Monday 10 February 2014

Ruined lives: tax the poor, and help the rich, the Barnet Tory way ...

Let us continue the theme of the last post, updated yesterday by the interesting comments of Tory leader Richard Cornelius, expressed a few days after the article in the Guardian in which it is revealed that many of the mansions owned by absentee billionaire residents of Barnet's super wealthy Bishops Avenue are standing empty, neglected and decaying, provoking calls for a tax on unoccupied properties. 

Barnet Tories feel that this is an iniquitous idea, and that it is the 'prerogative' of such owners to do as they wish, and not contribute financially to the local community, or to the public purse. 

Cornelius does have concerns about the owners of such properties, however, as his recent comments in the local Press explained, as updated in the previous post, but let's relive the pleasure of reading it:

A mansion tax will ruin the lives of many residents
"IT’S not often that I get to watch television these days. However, I recently saw a Liberal Democrat spokesman on TV extolling the mansion tax.

We have also heard a lot from Labour about this and their wish to tax the rich more harshly. There are a good number of people in Barnet whose houses have rocketed in value towards this level.

It’s not their fault that this has happened and often they are surprised that they would not be able to afford their own home if they were starting out again. Lots of our residents are rich in terms of assets, but poor in terms of cash.

Most of us are fairly cynical about taxes and know that if you have a large gap between the current top council tax band and the mansion tax threshold, someone will want to collect on the value of properties in between – probably requiring a total re-evaluation of the bands.

That is what is so sinister about this horrid, left-wing proposal. Taking a few thousand pounds – or even a few hundred each year from someone living in a semi-detached house – may please the socialists but will ruin the lives of many of our residents.

The politics of envy has no place in Barnet. You can’t improve life by taking away what people have struggled to buy out of already taxed income. The Conservative-led council has been successful in maintaining services while saving our taxpayers money.

The years of stable council tax and now a proposed one per cent cut have removed people’s anxiety about property taxes, but we need to be vigilant."

Here in the upside down world of Broken Barnet, our elected Tory representatives object to the very principle of taxation, and pride themselves on what they see as their greatest achievement: the freezing of council tax, and, in what Cornelius has admitted is a 'gesture' - just in time for May's elections - they are about to cut the next year's payment by 1%, only one of two London boroughs to do so. 

Cornelius asserts that he and his band of tax vigilantes 'have been successful in maintaining services while saving our taxpayers money'. This is not true. 

They have been successful in handing over services to a private company, and paying them to run them, with the promise of some savings - and the opportunity to make vast profits for their shareholders, at our expense. 

Services which have already been farmed out to private enterprise have been spectacular failures: the parking contract with NSL, for example, which as fellow blogger Mr Mustard demonstrates  here is losing twice as much as we are supposed to be saving. Then we have the appalling mess that is 'Your Choice Barnet', whose business model, balancing the subsidisation of Barnet's 'at arms' length' social housing enterprise on the profits they thought could be extracted from vulnerable adults in need of support, has, unsurprisingly, crashed on the floor, requiring a subsidy of its own from those very taxpayers Cornelius claims to want to protect from financial burden. 

The business model for this tragically inept scheme was brought to you courtesy of Agilysis, our favoured One Barnet consultants, who may not be awfully good at creating ways of using care for profit, but are hugely successful at extracting profit from, yes, those taxpayers again, Richard, who have, via your good offices,  already thrown  more than £6 million into their laps for their 'advice', while our consultants continue to persuade us - or rather our indulgent Tory councillors -that we must rely on their 'advice' even after the contracts are in place. 

Is that because you are looking for more services to outsource, should the people of this borough prove stupid enough to vote you back into power? Are Capita sniffing around for more profit making opportunities, such as, oh, off the top of my blogging head, areas of adult social care not yet privatised?

Funnily enough, we learnt only this week that Capita have already got their feet under the door of adult care matters in Barnet, being involved in the benchmarking exercise that resulted in the disgraceful proposal, by Your Choice Barnet board members, to make cuts of at least 10 % in the already bottom of the barrel scraping salary levels of workers who care for the frail and vulnerable clients of this service.

