I was once sat in a doctors surgery, rather bored, waiting for my turn to go and be poked and prodded. As I sat in the half empty room someone came in, picked up a chair and left. No-one batted an eyelid. No-one missed the chair. We were all still sitting comfortably. Then someone else came in and took a chair. Same reaction. It occured to me that they could gradually take the chairs away like that, and no one would care. We would barely notice. Eventually there would be so few chairs left that new people coming in would have nowhere to site. People leaving the chairs to go in to an appointment, but who then needed to come back in and wait a while longer would find there was nowhere left for them to sit. I wonder if people would defend the last few chairs? They may do, but the rest would be long gone. All our freedom had been gradually taken away and we barely noticed, and never resisted. Sorry, I mean chairs. Don’t I?

Am I the only one who remembers this? Spitting Image song to the tune of “Golden Brown” but with words changed to suit Gordon? I was amazed I never heard it when he took over as PM. I can’t find it on You Tube either, despite loads of other Spitting Image songs being on there. Did I dream it?

…Golden Brown is really starting to scare me. BBC news article sets out some of his views on education. Yet more tinkering at the edges, and essential lots more of the same, generally the sort of things most politicians spout. My concern is just how wedded “education” is becoming to “career” “aspirations” and “potential” (otherwise known as “money” “money” and “money”. Gordon is not looking for a system that yields bright, inquisitive people coming out of our education system, with the necessary basic skills for life, an interest in learning and the ability to think for themselves, rather economy slaves. We are determined that continuous economic growth is a panacea, and the only way it can continue is well training people being churned out of the sausage factory. Education doesn’t come into it.

I wonder what “no place in the new Britain we seek for complacency and no room for inadequate skills, low aspirations” means. Would aspiring to be a gardener be a low aspiration? Aspiring to being a full time parent? Aspiring to work few hours and live frugally in order to free up your time for more fulfilling activities than work? How about aspiring to work in the charitable sector?…..

I rather suspect all Gordon wants for our children is to aspire to earn as much as possible, buy ever more “stuff”, and keep the economy growing.

Ok, so I may be slow, but I have now worked out my bleating about this government’s approach to the voluntary sector a few weeks ago was quite timely. You see, dear old Mr Brown has just screwed the third sector – again. Tax is down to 20% from next year, whoppee! Oh, except there will be no 10% rate any more, so its only down as long as you are not on a low income. I have heard the income tax changes described as “roughly neutral” by some and a “small increase” by others, either way, it is redistributive taxation rather than a real tax cut. Just the sort of thing you expect from a labour government. Oh, aside from the bit where it favours the better off, and dumps on the working class, but never mind, there’s the good ol’ incomprehensible tax credits system, so we’ll all be OK….

Anyway, I digress. So Gordon has claimed a tax cut while saving a few pennies (very prudent) but hold on a mo, he has actually made a bit more, by reducing charities income. You see the base rate of income tax will drop, and so will the amount charities can reclaim under the Gift Aid scheme. Fair enough you might think, you should only be able to reclaim what has been paid in. Except we are paying the same amount of income tax, or slightly more, yet Gordon is keeping more for the government to fritter away, and leaving less for the voluntary and community sector they are so keen to support (at least when it means cheaper contracts for them than the private sector can offer.)

Harumph.

Time for a more left wing administration, like, erm… just about anyone else….