and the bus companies will stop running socially needed buses. In many areas, this is already a huge problem but if bus company revenue dries up even more, they will provide less services. If winter fuel payments stop (which don’t actually cover the cost of winter fuel anyway) then more ‘wealthy’ and not-so-wealthy pensioners will die.

I don’t want my parents (in their 80s) or their contemporaries to have to remain in the house simply because there are no buses or worse, to die because they can’t afford to eat AND heat.

And I don’t want to be faced with the same options myself at any time in the future.

Remember – my generation has paid its dues for over forty years; everything various governments have asked. We have done so in the knowledge (the belief?) that our payments were being invested in a social service that aimed to improve the lives of pensioners and those unable to fend for themselves. And to secure our own futures.

Do not let this change. Do not let the insidious drip-feed of lies become the truth.

 

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Sixty

As another birthday comes hurtling towards me, I thought that I might indulge myself with a few observations and reflections: on the past and on the future. I don’t intend to be maudlin but may express a few personal naiveties. The economy for example!

The Lygon Arms, where I spent my 2007 birthday (7th December)

I really don’t know what I’m missing, I pretty much know what caused the problem we’re in and realise that it can’t be easy to figure out a simple solution for recovery but why, if we need to encourage growth, do we cut funding to public services? Really – why?  When funding is cut, jobs are lost and the benefits bill increases. This then (the benefits bill), becomes the BIG talking issue.

We hear politicians, especially today’s motley crew, screaming to the press about feckless unemployed as if they, the politicians, had nothing to do with the fact that there is such huge unemployment. But surely (here’s a naivety) if the funding to public services hadn’t been cut (I’m thinking council employees etc.) then there would be less call on the national benefits bill, more taxes paid into the exchequer and more goods and services paid for by more people, which in turn creates work for private industry (manufactured goods and services).

I’m not clear how cutting the numbers of people who CAN spend money (along with increasing prices – 20% VAT, uncontrolled fuel prices etc.) helps.

Just saying.

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I’ve thought about writing a food preparation blog for students for a while now, but have never got around to it. I’m not sure that I’m ready to start now, but having posted my blog about fresh peas recently, I feel encouraged to write about today’s evening meal.I’d bought some fairly expensive, but good quality steak mince from the local farm shop for £2.95 per lb. Just a pound of mince can go a long long way, even if you have to buy the cheaper stuff from a supermarket. With my pound of meat I managed to eke out four good portions of SpagBol and a further seven portions of lasagne! How tight is that? Eleven portions from a pound of mince; eleven nutritious portions at that!

Of course, I used more than just the meat, so the cost per portion is way over the 27.5p we see at first glance. However, no more than 50-60p when we’ve finished.

I used a fairly large carrot, a couple of celery sticks and a medium onion – all minced together with some garlic and fried these with the mince. Nice and steady, not too fast – beating all the lumps out of the meat as it cooked. This lumpiness of mince is caused by the proteins coagulating/denaturing as they heat up – so they need breaking up. I then add salt and pepper, oregano, paprika and cumin (all powdered) – the amount is down to experience, don’t be scared to experiment. Next is a good half a tube of tomato purée and two tins of chopped tomatoes. Some soy sauce and lea and perrins for colour rather than flavour and we’re almost there. I also add some red lentils at this stage: half a cupful ish. tonight I only had brown lentils – so the cooking took a little longer. Give it at least half an hour – more won’t kill it!

And that’s it – done! Bolognese sauce. A pack of fresh lasagne sheets and half a litre of bechamel (I made that too) completed the lasagne’s (for the freezer) and some £1 noodles from Tesco sufficed for the Spaghetti part of the SpagBol.  We also had apple crumble, but that’s another story.

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