STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.
WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility.
With last week’s budget and the anti-cuts march in mind, I confess to feeling less and less engaged with the political process. There’s even a referendum in a few weeks on AV voting … and who cares?
It increasingly seems that this government is set upon its’ course and is resistant to any other point of view, especially those pertaining to unsexy minority issues like disability and chronic illness.
I do think they are trying to reform too much at once and will end up completing very little. In time, the tide of opinion will turn against them – it always does. I’ll ride that when it happens and hope it’s before anything too horrendous happens and that a better alternative is then apparent.
For the moment, I am more interested in the big picture stuff and, after listening to a pretty dull Budget speech – enlivened only by Ed Miliband’s ‘Nigel Lamont with an iPod’ comment - the Chancellor’s proposal to review the possibilities of merging PAYE/NI rates bothers me – even though it might potentially simplify, and more truly illustrate, the total tax taken from income earners.
In looking to remove the contributory principle that currently underpins our welfare state, the government appears to reveal more of a fundamentally game-changing strategy - especially allied with the increasing exclusion of many income earners from social welfare benefits (through means testing, use of private insurances, running down/excluding support of state provision for social welfare).
Where income earners see high amounts of PAYE/NI deducted and yet have to pay privately for their own individual needs, the pressure to lower tax rates tends to be hugely supported by the majority of them. State services are reduced, used principally by those with no alternative, and the gap between those who have and those who do not may become the type of yawning chasm we see in the USA.
Is it not better for society that taxpayers remain invested in the welfare state – to feel that they contribute and receive rather than just bearing the burden of huge tax bills for the benefit of others?