public spending review 2010

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Rapidly running out of displacement activities (eight different e-mail addresses harvested and organised, access to re-established [thanks to the very helpful Scott at] not that I have done anything to the site although might be worth the effort of learning how to use, a whole range of different operating systems downloaded and tested but still not getting down to anything useful).

Tracking the fall out from yesterday’s spending review & makes for rather dismal reading: what is missing so far is that nobody has mentioned the fact that the Condems seem hell-bent on dragging us into double dip recession, perhaps we are entering a Darwinian phase of economics where the poor die even younger thus removing themselves sooner from the business model. Grrr, this is not what my parents and millions of others fought for but as a baby-boomer I do feel somewhat responsible for the mess we are heading into. Learning how to survive the new regime (and sharing survival tips and hints) will become my main activity except of course thereby proving myself fit for work whatever the doctors might say, tricky one that. It will be interesting to see what picture the various social statistics say in ten years’ time. Several life times ago, although not a mathematician or statistician I used to read the Department of Employment Gazette” which supplied enough comprehensible data to see what happened,was happening and likely to happen. Or maybe it’s a consequence of listening to the Home Service for more than fifty years? Whatever, need supplies so popping round the corner to to get energy drinks, milk, food and cigarettes. Of late, such an expedition is the only time I venture forth, the only time I have contact with the real world. This agoraphobia is weird and not easily understood, it’s not as if I am scared of or anxious about anything, have been living here long enough to be on first name terms with most of my neighbours. Typical October weather the man just said and yes it is chilliest so far out side but inside is warm because I have allowed myself an early heating switch-on. Still not getting the hang of this blogging business, off for a while to eat something. Done but still haven’t found a one-click way of gathering all my Facebook and Twitter conversations into WordPress… Are we going back to 1968 with CRS thugs bashing people on the streets of France?

Tired of screens, time for some radio methinks. At least the Home Service is almost always broadcasting something worth listening to. Just found this written for a US market of course but, hey, who says the English have the monopoly on the English language [factoid – most of the US population thinks that English originated in the USA (invented by Thomas Jefferson in 1776), within a couple of decades they’ll probably be thinking the same of Spanish].

Chilly Saturday night in Frome but this autumn day has been greatly enlivened by an unexpected flying family visit all three of them looking well!

A day later after another Seroquel sleep although I was woken up in the small hours by some sort of high-spirited domestic happening underneath the window. Must have gone back to sleep OK despite the adrenaline rush or whatever it is that took me from deep sleep to almost fully awake in nanoseconds. ‘Tis another bright sunny autumn day, have enough supplies to mean I don’t need to go out at all today although Sunday evening is time to put out my recycling, why is it called that? Presorted rubbish would be a more accurate term, wish I had the technology to be able leave a transponder of some kind in order to satellite track the eventual destination of my rubbish. I think that Mendip District Council are quite good in this respect but since so many of its services are contracted out to private definitely for profit companies it can be hard to tell what actually happens. For that matter, what does Mendip District Council actually do? Most of the significant services (e.g. rubbish collection, housing, benefit payment) that were once provided by the District Council’s own workforce have been out-sourced to private companies. Wouldn’t it be wonderfully ironic if the current ConDem regime forces unitarianism (nothing to do with religion – I mean the process of creating a unitary authority such as that happening next door in Wiltshire) [Wiltshire is worth a blog all of its own, I suspect that it was told it was going unitary in a an attempt by central government to address the endemic corruption that has existed for all my life, West Wilts was so bad that some of its officials even went to gaol] onto Somerset so that the more strategic powers go up to Somerset County Council and the day to day stuff is devolved down to local administrations such as Frome Town Council or Wells City Council. The question was asked by an expensive but psephologically doubtful opinion poll (presented as if it were a referendum) organised by Mendip District Council; strangely enough the decision to maintain the status quo was made before all the results were in but that’s OK since it turns out that the six figure exercise was just a consultation.

Enough local politics, time to focus on what I need to do today, really exciting stuff like put out my recycling and send off my application for a garage, to put my name down for one in the block of six round the back. I don’t need a garage per se but I am sure that Cadbury, the trusty Civic, would appreciate the shelter. Applying more as a point of principle than need – one of my neighbours has told me that another neighbour (who does not have a car) is trying to get one for her daughter’s use. Apparently said daughter owns two houses (with garages and parking) and a fleet of vehicles including the camper van that spends most of its time parked by the garages. Am I being mean? Maybe but this is social housing the allocation of which is supposed to be according to need and I do believe that Flourish Homes resource should go to those most in need. Don’t know what the rent will be (rumour has it the garages are to be refurbished and even given power and water) and whether I would be able to afford it but there is a principle here somewhere and it would be good to have somewhere to leave the car if I have to SORN it for a while. Foc – writing is not easy when I keep letting form triumph over content, not even sure that the hyper-links I have carefully added here will survive the copy and paste into WordPress.

Hooray! one of life’s little victories – the fonts may be randomised but at least the links have transited OK, time to do something real world for a bit..


