I had a very pleasant day, today. I had a coffee and some sausages for breakfast, made a quick call to the office and then cycled over to the house to spend the day with Dan and Abi.
Dan had a half-term tennis club at 10:30, so Abi and I walked down into Kirkby Lonsdale and had a J2O and a coffee in The Royal Hotel before heading back up to Booths to buy some lunch and also some mince and kidney beans for my dinner.
We’d hoped to go to the cinema but the bus times and screenings didn’t work out so we spent the first half of the afternoon at the house, first eating lunch – sausages and crisps! – and then drawing (them) and dozing (me). At three o’clock, we walked back down into town and Hannah gave us a lift back to the cottage, where we read and played chess in front of the fire, with a short break for a couple of Hobnobs.
Their mum picked us all up at about half-five and I had a short bout of dealing with three of my older daughters regarding insurance for the car they share before going for a swim and then cycling home.
As I write this, I’m eating the chilli I made myself when I got in, having had a handful of peanuts to stave off the hunger pangs when I arrived home.
All sounds pretty pleasant and innocuous, right.
I had three sausages for breakfast. They come in packs of six at £2.85, so that’s around £1.40. Let’s call it £1.50 and pretend that would cover the coffee, too.
When Abi and I went into The Royal, that cost another £4.50.
The shopping at Booths came to £10.23, which was for lunch for the three of us and my dinner.
A pack of Hobnobs costs a pound and I think there’s probably around fifteen in a pack so, let’s say it was 25p for the four we ate.
I swam at the local heath club, at which I’m a member, but let’s say it would have cost £3 at a leisure centre (it would have been £3.60 in Kendal).
That’s £19.48 for the day.
I could have bought cheaper sausages, that’s for sure. Maybe we do want people eating cheap food and keeping that market buoyant with all the health scares, cattle destruction and horse meat that goes with that. Maybe we do want people eating those foods linked with obesity and diabetes.
Abi and needn’t have had coffee and a J2O at The Royal. That’s beginning to look like the real luxury of the day, although Dan’s tennis also qualifies.
And, of course, there’s no real need to go swimming and keep in good shape is there? The NHS can pick up the bill for that in the long run.
So I could have done the day on £11.98 even without resorting to cheaper food.
Of course, I didn’t feed the kids in the evening, or indeed, give them their breakfast this morning, so there’s that cost to be added.
It all makes IDS’s £53 a week look a bit bloody stupid, doesn’t it?
And I’ve not included the fact that my house was lit and heated (roughly £3 per day) or taken my broadband into account (about a pound a day) or the firewood that we burnt. Today we didn’t need to buy any clothes, so that was lucky.
We’d also talked about going to the cinema, which would have come to over £30 for our bus fares and tickets, never mind the cost of popcorn.
And having spent an hour talking about insurance and taking into account the cost of petrol, I’m damn sure you couldn’t run a car on £53 a week.
In conclusion then, if you’re one of those people who’s faced with living on £53 a week, I think you’ll need to give up your car and doing nice things with your family. You’ll have to stick with the clothes you have and get used to wearing a lot of them at once in the winter. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where there are jobs and there’s nothing preventing you from working, you’ll have to put some of your money aside for the bus and maybe borrow some smart clothes.
It’s all a bit pathetic, isn’t it? I see IDS is dismissing the petition for him to live on £53 a week as “a stunt”, claiming that he has been unemployed twice. Ah, beware anecdotes from this man who lied about his degree on his CV.
Here he is in today’s Guardian talking about finding himself unemployed:
“It was a shock – absolutely awful. I felt pathetic. I remember telling my wife. We looked at each other and she said: ‘God, what are we going to do for money?”
So how did our plucky little soldier with the “can do” attitude manage? Read on:
“Duncan Smith’s wife, Betsy, is the daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe who served as lord-lieutenant of Buckinghamshire in the 1980s and 1990s. Duncan Smith and his wife, who sent their children to Eton, moved into Lord Cottesloe’s 17th-century Old House in the village of Swanbourne in Buckinghamshire in 2002. His in-laws moved into smaller accommodation to make way for the Duncan Smiths and their four children.”
You couldn’t make it up, could you?
I understand why the LibDems went into the coalition: I’ve heard it first hand from MPs and senior people in the party. Maybe that decision was based on good faith and maybe it was – at a stretch – the right thing to do at the time. BUT IT WAS THE WRONG DECISION. It’s time to face up to that, dissolve the coalition and tackle these vile bastards head on.