We really are supremely fucked. They (by which I mean Gideon, obviously) are putting VAT on pasties. Are we not cunticulated enough? Apparently (and this is weird) there is hell on about this in the South West of England despite the people who are really going to take a hit from this are Greggs who are from the North East. I do mean it is bizarre because the whole “above ambient temperature” clearly means If I buy a Cornish pasty in Stockport (which is the sort of thing I might do) then clearly it has had much time to cool down en-route from Cornwall. I know this because when I was a kid my parents rented a VW camper van for a holiday in Cornwall. It broke down, and when I say broke down I mean there was fire coming out of the engine at the back. I was the one who told my Dad who was driving – I don’t think I ever saw him more concerned – I mean the engine on fire is never a good sign. The AA took us home and lorks that was a grim ordeal. I mean if you live in Gateshead (as I did) breaking down three miles from Land’s End is double-plus ungood.
Anyway, enough of my woes from a quarter of a century back. I am quite recovered from it. But on another holiday up in the Lake District we stop at Tebay services and I (I ought to be shot) buy a Ginsters pasty. I only managed to grockle myself fully and feel human again by the M60. Terrible guts. For most of the M6 I would have kissed the hand of any humanitarian with a gun who offered to shoot me. And that dear readers is what Gideon wants to put Value Added Tax on as though it was a luxury. A pasty is hardly a luxury item like a Gucci handbag, it’s usually a grimnacious ordeal. I think that is why people are up in arms over the pasty tax. VAT started as a tax on luxuries and inevitably wound-up being a tax on almost everything in much the same way income tax was a temporary measure to beat Boney. Oh, and didn’t VAT start at like 8% or something. It’s now 20% but not on “life’s necessities” such as children’s clothes. Well, I’m not a child but I suspect if I wandered the streets stark bollock naked at the age of 38 I’d rapidly be scrobbled by the rozzers for some public order offense. Especially if I were also eating an untaxed pasty.
Let’s call a spade a spade here. They have taxed everything because they are broke. A few weeks ago I got a new sofa. Now there was an unexpected dividend. Before hiring a man with a van to fetch the new and take the old to the tip (that was taxed!) I slit it and 8 quid fell out. That is what Gideon is doing. The gubbermunt is so broke it is taxing pasties in a demented attempt to make ends meet.
And for what? The NHS? Welfare? No… I’m with Mark Wadsworth here. Mark is a chartered accountant so when he figures things on the back of his “magic fag packet” he is worth listening to. His point is that we are in the financial shit not because of the big-ticket items but the huge number of little things and the waste and chronic overspend on those little things.
Here is an example. I come from the Western Gateshead commuter belt. As a result of John Prescott’s ten year transport plan they built a new bus stop. This was epically top-down and therefore located on the grounds of Ryton Rugby Club. I know what they were thinking. On the road west out of Blaydon there are essentially two “villages”, Ryton and Crawcrook. I say “villages” with the quotes because they are essentially dormitory towns for Newcastle and I guess Gateshead. So, they build a transport hub (multi-modal transport was in fashion) at the epicentre of Ryton/Crawcrook. The thing is whilst it is at the centre of the two “villages” it isn’t actually that local for anyone in particular. The idea was that this hub would be fed by bikes and taxis. This of course flew in the face of reality. Public transport is a pain anyway but public transport with a change is an epic pain which is of course why people tend to spend lots of money (taxed of course) on cars. The entire hub nonsense doesn’t work. Put simply nobody gets a taxi to get a bus. So this monstrance lasted two years and other than bored kids skate-boarding was never used. They built a bus-stop in the middle of nowhere on the basis of a theory which would have been debunked by asking anyone who lived around there (like me) which they clearly didn’t because they knew better. It cost GBP 1.3m to build. It probably cost something outrageous to demolish and it actually harmed bus travel in the area. Now seeing as I had lived in the area most of my life did they think to ask me? No. Or any of the fifty thousand people this was supposed to serve? Did they fuck.
I almost fell off my chair when I heard the 1.3m figure for what was a glorified bus stop. It had a little hut with staff where you could buy travel cards and such but nobody ever went there. All it did was prolong my journey in and out of Newcastle by 2 minutes. Nobody ever got on or off there and there is a very simple reason for that. Why do you think Ryton Rugby Club is there? Because there are no houses because Ryton and Crawcrook can never join because there is a former coal mine between them so you can’t really build much. You can have prop-forwards scoring tries but obviously that is not the same as building a housing estate or a supermarket. Subsidence. And anyway prop forwards are ten a penny (well more than that because presumably they’re taxed too…)
So that is where it has all gone. It has all been spent on random shit in some form of Keynesian orgy. And that is why Gideon is taxing pasties. Because we are epically fucked and there is nothing else left to tax. And that is why this frankly bizarre issue for a revolution is going to run and run. Because quite simply we only get it when we see how utterly insane it is and it isn’t even just that. We get it when we see how fucking desperate the government clearly is. No pretence anymore. Fucked immaculate.