As well as exposing the low paid workers of YCB to the further distress of wage cuts, a similar proposal has been made regarding the employees of the Fremantle Trust, which provides residential care for many of the borough's residents under the terms of a contract with Barnet Council that was renewed last year, at a time when Fremantle were being prosecuted for the death of Mrs Yuk Kiu Lee, at Dell Field Court, in circumstances entirely due to a failure to ensure her safety. Fremantle were fined a mere £175,000, and continue as providers, despite further concerns about standards in their homes, see here:

As recently as December, a critical CQC report after inspection of Fremantle's Apthorp Lodge found failures in three standards of care: treating people with respect, providing safe care and support that meets individuals' needs, and noting serious implications in standards of staffing. The inspectors remarked: 

There were not always sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced people employed for the purpose of carrying on the regulated activity. This is contrary to Regulation 22.

Anyone who reads CQC reports sees this sort of criticism made again, and again, with little enforcement by the relevant authorities. This is utterly shameful. 

Staffing levels, and a good standard of care, of course, are directly related to levels of pay: if you pay someone below a living wage to look after frail, elderly or disabled residents, this can only result in the lowest standards, demoralised staff, working under huge pressure with inadequate support. The residents will suffer as a result. 

Still, on the plus side, it all helps to keep that council tax bill down, doesn't it, by a few pence a week, so not all bad news?

Oh, and Fremantle workers may be facing a cut in salary, but last year, the year in which Fremantle was fined for the death of Yuk Kiu Lee, the Chief Executive of the Trust, who already earned £100-110,000 a year, had her salary increased by £10,000.

And while we are talking of adult care: there are currently proposals under review for cuts in budget for this most sensitive and vital of vital services.  

Why is that, do you suppose, readers, residents, and taxpayers? Is it possibly because, in this time of austerity, when central funding is tightened to the point of strangulation, our Tory councillors prefer to make a 'gesture' of cutting council tax, and make those cuts in adult care, rather than use the few pence a week returned to you on supporting those of us who are in need of such care? You know, like your elderly mum, your sister with special needs, or your disabled neighbour?  

In the interest of balance, it should be noted that Barnet Tories are very keen to support one form of tax. 

Bedroom tax. 

Well, as housing spokesperson and rightwing Barnet councillor Tom Davey remarks, people should live within their means, and not expect the state to support them. 

Taxing the tenants of social housing for having the luxury of one bedroom more than the Tories deem suitable for their needs is quite proper, therefore. If they don't want to pay it, they can always move, can't they? Or they could, if Barnet's Tory councillors had not sold off so much housing stock, and failed to build any new council accommodation, and there was a surplus of smaller units of housing for people to move to.

But then ... should we not extend that principle to those residents that Richard Cornelius thinks are going to be affected by a mansion tax? If the millionaire residents of his ward in Totteridge, or the billionaire residents of Bishops Avenue cannot afford to pay such a tax, then the solution should be the same: find a smaller property - and move. 

Will that ruin their lives? Possibly.

Compare that to the misery and injustice of those affected by the cruelty of the condem government's bedroom tax, though, why don't you, and ponder that?

It is not the fault of millionaire home owners, that their houses have rocketed in value, to a level which they could not afford now, says Cornelius.  

You can’t improve life by taking away what people have struggled to buy out of already taxed income.  

Hmm. Well, if their homes have rocketed in value, through no 'fault' of their own, then clearly that profit is not due to any 'struggle', but to inflation, or even speculation. 

And is it any fault of the those residents being penalised by the bedroom tax that inflation and the recession - and government policy, has driven them into the loss of their homes, or income?

But this is Broken Barnet,  where our Tory masters care nothing for the ruined lives of the poor. They do not suffer in their loss of home, or income, as the wealthy, middle class Tory voters suffer at the very thought of extra taxation. They are not worthy of the compassion of Richard Cornelius, whose sympathies are reserved for people like him, living in comfort, envied by their feckless social inferiors. The rich man in his mansion in Bishops Avenue, the poor man at his gate, God made them high, or lowly, and ordered their estate.

