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R.O.B. (Rip-Off Britain) Carries on Regardless
We'll never turn this mess around
R.O.B. (Rip-Off Britain) is in Full-Swing!
Do you ever feel like one of those aphids beloved by ants, assisted with some of the basics of life and protected from a few of the vagaries of existance, so you can be milked for honeydew until you dry up for the rest of your days? You don't? Well you are not one of the benighted British "working class" then.
In the UK, it seems as if there is a huge criminal conspiracy composed of the ruling classes, their police and government, the banks and most of the commercial sector bent on seperating us from our miserable pittances, meanwhile giving as little value as possible in return. As long as the conservatives, these monied Haw-Haws, exemplified by the royal family, can live in the style their ancestors have deemed is their right, and not sacrifice a penny of their own assets, they will allow a bagatelle to fall like crumbs into the hands of the workers and tax-payers: just enough to stop us revolting or dying in droves in the nearest park.
It's hard to know where to start shining the beam on so many offenders, but the energy companies are stand-out exploiters at the moment. Backed by our crafty legislators in the name of "free enterprise," these mainly foreign owned corporations are hiking the price of electricity and gas just as we all switch our lights on for the long winter's nights, and our central heating for the short, freezing days. And not by the standard rate of inflation, noooo!...from 8% to over 10%, putting a huge $250 per year on the already stretched family income. We ready ourselves for the gaggle of tragic seniors, unable to afford heating, wrapped like bundles of charity clothing, who flee to our hospitals to die. Meanwhile we are treated to the "talking heads" on Sky and BBC News, etc., bringing all kinds of smooth talking energy company CEO's into our living rooms justifying the hikes. Their main excuse, like that of the rail companies with their draconian raises on tickets and the petrol companies who raise rates while wholesale prices drop, are that they need the money to expand and maintain their businesses.
Like the queen, who was reported this week of watching her money "vanish" (if only) they find it hard to answer when asked why don't they dip into the billions of profit they made this and every year..."shareholders," they mutter, looking stradismusly at the cameras.
The queen and her gang receive millions from the public purse and yet this woman is richer than most small countries, her fine- art and real estate holdings are worth billions in total. But sell off even one acre, or any of her baubles? They are her birthright and, "belong to the nation!" Ha! When do you see any bonus from it all?
But this is not a rant at the establishment, it also encompasses all of British commercial life and the attitude of our fellows, many of whom are conning and stealing; they would say, "to survive."
Regular shopping in any large supermarket such as Tesco is sure to leave any but the wealthy angry and frustrated. The blatant manipulation by the management and their suppliers to give as little and receive the most has become a black art. Items shrink inside their packaging almost while we watch...that of 300 grams last week becomes 250 today, yet the price remains the same. Or to get a deal we need buy two-for-one or even six-for-one which we don't need and may well end up throwing half of away. High price items with a large profit margin permeate through the store - such as alcoholic drinks which can be found on half the aisles, as well as in their own large area.
While products are targeted at one end, the company's staff is cut at the other: cashiers being replaced by self-checkout stalls and pressure is applied - using shame - to have us re-use bags or buy bags from displays on every checkout. "Do you (really) want a (free) bag," cashiers are told to ask us, intimating that we are in some way abusing their largesse and exploiting our poor neighbors, standing in line with bags they have purchased. Cunningly, the supers cut back on basket lanes or express lanes in order to force us into using self-checkouts so they can discard more employees.
Many supermarkets who featured unimaginative but adequate eateries selling real meals have substituted them for Starbucks-like coffee franchises. Now, the store just rakes in the franchise fee and does not have to use its own staff. That the food is now just high-priced coffee and cardboard-tasting, microwaved snacks worries them not, does it Phil Clarke? (Tesco CEO who would like to hear from you).
With the lassaiz-faire, devil take the hindmost, attitude towards screwing us all in the commercial sector, morals seemed to have sought new depths amongst the ordinary British small businessman, once the bulwark of the country. The BBC and other broadcasters, never slow to miss a chance to improve their ratings, have patched together several daily and weekly programs in the defence of the poor consumers.
Standout is Watchdog, an hour-long BBC property in which the awful Annie, several more presenters and teams of such isolate the latest poor wretch who has employed a "cowboy builder," or other tradesperson only to find their work was shoddy, or that they just pocketed the deposits and ran. The program also addresses corporate malfeasance in companies such as automobile manufacturers, ("Why do the brakes keep failing at 80-mph on the motorway and 3,000 owners have been maimed or killed?") etc. This gives an executive air-time to respond and blame the motorist or say the figures have been exaggerated and the BMW Mini-Maxi is really the best car on the road.
