Posted by: Admin | July 9, 2010

Who Ate all the Jam?

Did we think we could have our cake and eat it?

Here in the UK, as in most of the Western world, we are in the midst of a reckoning.  The new Coalition government has set out it’s plans for economic revival and it ain’t pretty. Ominous rumblings about this new period of austerity lasting a generation are casting a pall over the country, enveloping us in a cloud of gloom.  The party’s over – and how!

Speaking as one who partied as hard as anyone, looking back, it’s as if we were all in some kind of fugue: interest free “credit” – a synonym for “debt” – buy now, pay later, the instant gratification of jam today, now translated into dry bread all round. From the macro level of government to the micro level of individual households, we all sleep-walked our way to disaster.  What were we thinking?

My generation weren’t brought up to have it all but, dazzled by the new, disposable consumerism at our fingertips, was it surprising we began to rely on our “flexible friends”? Our Government literally “spent for Britain” whilst trumpeting the benefits of “prudence” and we all allowed ourselves to be seduced. The culture of spin that accompanied the long Labour years had us all deceived. Blair and Brown ruled with the liberal application of “smoke and mirror” tactics, succinctly demonstrated in the short film below:

Notwithstanding the above, blaming the Government for our own individual profligacy is akin to blaming fast food outlets for providing us with the means to stuff our faces.  It might have been easy to obtain credit, it might have become socially acceptable to live on the never-never, but no one held a gun to our heads and forced us to keep on spending.

Ultimately, in my view, the wholesale abandonment of personal responsibility is probably one of the greatest tragedies of my generation.

This week’s Saturday interview is with someone who feels strongly that we need to return to the traditional values of thrift and self restraint and her blog, The Wartime Housewife, plugs into the zeitgeist. Do come back tomorrow if you’d like some food for thought.

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Responses

  1. Credit cards, store cards and general debt will be the ruination of us all, either individually or at government level. The rule is very simple. If you haven’t got the money, you can’t have it. If you want it that badly, save up for it. Of course for those on a very low income the lack of ‘buffering’ in the form of savings or overdraft can be catastrophic if an emergency happens, but I know people who constantly service £20k+ of debt. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

  2. Been there, done that, WH – never again


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