Okey dokey, the subdomain exists, Komposer installed and slightly understood, it’s a start. All I have to do now is track the more intelligent of the rapidly multiplying articles about the housing benefit changes and see if I can present an intelligent or at least best guess synopsis of what lies ahead. It’s not just the tenants who will be affected, the changes will also surely impact the often Daily Mail subscribing buy-to-let part of the housing market (health warning – commentary on the buy-to-let gang may provoke a certain amount of Schadenfreude), will probably also impact the general housing market and slow down or even stop the hitherto relentless increase in house prices. Unexpected visit from Lynne and Dizzy who have helped me with two loads of washing so I’ll less justification for getting out from under the duvet tomorrow out the next day. Using the laundry room can be a complicated process as the facility can be well used and there seems to be a complicated protocol for using the two washing machines and the tumble dryer. Briefly, use any machine that’s empty, press the start button and note the finish time, 30 minutes for the dryer anything up to 60 minutes for a washing machine. Noting the time is critical because if you’re not there, another service user (supposed to be a tenant but in reality whoever has a copy of the key that accesses the laundry room) will have emptied the machine and put your wet or almost dry clothes in a pile somewhere, sometimes in a heap, sometimes carefully paired, folded and tidied. To be fair, most other users seem to respect others’ clothes and treat them as they would their own. I guess because it’s mists of time traditional, Monday can be the busiest day but there is no easily discernible pattern. I have tiptoed there in the middle of the night only to find another serial insomniac hoping for three empty machines. I guess it’s one way of meeting the neighbours, this is quite a settled community which achieves the ideal of applied housing, that is to say a complete mix of age, generation and employment that accurately reflects Frome demographics. Mixed communities are good, anywhere that is dominated by a single socio-economic group, struggles to be a community. Struggling to write anything, off to find a clever way to auto-feed Facebook, Twitter, SMS et al into a single blog. Not found yet, still chasing the grail of single keystroke, that no piece of information need to be entered more than once, easily distracted at the moment, just posted on Facebook.



5 comments on “public spending review 2010

  1. titflasher says:

    If I thought that the govt were actually thinking about how these cuts would be implemented, instead of just putting them across the board, I would feel heartened. My ex-hubby works in the public sector and they still have the same stupid double systems, processes and are implementing the most ludicrous things which means that there is more work, more risk and then just ad hoc taking people out of the system so less people to do it all. I’d love to get my teeth into their systems and processes and achieve real cost savings but experience has shown me that they are not recruiting correctly – still asking for extensive IT qualifications etc when it’s actual managers with proper management skills that they need. No doubt the NHS will be similar and I think that keeping for instance, scientific research at the same level, but cutting benefits to the most vulnerable is criminal, as is cutting defence budgets but staying in Afghanistan and Iraq (this one is clearly murderous – our soldiers are already poorly equipped as it is).

    Re your agoraphobia – if you are making it out to the shops, is it because you feel comfortable doing that (but not going elsewhere) or it is that you are having to do it to survive, thus pushing yourself to do it? If you are not nervous/ anxious, is it true agoraphobia or perhaps a side effect of feeling down? Just a thought?

  2. warriet says:

    yep, my work experience for the last 25 years was in the definitely for profit private sector so I was (and still am) shocked by the waste and duplication to be found in the public sector that I became a grateful but unwilling client of. For example, a part-time Tesco loo-cleaner or a still at school Saturday-only shelf stacker – the lowest of the low – is probably only five or six management levels away from the CEO – let’s hope the public sector develops the same sort of leanness but I am afraid that the cuts will be borne by the front-line shit-kickers and their clients while the layers and layers of ‘management’ will use their over-abundant spare time to fight for their personal fiefdoms.

    Agoraphobia – the drivers to get me out to the corner shop are milk and cigarettes (oops, hope ND does not see that) recently I’ve only been elsewhere in company. Have lost track what is causal and what is symptomatic and the Seroquel blurs everything. But still a valid thought, I’ll will find a little boundary ( something different)to push tomorrow 🙂

  3. titflasher says:

    Yes, this is my fear too. Milk and cigarettes are excellent drivers :-). Glad to have helped, if indeed I have. I am beginning to formulate a theory about the way “mental illness” symptoms are perceived. It seems that any feelings or behaviour out of a very strict norm are seen as further symptoms of mental illness, rather than just (what I would consider to be) normal ups and downs; resulting in a huge volume of different diagnoses and treatments, when perhaps some of these should be perceived as just normal. It seems that the moment one is diagnosed as mentally ill, anything gets leapt upon as a symptom. This is just my observation though, I need to stress.

    I am well aware that some of my “normal” range probably borders on the fringes of “mental illness” per se but I think that is true of a great number of people who fall into the “normal” or “healthy” category … so I am always interested to know what is causal and what is symptomatic and why … sorry I’m gabbling … time for bed!

    • warriet says:

      Yes, the main problem of course is that the ‘strict norm’ is whatever sits the judge at the time. Like teaching, most of the front-line staff come into the mental health business with a rather limited experience of life and are seriously threatened by anyone or anything that thinks or acts outside their particular box. Think I’ve said this before: I was asked my psychiatrist “what is normal anyway?”, he replied “whatever is normal for you”…Am still thinking about that one, also that the whole treatment methodology seems at times to be predicated on the avoidance of the slightest sign of hypomania. I guess the trick is to not be caught 🙂 there are many people out there who are definitely badly neurotic, sometimes even psychotic but they manage not to frighten the horses so continue on with their utterly weird lives.

      As for gabbling? (a) is that not what blogging is all about and (b) your words are always worth reading!

    • warriet says:

      Agoraphobia footnote: did push the boundary a teeny bit today, drove to McColls till I found one with parking (mental note to not attempt to go to the nearest at lunchtime) and bought some electricity and gas. What I did notice about being out is that I make eye contact with anyone I encounter and can even manage to chatter. So what is the problem? No obvious fear or anxiety…

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