And in other news….

Posted on August 4, 2011 in Ronnie's News

Last Saturday night, like every Saturday night, a few thousand people went out in Macclesfield and enjoyed themselves (just like people in other towns and cities across the country). It may appear to be a shock to people who read the Daily Mail, but I’m talking about people who went out into licensed pubs, bars and clubs and drank alcohol. The overwhelming majority of these people never even thought about having a fight or causing trouble, they just wanted to have a good time and meet other people by spending some of their hard earned leisure time away from their homes.

What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.  Is Britain broken? Certainly not in the way the mainstream media often portray it. It’s damaged economically, but it isn’t damaged emotionally or even morally on a majority of normal people level . Politically I feel we are often close to moral bankruptcy – I mean just what are we trying to achieve in Lybia? But that’s not the point of this blog.

When the economy contracts like it is at the moment, the natural urge is to contract it even more by looking for ways to save money. What seems like a good way of saving money often causes greater loss when the wider implications are taken into account. For example is drastically cutting public sector jobs actually saving money? It may look like it at first glance, but is the cost of paying redundancy payments and/or job seekers allowance adequate compensation for the loss of direct and indirect taxes these jobs generated? I’m not for one minute saying that efficiencies shouldn’t be actively sought and applied, but is it right to think that the private sector will pick up the slack when valuable public sector jobs are cut? Well who will risk it if there’s no profit in it? To compound this folly by raising indirect taxes is even worse. It may generate more tax per transaction but if it lowers the number of transactions to a level that you are taking less revenue, then what was the point?

The real argument is have the Government got it wrong with their overzealous cut spending and hike taxes approach. But the way to avoid answering that question is to shoot off at tangents, focus on minor things and blow them up into big things, e.g. Binge Drinking Broken Britain is such a drain on over stretched police resources. The truth of this is that the late night economy as well as satisfying a demand from millions of law abiding citizens actually generates millions of pounds for the exchequer in VAT and duty. And it actually provides another valuable service to the country – it creates jobs, which in turn generates even more money for the exchequer in income tax, NI, Corporation Tax, Business Rates and even more duty (thanks to the duty escalator!).

What’s a better investment for the country long term, investment in public services or investment in Tomahawk missiles to blow the shit out of innocent people in another country? What’s a better news story  - a “feel good” story about Apache helicopter gunships setting off on a mission to kill people (which the BBC cheerfully did when they decided to introduce these weapons into the  conflict with Lybia) or another doom and gloom story about binge drinking being a blight on our town centres. They both get equal billing, but which actually directly kills more innocent people? And the other curious thing about this is these weapons cost the country billions whereas the licensed leisure sector legally generates the Government billions.

Ronnie Rees

4 August 2011

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