Marx on Monday: The budget

At last, thanks to our boy wonder Chancellor, George Osborne, we have finally had a budget for the working man. I was beginning to get worried about the Tories, what with all the talk about putting a minimum price on alcohol, but George has finally laid my fears to rest by slashing the price of a pint of beer by 1p. The average price of a pint today is £3.60p and George’s budget cut means that for every 360 pints of lager you buy – you get one free. If you are, like me, a moderate drinker (about ten pints a night) you’ll be £36 a year better off.

I never thought I’d say it but the current coalition government is truly a government for the working – or should I say – unemployed, man.

Okay I know there has been a lot of criticism of young George. I know he said that keeping the AAA credit rating was the key goal of his economic policy and then lost it. I know he said that his austerity measures would need to be in place for two years and then our economy would improve, whereas the economy is heading for a triple dip recession and George now forecasts that the economy will only grow as fast as the bum fluff on his chin, but give the boy a break – in spite of his inexperience I firmly believe he’s the best qualified Chancellor we’ve ever had! He has an encyclopedic understanding of business through working a couple of summers at the family wallpaper shop. He has personal experience of living with austerity measures through having to empty his bank account and max out his credit cards to pay for the damage caused to a restaurant he smashed up when he was dining there with the Bullingdon Club when he was at university – he was entirely without money for three days (until Coutts cleared his daddy’s cheque) and if it hadn’t been for the generosity of his Oxford chums, Dave and Boris, he might have starved to death.  He alone amongst the cabinet can identify with the working classes because he was always on good terms with the family butler, underbutler,  gardener, undergardener, gamekeeper and cleaner.

Okay he has made mistakes in the past, like in last year’s omnishambles budget – when he tried to put tax on that staple of the working class diet – Gregg’s sausage rolls. But this budget is different. Instead of raising money by taxing the poor, he’s cutting spending by smacking the middle income earners. If I look back on my time on earth there are three groups of people who have conspired to make my life a misery – three groups of people who make no contribution to society other than to bully and harass people like me. I’m talking, of course, about teachers, civil servants (especially those who work at the dole office) and policeman. So Osborne’s announcement in his budget that he would slash the value of their pensions by half brought a hearty cheer from me. Why should they enjoy a modest pension after forty years of service when, after forty years on benefits, I will only get the basic state pension?

The only error George made was to raise tax on a packet of cigarettes by 26p. It doesn’t make any difference to me – I don’t smoke cigarettes where VAT is paid on them. All of mine are smuggled in from Europe or the Far East, but raising the price of cigarettes is a short sighted measure. If the government could stop everybody smoking at first blush it would be cost neutral – with the loss in tax paid on cigarettes being covered by the corresponding saving to the NHS. But what George hasn’t considered is that the 100,000 people who currently die each year through smoking will live to collect their pensions. In ten years we will have a million extra pensioners. Given the pension time bomb waiting to go off I suggest George encourages more people to smoke by slashing the price of a packet of fags by 1p!

But we shouldn’t be critical of young George just because of one tiny oversight. I heard him being interviewed the day after his ingenious budget by that fascist idiot John Humphrys on the Today Programme and, as usual, the Chancellor ran rings around the intellectually challenged broadcaster.

“So Chancellor,” Humphrys was his usual belligerent self, “do you really think that you’ll tempt the working classes to vote for you by cutting the price of a pint by a measly 1p?”

“For a start,” said George, “we’ve cut the price of a pint by 4p.”

“4p?” Humphrys sounded confused.

“That’s right,” the Chancellor explained, “I was going to put it up by 3p but changed my mind and cut it by 1p – that’s a price cut of 4p.”

“I suppose you’d say the same about petrol,”Humphrys scoffed, “you were going to put it up by 3p a litre but you cancelled the increase.”

“Exactly,” George replied, “petrol has gone down by 3p a litre, which is good news for motorists. With my price cuts on petrol and beer they’ll now be able to afford to drive to the pub and have a few jars – and there’ll be even better news in my next budget.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I’m planning to raise petrol prices by 78p a litre and beer by 90p a pint. In the budget, however, I’ll cancel both proposed price increases, thereby saving motorists and drinkers a small fortune.”