Meanwhile, the "cowboy's" team, ably backed with muscle, confronts some weasel who snarls and spits, telling them to "get frigged!" and his driveway resurfaces are the best in the land. All good viewing and helps the disenfranchised not at all, or in rare cases.
Airlines and travel agencies, once dependable bastions of our holiday dreams, have turned into monsters in league against their customers, or so it seems. Despite laws to the contrary, these companies are often refusing to put mistakes right or make refunds where appropriate. Like insurance companies, travel agents are using that dependable old excuse of the the fine print, which can be used to escape their obligations. Budget Airlines charge extra for just about everything over and above a basic, claustrophobic seat. (I hear, reliably, that one airline is charging to use the in-flight toilets!) These charges aren't peanuts and can run into more than the cost of the seat. Flying on any airline, except for those who can afford Business or First Class, has become a nasty experience, to be endured never enjoyed. (I'm just waiting for the "fat-tax" to be added for obese flyers and I will swim to bloody Mexico!).
All this has insured that many are trooping off to court along with their desperate clients claiming bankruptcy. There were 80,000 personal insolvencies in the UK in 2011...in the US, there were 1.5 million, similar amounts, per capita. As it now costs a thousand dollars just to file insolvency documents now in R.O.B., many cannot afford to go bankrupt! Yes, even the OR (Official Receiver) has wind of rip-off gelt! Isn't that a damning indictment in itself? That the establishment who created and/or sanctioned this mess is now making a huge profit from the poor wretches seeking relief? Have you ever heard an aphid scream?
It's hard to see who will be left to turn the lights off in Britain when this poor, scavanged island finally succumbs, unless the energy companies fail first. That we have little hope for the future is a given, despite Tory false optimism to garner votes, and many savvy Brits have already left for Australia or New Zealand, etc., to the tune of over 100,000 families per year over the last five years But these traditional hosts for British migrants aren't happy any more. They don't much like us in Oz anyway, still seeing British visitors as "whingeing Poms."
That the nation will carry on in some form is doubtless, but what as? A Moslem enclave with all wearing burkas and governed by Sharia law? Not so far-fetched as you might suppose. Or, with our rainfall, a 200,000 square mile paddy field for the Chinese rice growers with some strain that like chilly conditions...they are buying into much of our other businesses. Maybe you guys over the ditch would like the place to send Mexican immigrants? Well, I would prefer that...hand rolled tortillas...mariachis...Latinas!!?
In fact, few people are enamoured with the British in 2013, our boorish, drunken and libertine behaviour in other lands hasn't helped our image, either. Even the USA, long suffering where their poor cousins are concerned, are tired of our hectoring attitude towards North America and our quarrelling with our European partners.
It seems the unholy pressure we have all been under over the last 20 years has produced a sort of "death wish," a collective, neurotic desire to become totally isolated and spurned by our former friends. The USA, with its own parlous state, has little time to hear whining Limeys decrying their system and their way of life, or cutting off their lifeline with the ECC. I see our government is turning to China for help: for loans, for business investment, to sell-off land and companies to the eager Asians. The latest news this week was that China has been awarded contracts to build nuclear power stations on British soil. What has happened to British entrepreneurship that saw us become world leaders in nuclear power, building the world's first reactor here? (Not to mention shipping, steel, mining, etc).
Yet deluded migrants in Europe, allowed here to live, work and benefit by Union Charter, are still seeing life in the UK as the holy grail and flooding in with numbers that we cannot assimilate any longer, but cannot legally stop. Our borders are porous and our immigration minister unfit for purpose in the eyes of many. Ask a Brit what he perceives as our worst problem and 6 times out of ten, he will reply "Immigration."
Perhaps the biggest shock to the British public becoming immune to bad news, was the privatisation of the Post Office this week. Our postal service was one of the oldest institutions in the land having been established by King Charles the Second as the General Post Office in 1660, and predated in 1516 by the "Master of Posts," initiated by Henry the Eighth, who paused from fornication long enough to do something useful...maybe so he could send a postcard to an ex he fancied again.
The Tories took no notice of protest by just about one and all, favouring their buddies as usual who would profit from the sale. The government retained 38% and most of the rest was snapped up br large pension funds and foreign investors, etc., as the stock was floated on Monday, almost doubling the value on the first days of trading. You and I could have had shares IF they were awarded, to the amount of just £750 per person. I don't have the figures for how many did benefit yet, or whom exactly now owns old Henry's mail service: these ancient kings must be revolving in their tombs! Well, books are being written about all this as I pen this simple article: but there were a few things to be said and I hope they strike a spark in your breasts as you face more or less the same problems in your own country.
As I write, Scotland is trying to push through independence from the UK and they might succeed. Both the teachers and the firemen were on strike this week and others are set to follow.
Oh, well, Time to be milked!