The poor must be punished for being poor, and taxed to the last penny of their meagre incomes, in order to subsidise the rich.

Strawberry Vale must pay for Bishops Avenue, and Totteridge Lane, and Bishops Avenue, and Totteridge Lane can bask in the loving care of their Tory protectors, safe from the prospect of financial ruin.

In the meanwhile, back in the heart of Capitaville, the same protectors of privilege are taking steps to silence any further campaigns against the injustice of the poorest workers employed to deliver council services.

The scandalous proposals for cuts in wages of low paid care staff in Barnet, in the cases of YCB and Fremantle, have been highlighted - along with so much other outrageous behaviour - by our Tory council, as a result of protest by local unions.

In response, Barnet is now attempting to gag Unison and GMB by withdrawing all facility time, as of the beginning of April. 

It is in effect, a form of de-recognition, aimed of course, in the time honoured tradition of Barnet Conservatism, at stifling dissent, and removing barriers to the further exploitation of employees, and of our council services. 

Please sign the petition against these proposals here:



baarnett said...

"Lots of our residents are rich in terms of assets, but poor in terms of cash."

Fine - so let's have death duty back again.

The increase in property values above inflation (and above average living standards if that is higher) is clearly unearned income.

It has nothing to do with being a hard-working family, and wanting to give something to the kids. It is a shift of wealth in society from non-property owners to property owners, caused by shortage of homes, and there is no moral reason not to tax it.

Mrs Angry said...

Exactly: but sadly morality has little part to pay in the matter of taxation, in the Tory way of thinking, when it applies to their own positions, only when applied to others.

Their instinctive resentment of taxation is pure greed, founded in a complete indifference to the needs of others.

They ignore the plight of those affected by the bedroom tax, dismissing them as in someway deserving of such hardship, for living in social housing, or perhaps being in receipt of some benefit.

They overlook the inconvenient fact that most benefit recipients are in work, are as hard working as anyone, and probably a lot more than many who criticise their circumstances, but are paid so little they need support.

If wages were not kept so low,and, as we are seeing in Barnet, increasingly slashed even lower, they would not be so dependent, and just might escape the spiral of despair that the poorest members of our society are falling into.

Anonymous said...

Of course it stands to reason the smug Richard Cornelius and his tory chums do not wish to re-evaluate council tax banding, for they are doing very nicely out of it thank you!!! The tax is regressive and actually favours mansion owners, more so today than ever. Remember the Poll Tax riots where people rebelled against a THATCHER tax which was applied per person and thus favoured the wealthy? A THATCHER tax which meant the poorest had the dubious pleasure of subsidising the wealthy? Well, the current system while performing better than the iniquitous Poll Tax still favours the wealthy. My own tax amounts to around 0.005%pa against current value, whereas a house valued just three times greater than mine in the Top Band H physically pays (or saves)around £2,000pa when compared on the same formula. Clearly, this comparison is extremely arbitary, however, the iniquitous principle applies.

If in doubt divide your annual contribution by YOUR property value, then multiply the answer by the VALUE of say a property on Bishops Avenue. The answer will give you a rough comparison on a like for like basis on what your wealthy neighour could be paying on a like for like basis.

In reality the Bishop Avenue owner's current tax liability is £2,832.40

The vast difference amply illustrates yet another Thatcher legacy and principle. Which, I will leave you Mrs Angry to eloquently expound upon....

Mrs Angry said...

Yes, Anonymous, I do remember the Poll Tax demos. I was in one, and nearly pegged it due to an interesting sequence of events leading to peritonitis and oh ... bad memories. I was furious to find myself suddenly charged, for my studio flat in a house of multiple occupancy, the same rate as if I owned the entire house, which being in Belsize Park, was a considerable sum. I refused to pay, until I got a court order. Then my suffragette courage abandoned me.

