What a strange world we are living in here in the UK.
This time last year the big crisis was that house prices were too high and rising too fast and when will it stop? Well, it has stopped and prices are falling (though still not to the level of two years ago we are told) – and it is still a crisis. And the daft thing is that the whole issue will have no effect on the majority of the population. You have to sympathise with would-be first-time buyers, who have been almost priced out of the market for several years. But at least they will have noted, and hopefully learnt from, the plight of those who have overstretched themselves and now find themselves in negative equity or about to lose their homes.
So far as I can see, the current crisis affecting banks and other financial institutions has been largely the result of their own greed and incompetence. If house prices continue to fall it will help first-time buyers who, I hope, will not be penalised for the current situation by unfair interest rates and ridiculous “arrangement charges”.
Two of the reasons that food prices are going up are first, natural causes, where harvests are poor due to floods or other climatic factors beyond our control (and not The Goverrnment’s fault either) causing shortages of supply in relation to demand. Secondly, the rising costs of transport caused by rising oil prices. OK but there is something wrong here…
…Transport firms complain that rising fuel prices squeeze their profit margins. Retailers complain that prices in the shops have to go up to cover increasing transport costs. Can they both be right? And then, just to spice up the action, fuel tanker drivers (who else?), in the middle of a fuel crisis, start striking for an inflation busting increase in their wages which are already overr £30,000 per year. Will someone explain why a fuel tanker driver is worth that sort of money. What is the going rate for various sorts of drivers these days?
At least one aspect of daily life seems to be turning the corner at last; lots of people are leaving their cars at home and looking for more cost-effective and efficient ways to travel – and pretty well anything meets these criteria better than the private car. More walking, and cycling especially, will soon produce health benefits for the participants and, indirectly, for everyone else as well since there will be less pollution and less traffic congestion and stress. Perhaps we will start to see an impact on that other national crisis, obesity.
Finally, as it is Sunday, I must enquire what on earth is The Church of England playing at? It has always seemed to me to have been a bit foggy about what it believes in and has tried to be all things to all people. Why the present crisis? Why persist with this dishonest pretence of preserving a world-wide Anglican Communion which, by definition, no longer exists?