Broadcaster and Writer Julian Bray takes a post-festive view of what lies ahead for some of us:
For any Island economy (such as the UK) it is simple logic that transport and movement of goods has to be one of the basics of day to day life. Hike VAT and couple that with a series of scheduled price increases and you find that the VAT hike will claw even more back for HM Treasury, or will it?
Politicians are privately very worried that the UK consumer, who has seen the writing on the wall, possible loss of jobs and even the family home at risk, isn't fuelling a consumer boom and that canny people know Sale bargains on offer now will be even greater at the retailers financial year end March/April.
Retailers are holding up a figleaf that five days before Christmas retailers broke records but that leaves the other 360 days....of nil growth. Commercial property still has a high level of upward only rentals scheduled into High Street leases, signed during happier times. A quick trip round our local mega shopping mall shows many prime units shutting up, so at least they managed to get out.
Transport companies, especially those who deal with Europe, have long retro fitted huge fuel tanks and routinely fill up the other side of the tunnel, this will increase, so another tax revenue loss to HM Treasury, but a gain for France and Belgium. But there again, I'm told that Spanish make up chain SOPHORA (Vigo branch in particular!) is 60 percent cheaper than the UK offer and the quality is good if not better.
Pressure on HM Revenue & Customs means that retuning holidaymakers and white van people are smuggling large quantities of cigarettes and alcohol into the UK, then re-selling to the over-taxed UK population. However you look at it, the UK is in a mess and Labour to cry wolf over current VAT increases just will not wash anymore.
The seeds of civil discontent have been laid, as unemployment figures rise, houses are repossessed and public services take a collective battering. Politicians must seriously take a closer look at what happens outside the Westminster village. Twitter and Facebook have suddenly seen an explosion of postings as the unpaid interns start to crank out the same tired old messages.
So what is the answer? The Coalition Government has to have a reshuffle, rapidly move George Osborn and put in a battle hardened finance man/woman and this is important, the 'chosen one' must present well on TV. Whilst they are at it, they should also sideways move the gaff-prone panda eyed Baroness Warsi, putting her back to back in TV interviews with the equally panda eyed Red Ed Milliband is not just sad but comical.
But back to the Chancellor: It's no use George taking media presentational training lessons now, his bad habits and verbal tics have been formed over a well-heeled lifetime and he will unfortunately always be seen as someone with a wallpaper covered silver spoon in his mouth (The family money came from Osborne & Little, the toffs favoured upmarket wallpaper and paint manufacturers). An ex, ex-wife of mine - Interior Decorator by trade - must have shovelled thousands if not millions of Arab tax-free dollars into the O&L coffers.
Labour has put Alan Johnson (ex postman and all he knows about money is on the back of a shopping list) up against George and amazingly Johnson is clearly winning the media war between the two. Cameron, an ex-PR man, must see this and how long can he featherbed his old chum? Taking a ski break however short was clearly a bad move by George, but an amazing gift for the 'redtops' every newspaper office now has pictures of our George either looking like Eddie the Eagle or a mad terror bomber. Come to think of it Eddie the Eagle might be a good candidate for the up coming by-election . A few more jokers in the pack might be an interesting diversion, but the medium term future really is in the lap of the gods...... ye gods!
Contributor: Media, Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5 For 2011 [New 'Titanic Talks' TV/Radio series and Lectures in pre-production.]