I know you all hate it when I talk about politics, but something happened today which made me stop and think for a few minutes.
I went to buy a train ticket ( within Scotland) and proffered my senior citizen railcard. The booking clerk ( God, that ages me doesn't it?) flung a pamphlet at me.
" £13 return"
" Er what's the pamphlet for?"
" Well you're over 55, so you can travel anywhere in Scotland, return, for £15 - and as you have a railcard you get an extra £2 off, so, £13."
" And what does joining the over 55 club cost?" I asked suspiciously.
" Nothing - it's free. You just have to mention it when you buy your ticket. And you don't need to book in advance, there's no conditions and you can even book just before getting on the train."
I read the pamphlet and sure enough, it was all as he said. So a ticket I had expected to pay £32.80 for was £13.
Middle Ms. Lear was horrified to hear that her taxes were going to fund my travel bug, and that's what made me think.
Despite the general disgust and revulsion, the distrust and the loathing this government inspires, it is spending gigantic sums of our money bribing the electorate.
They don't have the money of course, but at some point it will have to be paid.
It reminds me of the Bird and Fortune skit before the 1997 election when they were discussing money that was being " given" to the man in the street. It isn't really given of course, the Government merely lends it - then takes it back in taxes.
Fortune, as the interviewer, says, " Of course, the average man will see through this and know its just an electoral bride."
" Absolutely, " says Bird ( as the ubiquitous George Parr)," Of course he's thinking - this is just a cynical bribe. But he's also thinking, as bribes go, it's a bloody good one."
And in a way, that's just what Labour has been doing for the last year - trying desperately to bribe us with our own money, and no pretence they they are trying to do better for the poor.
Which, of course, they have massively and signally failed to do.
They can't even do it properly like the Afghans....