When I left school I did a couple of years at the old Walsall Technical College where I got a City & Guilds in gents hairdressing, following which I worked in the gentlemen’s hairdressing department in a large and prestigious Birmingham store until 1970. After a summer of dossing around and hitchhiking across Europe, I took on a small barbers shop in the suburbs and for twelve months became my own boss. As this did not pay, after a very lean year when the rental contract came to an end – I got out and the old man roped me into the family business where I spent such a large part of my life finishing up running (and constantly worrying) about the business and making ends meet through the recessionary years of those times.
During that year out in the sticks, struggling to make ends meet many of my customers worked in industry or at, what was then Austin Rover, and many a day I would be cutting the hair of someone on strike, and gritting my teeth, as they would inform me they were on strike because they considered a pay rise, which amounted to more than I earned in a week, was not enough.
If I wanted a pension I had to organise and fund one myself, which I did and still have. This coming December I will hit the grand old age of 64 – one year away from retirement age. As my own funded pension is what is technically termed as crap, and no doubt my state pension not much different, I am not sure retirement will be a luxury I can afford despite the fact I have worked continuously since the age of 17. In fact that due to working for myself in our family business, to make ends meet and pay the bills I had no option but to cut my private pension contributions in order to survive.
So, when all the news is dominated with ‘poor me’ public sector workers going out on strike because they are going to have to contribute more and work longer to get the same pension, I can’t say I have a great deal of empathy. Yes, I know there are dinner ladies feeding the kids school meals for low wages, but there are a lot of public sector workers, in some well protected jobs, on very cushy numbers who are doing ok – they will be considerably wealthier than me when retirement comes. This is not a complaint – it is simply a fact of life that nothing is ever equal or fair.
Over the years those who have worked in industry and the private sector have been hit hard, if a company goes bust due to global competition, badly made Government or EU rules, then the workers are out and on the dole – no protection for them or the people who run the businesses who have mortgage up to the hilt and lost their homes and life savings trying to keep their companies afloat – no one cares for them and no Government, despite the rhetoric, ever gives a shit too.
Yet in the public sector there are constant wails that their jobs should be for life and their pension’s gold plated. Well now is the time for a dose of reality and a taste of the world those who generate money and pay the taxes, which in turn pay the wages of the public sector, inhabit. Like the rest of us they can’t take it for granted all their jobs are safe, we are living in very tough times indeed, mostly created because of the folly of the EU and our membership of it.
Those public sector workers with their cushy none jobs are going to have to go. We don’t need ‘Diversity officers’ ‘Positive activities officers’ and all the other silly things our taxes are spent on, in tough times such as these they will have to go. The state is no different to any other employer, if cutting jobs and wages is the way to save the company and the remaining essential jobs – then there is no other option. Tough but necessary.
Like businesses that get into trouble, the same reasons for problems which beset the state often apply. Sometimes it is due to global trends out of the control of anyone, also sometimes it is due to bad management decisions. One of the reasons Britain UK is in the dire straits it currently finds itself in is down to year upon years of bad decisions – starting with our membership of the Common Market (EU) back in 1973. Every Government since has kept this nation shackled to that historic calamitous blunder and because of it we now find ourselves deep in debt whilst at the same time we have given away the power to resolve many of our problems.
Recent figures show for 2009/2010 show that the UK's gross EU contributions have increased by 5.7%. The UKIP web-site states: “Gross receipts (payments from Brussels to the UK) shrank between 2009 and 2010. Part of the reason for this was Tony Blair's surrender of the UK's rebate from the EU.
Our net contribution to the EU has rocketed from £6.6billion in 2009 to £10.3billion in 2010.
Last year the Office for Budget Responsibility envisaged £10.3billion as the annual cost of EU membership for 2014. These new figures show that they have grossly underestimated the cost to the UK of EU membership.
The Pink Book 2011 is a summary of balance of payments accounts, which contain detailed statistics for the current account including; trade in goods and services, income, current and capital transfers, transactions in UK external assets and liabilities, and levels of identified assets and liabilities.
Numbers contained in The Pink Book are higher than those from HM Treasury because not all UK payments to and from Brussels transit via HM Treasury. For example, the Department for International Development channels part of its 'overseas aid' direct to institutions by-passing HM Treasury.”
If the country is in such an economic mess how can we afford EU membership, it is the greatest folly of any time.
Sadly, those we elect to Parliament do nothing to support us, like the strikers they will al, be protesting about the wrong things, if we hadn’t wasted so many years in the EU we would be in a much stronger position now during lean times. Our MPs even had a chance to correct this situation a few weeks ago by granting us a referendum EU membership, so determined were all three political parties that we should not correct the error of the past by allowing the people a say, they enforced a three line whip on their MPs to vote against the Bill.
This included my own Member of Parliament for Walsall South, Valerie Vaz MP. I sent her an e-mail explaining why we needed a say and all that is wrong with membership of the EU, which anyone with eyes in their head and a functioning brain can plainly see, the e-mail reply stated:
“Dear Mr Bennett,
Thank you for your email regarding the debate and vote on a EU referendum. I was sorry to miss you on Monday and hope you are well. I did not vote for a referendum as in my view the case for a referendum at this time has not been made. Britain should currently be focused on providing jobs and growth. I would consider supporting a referendum if and when a Government seeks to make a major change to Britain's relationship with the European Union.
Regards, Valerie Vaz.”
So, despite the fact we have given massive tranches of power and national sovereignty to the EU over our long and sorry membership, despite the fact the EU is on the verge of destroying the biggest remaining UK wealth creator, the City of London, despite the fact no British subject is safe from arrest by foreign courts on the most circumstantial evidence, despite the fact British industry, businesses and wealth creators are been systematically destroyed by EU bureaucracy and legislation, and despite the fact £billions upon £billions of our wealth floods out of the UK to be lost in the mire of EU accounting year on year, we can’t have a referendum.
Soon those whinging strikers who may have to work a year or two longer, to get the same pension will have something to really worry about – not only do they face a future of possibly no job and no pension because our wealth has been squandered on the EU – they may find they have no country either. How about striking for Britain instead – that would be something to strike for.