25 June 2012
The news came through late last night that the Muslim candidate for president of Egypt, Mohammed Murmi had narrowly beaten the incumbent Christian, Mubarak. Is this apocalyptic news that will change the balance in the Middle East? Although this president has resigned from the Black Muslim Brotherhood can we take it that this means he will not attempt to turn Egypt into an Islamic state?. For many years, Egypt, with substantial financial assistance from America, has formed a buffer between the Christians and the Islamic states around it. What will be the effect on the Eurozone, if that buffer is removed and Egypt does turn into an Islamic state? The consequences for Europe could be catastrophic. The next few weeks will tell us which way this country is going under new leadership but one can only hope that the resignation of the president from the Black Muslim brotherhood is an indication that he will support the status quo rather than trying to impose an Islamic government.
With a little help from me my faithful secretary Doreen managed to produce a Profit and Loss account which forms the basis of my tax return. Having done this, I then realised that I had not received the usual brown envelope from the Inland Revenue, containing the blank return, so I gave them a ring. I got an answerphone informing me that the Inland Revenue were taking a possible industrial action’, apparently something to do with the proposed changes in their pension Now if there is one thing that really gets me going it is the public sector striking against the governments attempt to bring them into line with the private sector, a) as the amount they contribute towards their pension and b) the age at which they are entitled to retire. For years the public sector have enjoyed a better deal on pensions than the private sector; contributing less and being allowed to retire on full pension, I believe, at 60, whereas the private sector is heading towards 68.
So when I rang the Inland Revenue this morning in an attempt to get a copy of this year’s return I got the computer message that they were taking industrial action, you imagine I was none too pleased. However, I did hang on for just on half an hour, at a cost of £2, to be told before I gave it up as a bad job stop I will try again tomorrow. The automated response informed callers that the Inland Revenue were taking industrial action, as I understand it against proposed changes in their pension. Similarly, a day or so ago, our GP’s (General Practitioners) were also on strike over proposed changes to their pension. During one of the BBC news programmes. We were told that the average doctor earning £120,000 per annum could retire at 60 (?) on a annual pension of £48,000 a year (for the numerically challenged reader that’s almost £1000 a week) plus a lump sum of £140,000. I am told that many GPs can earn twice as much as that with presumably twice as much pension and twice as much lump sum but I will need to check that. In any event, bearing in mind the basic GPs pension entitlements, you wouldn’t think they had the nerve to go on strike Why you think it is virtually impossible to get a doctor to see you in the evenings or weekends unless it is a locum, flown in from Europe who may or may not speak our language? Quite clearly it does not pay them to work and sociable hours.
As I understand it, and I could be wrong all that these doctors are being asked to do was to come into line with the rest of us. It is that changed their pension entitlements that has prompted them to take industrial action. Having said that we are told that less than , 8% of the doctors voted for industrial action and presumably more than 50% of that 8% were in favour of striking. Hardly an overwhelming majority of practising GPs.
It is about time that those public sector workers, who have for many years enjoyed far better pension and retirement benefits than average worker in the private sector, got realistic and realising how precarious is the present financial position – and apart from the fact that they are lucky enough to have a job from which is very difficult to fire them, even for minor misdemeanours and certainly not for incompetence -for at least the next two or three years, we will all have to tighten our belts, pull our weight, and any other similar metaphor, if we are to survive financially as a nation.
After that diatribe, I think something amusing is required, to show my readers that I had not altogether lost my sense of humour. Click here to find out what it is like retiring in Florida.