Don’t make me look like an idiot: the MPs’ cry
The stand-off between members of parliament, Europe and Joe Public is reaching breaking point, if reports are to be believed. But will it put money back into the economy? Doubtful.
This morning, when I meandered through a Georgian graveyard to put my three pieces of coloured paper (face down, please, and flat, don’t fold them) into the ballot box, I pondered what I had never pondered before: ‘Is it time to pitch the party line?’
I’ve usually gone with the party and a part of me feels a little bit like a betrayer. But when I considered the phenomenal waste of public money that has been sunk into ridiculous projects that nobody under the age of 50 wants, I could not in all honesty toe the party line.
Instead I became a feminist for five minutes of my life, and voted for all the female candidates for London Mayor. I don’t think it made any difference. But what made me do it was their pledge - that sung out from the booklet - to ‘create a fair deal for the poor’.
Nobody else apart from the Green Party had emblazoned the fact that London has the highest proportion of people living below the breadline than nearly any other city in Western Europe - Spain will soon take that crown, if reports are to be believed.
Obviously, the exception is perhaps Athens, if you consider that to be a ‘Western’ economy.
No, what we had instead offered to us on a plate by the three main party leaders was a buffoonish statement about how brill one has been; how another is nothing like that Tory buffoon, and guff from the flip-flopping Paddick who should perhaps be contained in a paddock, the way his policies careen around the place in the direction of any populist movement. “Please love me! I’m not Ken or Boris!”
Nobody seemed to give a flying fig about the poor. But they are always with us. One IFA told me this week that even high street banks and insurers may join the boat that is leaving Poorville, embarkation date 1 January 2013, so even fewer than the predicted 70 per cent of totally non-advised people will no doubt become more like 85 per cent.
Earlier this year, Peter Smith of the FSA told me: “In terms of simplified advice, some of the firms we have consulted with want to tap the 70 per cent that don’t take any advice.
“Others want to target their own customer base with a simplified model. So I think it is possible that simplified models will benefit that part of the population that does not already take advice.”
Well he seems to have more faith than I have in the will of politicians and the industry that funds them to do their best for the most vulnerable in society.
Even George Osborne’s chubby face turned red as he sputtered, apopletically, before the Commission in Brussels: “Don’t make me look like an idiot” when it came down to watered-down EU bank rules. Not: “Don’t allow something full of loopholes to be responsible for safeguarding the wealth of hard-working people.”
So while politicians face-off against each other at the polls and in Brussels, and big banks are using their #toobigtofail clout to bend the regulators’ ears, would someone please like to tell me who exactly is going to help those who are not financially proficient?