In fact I think, and God knows I never thought I would live in such times, that the present Condem government's policies are a hundred times worse than anything Thatcher dreamed up, based as they are on the patronising indifference of the male, pale and stale Etonians in power. Thatcher's own background being jumped up Tory, she lacked the overweening sense of birthright they have, that empowers them to act in this way.

Im afraid being mathematically challenged, your tax band calculations have left me somewhat bemused, although I am now trying to work out how much your house is worth, to see what sort of class of commenter I am attracting now: Bishops Avenue, or Totteridge Lane? Do you have any spare bedrooms? Looking for digs, let me know.

Anonymous said...

I consider myself fortunate enough not to live in London. To explain the maths let's assume I pay £1,650pa being 0.005% of £330,000 (1,650 divided by 330,000 = 0.005)

Let's assume another house is valued at £1m. Multiply the £1m by 0.005 and this = £5,000 Thus the £5,000 now represents MY liability when applied to a greater value property.

From the £5,000 now deduct the Band H amount for Barnet at £2,820 and this equates to a relative saving of £2,180 as compared to my property when compared in equal terms and based on current value.

In effect you could say I and most of us are higher rate tax payers against lower value properties subsidising the wealthier.

And that is why you'd be hard pressed to find anyone WITH money looking, or indeed ever looking to change the current system, or moreover banding values.

Put simply any change would clobber the wealthy and of course that would never do.

In answer to your last paragraph.... I live in Berkshire, somewhat out in the sticks and off an unmade Byway with no street lights and bin collections fortnightly. Where the roads are falling into disrepair and ditches and footpaths are not maintained. It's just another part of broken Britain where the price of everything is known, but the value is not. I certainly don't want or need street lights, but the rest is valued, at least to me.

We now have to pay as residents around £50pa to 'help maintain' the public byway.... on top of the Council Tax and this is a practice that has been creeping across the country.

2 spare beds, not looking for digs unless you know someone very handy with a spade? Too much garden, with too little time for one you see.

At the time of the Poll Tax I also had a company car and I recall my ex partner and I at the time were 'suddenly' £220pm worse off.

Mrs Angry said...

Hmmm. Thank you, Anon. I've read the first three sentences several times until the maths makes some sort of sense to my (more than usually) disordered mind, and - blimey, you are right. And so am I: the rich are being subsidised by the poor, and the rest of us.

But then we return to the heart of the matter, or rather the lack of one: the Conservative philosophy is based on greed, and preserving what is yours, no matter what the cost to others.

Berkshire, eh? Long way from Broken Barnet. Be grateful, even though you must be surrounded by Tory voters. Or perhaps you live in Windsor, in a large, subsidised castle, but no bedroom tax? That would be an improvement on my usual class of commenter,dragged up from the lower orders.

Also be grateful for having no street lighting. Here in Barnet we had all ours replaced, even though there was nothing wrong with most of it, and the one outside my bedroom window is so powerful, before they kindly put a shade on it, I could read in bed with the light off.

Is it legal to charge an extra £50 for maintaining the public highway? Surely parking revenue etc is meant to do that? Encourage your council to hire Brian Coleman as a consultant,(he could do with a job) and invent a punitive cash free parking scheme, to boost income from hapless residents.

Make up the spare bed then: sheets & blankets, not duvets, thank you. Yes: gardening is one of the few things I'm quite good at. I'll pack my secateurs.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you got to grip with your mathematical gremlins.

West Berks to be more precise, and yes a true blue Richard Benyon millionaire area. And while in reality there are plenty of local millionaires, there are in fact very few when compared to the local populous. Few in number maybe, but many with large estates, some very large indeed. While I do not necessarily advocate a total revised Council Tax re-banding excercise, and especially the being tax applied equally and literally proportionate to value, I do believe the figures explained earlier do highlight the real differential, and moreover where and to whom the greater tax burden is currently being borne. It seems to me the 'Millionaire Tax' proposed by the Lib Dems for properties at £2m and over, is at least a step in the right direction.

