So, was there any point in the 2% cut in the basic rate of income tax to 20%? I've been doing sums, with the help of this thing, and I think, if anything, I'll be slightly worse off next year (and my Council Tax bill for next year came this week too! Grrrrr). Thank you Gordon. I think scrapping the 10p rate was a really bad move as the people it will affect the most are the worst off already (and I'm not convinced that tax credits will make up the difference because that system is so cocked up I'm surprised anyone ever manages to get anything). I can cope with more duty of petrol etc, and personally think gas guzzlers should have *much* more road tax than they have at the moment, but with farmers and anyone who has to drive one for work (genuinely for work, as in you work halfway up a mountain) exempt or taxed at a lower rate.
And I don't think he's been very nice to small businesses, which includes every yarn shop I can think of, which can only be bad news.
But things I like about the Budget are the funny pictures of him standing there with that battered red briefcase (how antiquated is that) and watching him work his way through that MASSIVE pile of A4 paper (what happens if it all slides off? Imagine if there was a sudden gust of wind and it all went flying?!).
But on a more interesting note, I've just finished reading "The short life and long times of Mrs Beeton" by Kathryn Hughes. I read her biography of George Eliot (George Eliot: the last Victorian) a few years ago, but didn't enjoy that as much as I enjoyed this. This is much more than a biography of Mrs Beeton, more of an account of the Beeton "brand" because Mrs Beeton herself only lived for a very short time. It is highly entertaining, as it turns out she probably couldn't really cook at all, and most of the recipes were taken from other earlier sources. I enjoyed the insights into diet and foot in 19th century England, the changes in meals as people began to commute into London and could no longer have lunch/dinner/mid-day meal as their main meal of the day. People no longer knew where their food came from as more and more went to live in the towns and bought from greengrocers and bakers instead of direct from the farmer, and the quality of food was a particular concern as much was contaminated. Some of these issues sounded very like modern concerns about food traceability and the return to buying directly from farmers via farm shops and box schemes! I also had no idea that, after her death, a magazine published by her husband, the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, went into soft porn (not exactly fitting in with Beeton's wholesome image). All in all a most entertaining read! And has anyone tried boiling carrots for an hour and a half? I can't imagine anything more revolting...
Has anyone been watching the ITV Austen Season on Sunday evenings? I really enjoyed Northanger Abbey last night, more than Mansfield Park last week (which seemed too short to really get to know the characters). And Rupert Penry-Jones is in Persuasion next Sunday. PHWWWWOOOOAAAARRRRR!!