“Okay, those measures might go down well with motorists and drinkers,” Humphrys was forced to concede, “but hasn’t your current budget alienated teachers, police officers and civil servants?”

“Why’s that?” Osborne replied, “they all drive cars and drink much more than the average, especially teachers and the police.”

“But what about their pensions?” said Humphrys, “haven’t you slashed them by 50%?”

“I’m sick and tired of hearing about pensions,” Osborne snapped, “by the time people retire their kids will have left school, saving them a fortune on school fees – they won’t need that much money.”

“But that won’t affect most people,” said Humphrys, “they send their children to state schools.”

“What do you mean state schools?”

“You know,” replied Humphrys, “non-fee paying schools paid for by the taxpayer.”

“You’d better ask Michael Gove about that,” said the Chancellor, “I don’t personally believe such places exist.”

“They certainly do exist,” Humphrys spat back, “I went to one.”

“Well it’s not just because of paying no school fees that pensioners are better off,” Osborne replied calmly, “by retirement people will have paid off their mortgage and inherited the family business. They won’t need a pension. By the time I’m sixty five I’ll have inherited the family wallpaper business and be even richer than I am now. What will I need a pension for?”

“But most people,” Humphrys was relentless, “poor people, won’t inherit the family business because there isn’t one. How are you going to get these people to vote Conservative when you slash their pensions?”

“Poor people will vote Conservative in their millions in the next election,” Osborne replied, “because we’ve created a society that offers endless opportunities for poor people to enrich themselves.”

“Like rising inflation and unemployment,” said Humphrys, “slashed public spending, an economy in triple dip recession and a bedroom tax?”

“Forget all those minor blips,” Osborne scoffed, “I’m not talking about poor people enriching themselves by honest endeavor.”

“Then how are poor people going to, as you say, enrich themselves?”

“The Tory party has created a climate,” George replied, “that for the first time in history gives poor people the chance to become rich beyond their wildest dreams.”

“How?” Humphries sounded confused.

“You only have to look at television advertising,” said the Chancellor, “twenty years ago it was all about how Shredded Wheat was good for your heart, how Shake and Vac put the freshness back or how a Mars a day helped you work, rest and play.”

“And what was wrong with that?”

“If poor people spend their money on luxuries like breakfast cereal, carpet cleaner and chocolate they’ll become even poorer.”

“So what’s changed?”

“If you look at television advertising today it’s not about persuading the poor to spend their money – it’s about opportunities for them to become rich,” the Chancellor pointed out, “around a third of television advertising is about the opportunities working class people have to become rich through gambling.”

“And is that a good thing?” Humphrys sounded incredulous.

“Absolutely,” Osborne confirmed, “with four main lottery draws a week, seventeen different types of scratchcard, round the clock betting with Bet 361 or Victor Chandler – there have never been so many opportunities for poor people to win millions by gambling – they can even play slots on their mobile phone whilst they’re on their way to buy their lottery tickets.”

“But what if they lose all their money,” Humphrys tried to put a dampener on things, “and can’t afford to feed their kids?”

“We’ve got that covered,” said the Chancellor, “the next third of television advertising is how poor people can have instant access to cash through Payday Loans, Quick Quid or Wonga.com. The money will be in their bank accounts within seconds. Their kids won’t go hungry.”

“But don’t those companies charge interest rates of up to 10,000%?”

“No,” Osborne put him right, “we’ve introduced legislation to cap interest rates at 4,000%.”

“So if you borrow £100 for a year,” Humphrys scoffed, “you’ll have to pay back £400,000.”

“I know it seems a lot,” replied the Chancellor, “but if you use the loan money to buy a Euromillions ticket on a triple rollover week you could win over £100 million. Are you saying that someone who has won £100 million can’t afford to pay £400,000 to Wonga.com?”

“But what if you don’t win the Euromillions and end up gambling away your payday loan – what then?”

“That’s where the final third of current television advertising kicks in,” Osborne replied triumphantly, “offering poor people the chance to sue the banks for mis-selling PPI insurance or claim compensation for made up whiplash injuries. I’m telling you John, it truly is a beautiful world we’ve created.”

2 comments on “Marx on Monday: The budget

  1. Simon Roberts
    March 27, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    These get better and better.

  2. Morningstar
    April 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Brilliant – best write up on the ‘budget’ I have seen anywhere !

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