A Despairing End to the Decade

Good God I feel miserable.

I accept that most gripes and grumbles come in small, inconsequential portions. There are minor irritants such as the lights turning red just before your turn to cross a junction, or a drinks mat sticking to the glass then falling to the floor with an annoying clatter when you take a sip. These moments are almost instantly forgotten about as soon as they happen, though collectively they can snipe and goad at your mood throughout the day. There are then more caustic versions of these nuisances that take a little longer to pass – whether it be a failing kitchen appliance, a work-related problem or a persistently dour length of rainfall.

Let me acknowledge that there have been a myriad of those things this week, though I have little interest in detailing the minutiae of all this here – even less than you would have digesting it. Two things rise above the trivia, however, and are both worth noting. The first is that on Monday it came to my attention that I am to face a huge tax bill, along with a likely (and significant) drop to my monthly household income. The details of this are not worth delving into but broadly speaking it is down to the ludicrous way in which child benefit eligibility is not only calculated but retrospectively analysed, together with the unfortunate level at which my taxable income sits. Not only am I in a “problem” bucket, but my overall package can fluctuate significantly on an annual basis. It is a bizarrely twisted situation and right now it feels as if my circumstances were specifically designed to fall foul of just about every possible angle that David Cameron’s inadequate legislation was based upon. As a result of trying to do the right thing I am likely to receive a hefty demand for thousands of pounds in the run up to Christmas and moreover, with immediate effect, I am going to be a couple of hundred quid worse off a month. The bitter punchline is that if our household income almost doubled, but was split 50/50 from an earnings perspective between my wife and me, then not only would I not have to pay this money back but I would also not lose the extra monthly payment. The word absurd does not do it justice. 

It is more than likely that at some point in your life – perhaps even on multiple occasions – you have had an unexpected bill or expense, so I am sure you can empathise with the stark fact that this just sucks. In most case though, this amounts to a new car or new boiler and therefore the monetary outlay at least results in a tangible benefit. In my case, it will simply amount to me writing a cheque to the Inland Revenue and then being poorer each month from then on. The Government will spend this money on how it deems fit (based on the current pie chart on the back on P60 forms the largest chunk of this will go to prop up the welfare state and the NHS); yet I must soldier on, getting up at the crack of dawn and doing my bit for the economy with the same smile on my face and level of motivation required to steer my vessel forward. It is here that I will segue into the other source for my gloom. The forthcoming General Election.

On the way into work this morning I had the radio on as usual (it remains on for the first fifteen minutes of my journey until I receive the traffic news and is then switched off immediately to be replaced by either music or podcasts) and was subjected to a torrent of anti-Tory, anti-Boris propaganda. This is fairly routine so ordinarily I wouldn’t allow this to ruin my mood, except for the fact that of course there remains the chance – however slight – that we could end up with a Corbyn government. When I think of how my monetary story has played out under a Tory Government; the idea of a rampant Marxist who hates Britain and the West gaining the keys to 10 Downing Street and ramping up tax and spend on just about every area of the public sector (not to mention land-grabbing more of the private sector into this bucket), it is almost certain to cause me complete and utter financial ruin overnight. This is a man who, not only wants to turn the UK into a socialist state, but wants to pull up the drawbridge on any chance of the country rejecting his policies once the harsh realization of what they have voted for hits the people. He’ll lower the voting age to sixteen, massively expand the number of public sector workers, hugely empower the trade unions and force business owners to flee the country. The net result of this will be a reduction in the Tory vote and in increase in indoctrinated Labour voters (this is already occurring in the educational establishment where the main point of keeping people in full time education is to ensure they remain both socialist and woke).

The next few weeks will be a turning point. I await my bill with the disposition of a man facing the gallows and then the subsequent election with the sort of confidence that I typically reserve for an England vs Wales match in the Six Nations (i.e. almost none). Should I find scrape the funds together, move on from the sorry incident and then welcome in a Boris victory, I might find a modicum of Christmas cheer. Perhaps this will be followed by a swift exit from the EU, a reform of taxation and some welcome optimism with which to start the new decade. On the other hand, if I am left financially ruined and then am forced to witness that lunatic win power I might just plan to disappear. After all, there must be something better than this.