I love not having street lights. The Byway is a right of way for residents, plus horses and is also a public footpath. As residents we were faced with a dilema, highlighted by the fact that the council were purposely failing in their historic duty to maintain the unmade road properly. We either faced being billed 100% by the council for all 'our' wear and tear caused by our private vehicles, but ignoring others (say Royal Mail, horses, walkers etc etc), or the council would supply us with an annual amount of materials and we could do the work ourselves and when it needed it. We took legal advice and opted for the latter. Luckily we have a man and a machine at the end of the lane.

I'm not aware of any ladies that need duffing up around here, so please keep Mr Brian Coleman well and truly on his Barnet leash and we certainly do not need any whacky parking schemes, after all.... we do ALL have our own big drives here (or so you'd be led to believe) in true blue land!!!

Your beds made up (sheets & blankets) and the gardens (front & back!) are ready and waiting. It might take you a while though, so please do bring plenty of clothing..... and of course the obligatory Barbour & matching wellies!!!!

Mrs Angry said...

So: a closet Libdem, living in West Berkshire, who tarmacs his own road, and hangs around the rural byways in the dead of night,looking for ladies to 'duff up' (is that a Berkshire euphemism?) when it is too dark to catch him. You paint a fascinating picture, Anon.

Mind you, if only all Libdems would stay under cover of darkness, we would all be very grateful.

Do you use hardcore, before laying the asphalt? (That is a euphemism, here in Broken Barnet).

I don't generally wear so many clothes to bed, and as yet, have never felt the need to sport wellies in such circumstances, but thanks for the tip: I'll bear it in mind for future use, maybe. I suppose the true blue millionaires of West Berkshire probably can't summon much interest without that sort of enticement. No Barbour, but quite keen on Boden, so I think I will fit in quite nicely. Until the local MP comes canvassing, and is defenestrated by me, as a warning to others.

Anonymous said...

I like it Mrs Angry, you paint me into a very dark corner (no pun intended), but I think you are again, and most surprisingly in need of some enlightenment.....

No Lib Dem here, closet or not.Or euphemisms, hardcore or not, and surely that too must rule out UKIP.

An unmade road, is almost literally that. No asphalt, only scalpings (or similar) to fill in the potholes and then tracked over (by a digger) or rollered in. So no real hardcore either (Sky dish or not).

Like yourself with my earlier mail, I too needed to read your final paragraph several times (after all, it was written rather late) and I was of course referring to plenty of gardening clothes, however I strongly suggest you don't wear wellies to bed.... ever. Still, and as they say 'whatever floats your boat' which is quite apt in this current weather.

Never tried Boden, and having looked online it looks very nice and seems well suited to Barnet and about town. Very trendy indeed. Quba Sails also do some excellent wear, the X10 is a fantastic jacket, extremely warm and amazingly made from used sailcloth. Not cheap by any stretch, and I only bumped into the brand down in Padstow, Cornwall, but it does perform, even in a biting icy wind, sometimes closely followed here by either a Lib Dem or Tory canvasser. Like you, none have yet made it past my gate, or even received the time of day!

Mrs Angry said...

I see. So: from Berkshire, fond of holidays in Padstow, and posing in faux-marine wear ... J'accuse: you are David Cameron, are you not? Just my luck. Clear off out of it, you Tory toff.

In fact, there is one of those Quba outlets in Fowey, where I go quite often, a beautiful place although amusingly full of architects in horrible shorts trying to look as if they are round the world sailors.

No, rubber is not really my thing, so wellies, on reflection, might be a mistake.

Wasn't written late: but then out in, where is it now, West Berkshire, you probably go to bed when it gets dark, being country folk, with no streetlamps, don't you?

As for canvassers, sadly the only time I've ever had any Tory ones calling was when I was incapacitated in bed with a slipped disc, and had to yell insults down the stairs to my son to pass on, which in typical disobedient fashion he failed to do.

