World Cup Fever: I've been bitten by the England bug

Posted on: 24 June 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

England are still in the World Cup finals, the sun is shining and even George Osborne's emergency budget has gone down well. Life is looking up!

Old Scrooge here finally relented yesterday afternoon and the whole office watched the England versus Slovenia match from the World Club jamboree land of South Africa. Now this was a serious decision for me – no, not whether everybody else could watch it, but that I should join them.

The one and only time I have ever been to a football match was on 16th July 1950!  My father took me to watch Wycombe Wanderers play someone or other. After I’d stood on the terraces for a few minutes and drank my bottle of Tizer, I decided this was not for me. I spent the rest of the match knocking conkers down out of the tree! So much for football.

Yesterday’s game was pretty good even to my inexpert eye. The team got its act together and played to win. Reputations were saved and made – Mr Defoe will dine out on that goal for the rest of his life and will also make a ‘nice little tickle’ talking about it to the media! Still, he deserved it – having saved England’s footie reputation. Tesco and all the other supermarkets will ring an endless fanfare (Vuvezela, anyone?) this weekend as their tills open and close on booze sales for the Sunday afternoon's match!

Who are England playing? Germany, I gather. Well, we’ve beaten them twice before, so this one should be a cake walk. Nothing brings out the jingoist in an Englishman more quickly than a chance to put one over on the Germans … French, Italians etc, etc. So that's my Sunday afternoon fixed, I did consider going out for a nice long drive on the empty roads – but then I remembered the price of petrol!

Budget Aftermath!

Well, the pundits and the markets have delivered their view of Mr Osborne’s Budget and the consensus has been generally posiitve (sterling rose against the dollar to almost $1.50)! The Chancellor's budgetary measures are tough but good! A good budget for business but bad for consumers. Everybody must accept their share of pain.

The big issue now is how this plays out in lost services and jobs – we shall certainly see the effect in the next 12 months. For those affected by the inevitable job cuts things look very bleak; employment is already nearly 2.5 million so new employment is not going to be easy to find. Was there any alternative? Not really, even Labour (in spite of Harriet Harmon's shrill post budget scoldings) knew it had to happen only they would have spread the timescale.

Osborne and co decided on one big hit, trusting the markets to agree with the strategy and business to regain confidence enough to start reinvesting and creating jobs. I think this was right, right, right. Into the bargain they have committed to cutting government costs and the ‘nanny state’ of benefits that Blair and Brown created. That’s good for all in the long term.

The first cut hits those planning to retire – the new retirement age will be 66 and not 65 as it is presently. If you're ready to clock out, you'd better do it quick – before the Coalition Police stop you.

Hey Ho, the sun's shining – England have given us opportunity for more anxiety and pain in the World Cup, we’ve a strong government and we're on the road to recovery. Booze is still cheap , I’m still breathing. Life just doesn’t get better than this!

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