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Autumn Statement of Get Knotted

December 3, 2014

They weren’t even trying, were they? Couldn’t be bothered even with the minimalist adjustment to the visual of getting a woman to sit in the “doughnut” around the Chancellor. You could kind of see a woman’s elbow, some of the time, in the top left hand corner of the screen. Someone wearing the kind of blue suit that Margaret would have worn in her heyday. You could print out a screenshot and flog it as an allegorical artwork of the Dead Hand of Thatcherism.

Yes, well, I was watching it with The Women’s Budget Group, wasn’t I, so maybe I noticed these things more than usual. (Disclaimer: this blog post represents my own personal view and not the WBG’s. The WBG’s can be found at http://wbg.org.uk)

But really, wasn’t that the theme? Aside from the puerile insults, the smidgin of good news for orchestras, children’s TV and picturesque worthy causes, the usual promises to cut tax avoidance… The rest was machismo.

Big butch infrastructure projects. A Northern Powerhouse. Ken-doll hard-hat projects that will give good photo op.

Yes, the infrastructure needs some work. But not just the physical infrastructure: the civic infrastructure. The carers need more money and stable employment, not a morsel of NICs relief for their employers. Yes, businesses need rates relief. But local councils need the money to employ carers and social workers and keep the libraries and the sure start centres and the lunch clubs and the care homes open. Yes, householders need a sensible stamp duty system, but renters need security of tenure, reasonable rents and certainty of repairs – and some more houses available to rent and buy at reasonable prices wouldn’t go amiss, too.

The one attempt to spike the feminist guns was the early claim that the gender pay gap was closing. Well, yes, I suppose it is – there’s downwards convergence. Men aren’t getting cost of living rises and neither are women. So we all get poorer but we’re all poor together? Um, I hate to break it to you, boys, but that’s really not what we had in mind!

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