"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chancellor's book of doom

George Osborne: endless age of austerity
EXTRACTLooking at the autumn statement in the light of the OBR report, BBC commentator Norman Smith described it as an “utterly terrifying” book of doom - a “hulking great mountain of pain” that will take Britain “back to the land of Road to Wigan Pier” (a reference, of course, to George Orwell’s 1937 depiction of the extreme economic hardship endured by the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire). Osborne immediately hit back, accusing the BBC and other critics of being “totally hyperbolic”. Unfortunately for the chancellor, however, the Institute for Fiscal Studies added weight to Smith’s fears - pointing out that only £35 billion of cuts had already happened, meaning there was at least £55 billion yet to come. In which case, seeing that education, health and international aid is ring-fenced, many government departments could suffer budget reductions amounting to more than 40% - “colossal” cuts that could force a “fundamental re-imagining” of the state, to use the words of the IFS.
Whether cuts of such a magnitude are sustainable, politically or economically, is a different question. But if you are a teacher, nurse, local government worker or civil servant, the chances are that your living standards will keep going down. Osborne, after all, plans to slice billions off the tax credits bill paid as a top-up to five million families on low incomes - which could reduce the income of a working-poor family with one child by £350 a year, while a lone parent with two children could see a £500 drop (the precise picture is complicated by the phasing out of tax credits and their replacement by universal credit).

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