Sunday, 23 November 2008

Buy Now - Pay Later

I ventured out into the gale and the near-zero temperatures for a run along the coast this morning. What three kayakers were doing in the bay was anyone's guess; members of the Special Boat Service practising perhaps? I didn't last long as the appearance of sleet drove me back inside but from the direction of Margate, I could still hear the muffled roar from the 'Big Sky' beach races taking place on the sands. I'm not convinced that the end of November is such a great date to put on a public spectacle of this kind but I take my hat off to everyone involved in such a spectacular battle against the forces of nature.



Summer is now a long way off and there's not much flying to be had either. The embedded video is from another weekend, Radio One's 'Big Weekend' last May, where the weather was warmer and kinder and I had two aircraft sitting over Maidstone. You can see from the video two banners laid out between two sets of poles as one aircraft after the other dropped down to collect them. You can also see how uncomfortably close those same poles are from a pilot's view as I fly between them. Roll-on summerI say but we've Christmas to get out of the way first and the promise, tomorrow, of dramatic tax cuts to get us all out there spending money in the sales; making our own small contribution to re-starting the economy.

What I can't quite grasp is why, if I'm suddenly given a little extra money to spend at the end of the month by the generous Mr Darling, I should go out and spend it, rather than putting it away to anticipate the harsher days ahead?

I know the economy needs a sudden jump-start, rather like a cardiac patient going into arrest but all the well-placed people I speak to in finance are expecting to see another half a million or so unemployed by the end of next year with a recession to match. So while stimulating the economy with tax cuts, is this really the right time for us all to spend the largesse on a new wide screen television for Christmas or simply save it against the worst to come?

It's really a 'Catch-22' problem for any Government of any colour, "Damned if you do and damned if you don't", so best call me Ebenezer Scrooge I suppose!

Catch 22” — the twenty-second of the guidelines used by military surgeons to “catch” those falsely claiming to be insane — is that an insane person should not believe or suspect that they are insane. Thus, to be recognised as insane, a person must not ask for an evaluation, because doing so implicitly shows that they suspect themselves to be insane. But, if a person does not ask for an evaluation, they cannot be recognised as insane because the evaluation is the method by which such recognition would occur. Thus, nobody can ever classify themselves as insane (even if they genuinely are), and thus nobody may ever use an insanity diagnosis to escape flying combat missions.