Saturday, 23 October 2010

The value of money.

Having attempted to listen to the dreaded 'spending review' , given up, downloaded it in its entirety and then got bored reading it, I am still not in any way surprised by the state of the nation's financial affairs. Spending £1.20 in every pound 'earned' is still a bit of an eye-opener, though, showing the allegedly 'true' extent of the country's financial crisis. But what is 'truth' worth these days?
I guess boredom is why so many things come as such a surprise to so many - our brains switch off unless the topic interests us! With the prospect of demonstrating unions, a major global war being fought (and lost, in my humble opinion) online and the Olympic Games looming, I took a quick look at the salaries for a couple of those Olympic jobs. The Bureau of Investigative Journalists ( ) is a great source of info! Here are two names that stood out pretty clearly - earning over HALF A MILLION POUNDS between them! I haven't dared look to see what the bid process cost the nation. Apparently, this is why we pay our taxes.
Howard Shiplee £344,000 Director of Construction,  Olympic Delivery Authority.
Jeremy Beeton £227,500 Director General, Government Olympic Executive, Department for Culture, Media & Sport.
I haven't been following any news on costs incurred by hosting the Olympic Games but I did wonder how the recent Government spending cuts would affect things. What interested me more was the lack of public debate or discussion on the Defence budget other than to bleat a bit about the scrapping of the Ark Royal and the building of the two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. But I haven't heard much mention of HMS Astute, which has run aground off the coast of Skye before even making it into full service. £3.5 BILLION pounds of nuclear submarine, stuck not far from the Skye Bridge near a lighthouse. At least the crew can amuse themselves monitoring all the mobile calls being made from the island to the national press, no doubt beaming images of said vessel with them! (Gives a whole new meaning to 'sub-editor'!) Built for stealth, this sub may have been, but it's hardly a great example of the Government's austerity measures when one of your best stealth assets is sticking out the water like a sore thumb! Apparently, this is why we pay our taxes.
Getting it right is never going to be easy. To be honest, I reckon it's the trying that counts more. Everyone must know, to some degree, that nobody will ever get everything right. It's money, more than anything, that drives society. How much does it cost for loyalty and honesty? How much more to keep it when under threat of losing it? If someone came along and offered you £10,000,000 to divulge certain information, how tempted would you be?
In today's society of instant, high speed (for many) Internet access and all the social networking sites, how much FREE information can be gathered? It isn't too difficult to spot the gullible, ill-educated or just plain ignorant among us, so, for many, money is beginning to lose its shine. Knowledge is power and, according to popular belief, "The more you know, the less you show", isn't that what they say? My frugal take on that tends to be 'the less I spend, the more I can afford' , but money in the bank doesn't provide you with the security it once did. Low interest rates, the economy in ruins and our best defence strategy being folks sat online monitoring virtual communications is hardly something to write home about, is it?
So what comes next? A bidding war for leaked information versus disinformation? Seems to me that the Paranoid Times could be dragged off the shelf, dusted down and relaunched. We could have one side of the coin published there and the other published in 'Now You Know' and make the next Frugaleur project the Alpha and Omega of the modern media circus. And do you know what? Barring a huge investment in time, the entire project could cost NOTHING. How frugal an enterprise could that be?
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