But tell me: why are you, in, you know, West Berkshire, so interested in life in Barnet? Are you perhaps an expatriate, in exile? Are you fascinated by the minutiae of Barnet council meetings? Perhaps you should give up the old pothole filling lark and find a more interesting hobby?

Mrs Angry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs Angry said...

Oops: for some reason blogger repeated my comment, as if once was not enough.

Anonymous said...

Mmm. Sorry to disapoint Sherlock. Never been to Fowey, but I have made it close by to Looe & Polperro. My parents lived in Liskeard, then moved north near Padstow, and with my father now passed on, I sometimes take my mother to Padstow for a day out. Sadly, I haven't been to Cornwall for a holiday since I was a child, neither have I taken a holiday for some 10yrs now.

Rising at 5.45am means I should really be going to bed around 10pm (8hrs sleep), although I actually retire somewhere between 11 & 12 or sometimes later, it's my computer that gets turned off earlier.

I cannot recall how I stumbled across your blog, nor exactly where and when I began following. I am a man after all, with little historic time conception, or recognition of birthdays, or anniversaries to judge events by. I have no real interest, or ties with Barnet and while at one time or another I have been to many parts of London, I do not think I've even been to Barnet, but I might have. In fact I personally stopped going to London immediately the Congestion Charge came in, and I have never ventured there since, except when I was recently forced to for business reasons, and this was just before last Christmas. I travelled all around, North, South, East, West and even central. It's not a place for me.

Anonymous said...


We do have history though, you and I. You thanked me for a "well reasoned" argument and invited me to contribute again. At times I find your blog funny, genuinely amusing (in a good way) and a good read. I have no idea how you find the time (and hence my delay in replying), nor exactly what drives you, except perhaps an overiding sense of fair play and indignation, both qualities I applaud. For me personally, it is heartening to see people like yourself and your fellow bloggers (Roger and I have also correponded) taking an interest, attempting, sometimes even suceeding in keeping these chancers in check.

Above all, for me it's the knowledge that at least there are some people paying attention and actively seeking to stop the whole country being sold off for personal greed. Albeit, there's not really that much more silverware left, and hence even 'our' bedrooms are under attack.

As every single day passes (for me at least), any light at the end of the tunnel gradually diminishes, while the country and indeed the world hurtles towards an immediate investment return for private capital, coupled with an immediate bleed of taxpayer money to private pockets wherever and whenever possible. It seems scant regard is paid to future consequences, or real investment for the medium and longer term, especially when an immediate profit for the very few, or a saving for the state can be made today. Roads, are a prime example.

We have a country pretty much run by bankers (or the like), for the benefit of bankers and big business. Who else could rig worldwide markets. Who else for years could systematically defraud pretty much the whole population with a variety of schemes and 'wheezes' without a jail sentence or a trial between them? And, let's not forget the Credit Rating Agenies, who for personal gain sanctified toxic debt scams, nor the high street shops and others who wrongly sold PPI purely for commission, nor indeed all the insurance companies who accepted all this fraudulent business while knowing they would never have to pay their victims claim. The worst is, most of all these scams were known for years, and purposely ignored, which speaks volumes. Only the recession brought the spotlight on the bankers, and very much like today, the vast majority of the populous goes about its business, seemingly ignorant, unaware or caring of what is happening to those on benefits, the systematic attacks on Unions, the loss of Legal Aid, the demise of the NHS and public services and more, nor perhaps tax cuts for the wealthy, or the recent easing of tax restrictions making it far easier to remove business money from the UK economy into tax havens, private or otherwise.

So please...... do keep up the good work. All of you!!!

Mrs Angry said...

Well, Anonymous: man of mystery - oh, look at the time ... of course you won't be reading this, tucked up as you are in your nightshirt, in Lark Rise to Candlefordshire.

Thank you for explaining to me that 10pm to 5.45 is (nearly) eight hours sleep. Almost as complex as the council tax business. Head still in a whirl.

Long way from Berkshire to Padstow for a day out, isn't it?

Liskeard, eh, and never been to Fowey? Hard to believe.Although of course my great aunt had hardly ever been out of West Cornwall, before she emigrated to South Africa, at the age of 93, so possible, maybe ...

