May I express my thanks to Jan Atkinson for explaining why the UK has substantial borrowing requirements but take issue with every opinion he expressed.
Mr Atkinson asks whether new schools and health centres will improve the lot of the population. This seems to me to be a pretty stupid question to ask. Whether or not you agree with how the buildings were funded (and I do not), having an entirely new school could not make things worse could it? Personally I think it is likely to make things better.
Next in Jan Atkinson’s sights are new health centres. No doubt they cost an awful lot and again I do not think the financing model is great but perhaps Jan hankers after the good old days of leeches and carbolic soap. How can new facilities be bad for the population? And how does Mr Atkinson know the place is overstaffed on the basis of one appointment?
It is quite astounding to me when I see the breakdown in my council tax bill, like everybody else I would rather pay less and get more but I think Mr Atkinson has misunderstood democracy if he thinks the “local authority” is a “vast unaccountable body”. We are allowed to vote for our councillors, and even if your candidate does not win you can still complain to the poor fool who was misguided enough to want to represent you. As to front line services being axed, I think complaints should be addressed to Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Osborne. (A letter to G. Birtwistle MP might be worth a try, but do not hold your breath, he is busy getting the A&E back ... not).
Public sector pensions are Mr Atkinson’s next bone of contention; his basic argument being we are all paying for financial mismanagement of local authority pension funds. Well yes we are, and we are going to have to deal with it. There is a £60bn. hole in local authority pension schemes but that is really loose change to the £850bn. it cost (not including interest) to stop our financial system from collapsing. Which brings me to the defence Mr Atkinson makes for the financial sector. Stop banker bashing he says? Well, I did not see anyone in Burnley buying me a bottle of 1865 Chateauneuf-du-Pape and then nearly bankrupting the Western World. The banks have not made a net contribution to this country. They have consistently been bailed out by the Government — anybody remember Black Wednesday? You don’t need a degree in maths to buy low and sell high, as many Burnley house owners know. The financial system benefits from boom and bust while we all pay for it.
So we pay out to rescue the banks in order that we can borrow our own money back from them! And remember, banks means bankers which, rhyming slang aside, means all the people who went to school with Osborne, Clegg and Cameron. They did not need super schools, we paid for their education in private schools which charge a nurse’s salary a term yet pay no tax because they are charities.
ROUGH WOOD BARN