Newsweek Scotland: step back in time
What were the 70's like for you? And don't say you can't remember because you were in primary school. Your age automatically shows up at the BBC as soon as you start reading this page...
I remember twin tub washing machines (which I covered in green and white floral formica to capture the style zeitgeist), wide lapels and bell bottoms and massive multi stripe ties, phone boxes, typewriters, Embassy fags, mini skirts and kinky boots, my Renault Four with the push-me, pull-you gear change and...Vesta curries.
Well, it seems we're going back there as living standards decline under the deep chill of sustained recession. I wonder where my sheepskin coat is now. So Newsweek returns to the seventies to see how things have changed and to ask if it really was all that bad. We had Bridge over Troubled Water, Maggie May and Ernie (the fastest milkman in the west), for goodness sake. That saw us through rampant inflation and the winter of discontent. But what does it tell us about just what the government is doing with the economy today and how we are reacting. Forget the Chancellor. We'll ask our own experts.
David Cameron called the strikes by two million a damp squib. I'm tempted ask how many people he could get on to the streets of Britain to back his policies. In fact you could argue the strikers are the Big Society. They are the men and women who make Britain work and they don't do it for profit. They banded together to take collective action on the biggest issue facing the country today. It sounds like a definition of the Big Society. Only, of course, on the Jeremy Clarkson view, they were actually putting themselves before the rest of society and protecting their own. Not that the bosses of FTSE 100 companies have been doing anything so selfish... just adding 40 per cent to their already massive pay packets and putting another £400,000 into their pension pots.
We make no apology for returning to the question asked so little this week: What DID happen to private pensions that they are so poor? And why should public sector staff have to be impoverished as a consequence?
Are politicians' pensions being cut? Not the last time I looked. Aren't they in the public sector? Should we be making this public/private distinction at all or should both wings of this argument be uniting for fair pensions all round? In fact, isn't that the government's role?
And is there really no alternative to cutting pensions... no slack, no wriggle room anywhere in the government's entire budget? We'll find out.
The producer says we'll also have some good news about health to counter all my doom and gloom. But if you want an antidote to Armageddon I suggest the Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again", (August 1974.) So good I think I'll have it played at my funeral (Check out the title). So black turtlenecks, bell-bottom jeans and Chelsea boots at the ready...
See you at 8 tomorrow if my flip over alarm is still working.