One of my forebears was Mayor of Liskeard, in the 1770s. There, That'll make Brian Coleman green with envy.

Sorry about the Congestion charge making it impossible for you to visit London. Have you heard of train travel? I believe Mr Brunel's Great Western Railway is quite popular, and would convey you safely from Berkshire to Paddington, although last time I tried it I got stuck with a vodka swilling hen party from hell/Camborne, which I would not recommend.

Alternatively, you save up for the bus fare, and travel around on one of Boris' new buses, but be careful not to fall off the back, or sit upstairs in the free sauna.

I am pleased to hear we have 'history'. That sounds quite thrilling. But I don't know why you find my blog (at times) funny, or amusing(in the slightest). What a cheek. It is a serious venture, in a modest, Royal Charter, small publisher sort of way.

Yes: things are pretty bad. But things can only get better. Oh. Maybe not. Next time round we will have a blue Labour/Libdem coalition, and then neither of us will be laughing very much, will we?

Anonymous said...

You're not wrong Mrs A, I was tucked up in bed..... but only just. Glad not to disappoint, it doesn't happen often.

Too much to do, too little time to do it in. When at my mum's it's usually only for about 3 days or so, and always incorporates a few odd jobs, the last being the retro fit of a seal around the garage door to keep the weather out. Fitted on Boxing Day, and just in time by all accounts. Generally, if I'm not busy working, then I'm busy working, trying not to disappoint.

Clearly the Congestion Charge works, at least for central London and I'm a prime example. However, on my recent travels it clearly has a knock on effect, quite dramatically it seemed to me, even though I pretty much managed to avoid the rush hours. I haven't travelled by train for a long time now and judging by the fares and constant increases, certainly for long distance commutes it seems more than expensive, especially when compared to other european fares. Sorry! More maths.... From here at peak time it's a £52 return (about 50p a mile), and that's just to Paddington. Extrapolate this to air travel and a flight to New York would come in at a whopping £1,730. I think I'll pass.

Your blog IS funny at times, and witty, not often I'll grant you, especially when considering the subject matter. But, hey, it makes me laugh, and although I fully appreciate the seriousness of the subiect matters, and indeed take all seriously (as one should) your observations are astute, cutting, and make me chuckle.

I'm not sure where the next election will lead us. One thing is for sure, the Lib Dems have lost an awful lot of votes and even more credibility. Labour though really need to start pulling their finger out, otherwise even a Tory/UKIP Co-op cannot be ruled out!

And God help us then!!!!

Well, those that have to work for living anyway.

Mrs Angry said...

Well, Anon: it sounds like you are a good son, retro-fitting garage doors, and all that sort of thing. Not sure my son would bother in my old age, being more of the type who would step over me lying in a dead heap at his feet, demanding to know when dinner was ready.

I think the congestion charge is a very good thing, and far more use to London than anything Boris has managed to produce. I think you should knock the old extrapolation thing on the head, as numerically challenged though I am, I think 50 p per mile might easily be applied to other forms of transport, such as the bus (you being from Berkshire will never have been on anything so vulgar, of course) which is awfully expensive for short journeys.

Whaddya mean, only funny at times? And not often witty. Fecking cheek. I try my best, but the serious bits get in the way of my jokes, and spoil all the fun. You try writing a blog son, and see how hard it is. Of course, you may already be the no1 blogger in, what was it? Berkshire, for all I know. Broken Berkshire: has a ring to it, doesn't it?

Don't start me on the Libdems, as my language will become unladylike, and I fear someone like you, never having been on a bus, and used to living in the tranquil, twilight world of Borsetshire may be unnerved.

Mrs Angry said...

I do hope, Anonymous, that you, with all your spare bedrooms in West Berkshire, are not one of the tenants of Mr Beynon, featured in today's Mirror article?

Seems to be a habit of descendents of Prime Ministers, becoming a landlord of the undeserving poor, doesn't it?