THANK God it’s Monday. It’s nice to get back to the doom and gloom of untradeable equity markets, the melting dollar and on-going sovereign debt disasters. So much better than the nonsense of the past couple of days, which included spending a load of money on Halloween rubbish for the kids and phoning up Ticketmaster forlornly for hours on end trying to buy Take That tickets I didn’t really want.
Still, those twin weekend miseries were vaguely reassuring in that they clearly showed any doom-mongering over the impending collapse of the UK consumer, weighed down by the coalition’s enforced austerity, to be utter nonsense. Any country that has spare cash to throw at buying millions of pumpkins that will never get eaten (don’t give the bull about you making pumpkin soup afterwards) and hundreds of millions on tickets for a group more middle of the road than cats-eyes, clearly has more money than sense. On this evidence alone, George should have gone for 22.5 per cent VAT next year (perhaps).
So whilst there is a big, fat question mark over just how much money the UK consumer still has to spend on luxuries (yes, it’s come to this when Robbie Williams and plastic witches cauldrons are deemed luxuries), what isn’t in doubt is that we are in for a long haul getting the government out of its fiscal mess.
In fact, my guest host on Squawk Box Europe this morning, Sean Corrigan of Diapason Commodities, thinks we haven’t gone anywhere near far enough in cutting away at the country’s indebtedness.
“Despite all the hoopla, a great opportunity has been missed to shrink other undesirable aspects of the state... Red tape should have been slashed, bureaucratic meddling abjured, and taxes simplified so that many of the added costs of doing business can be crushed,” says Corrigan.
He’s got a nice line in Big Society, too, this morning, pointing out that more public consultation over where the axe falls – the public spending axe that is, not the plastic Halloween one – didn’t go nearly far enough.
Corrigan notes: “What the new team should have said was “You – the private sector worker – you pay for all of our services, so which ones could you do without, or would you rather buy for yourself on the free market? If we give you back the money we have been confiscating from you to provide them, that is.”
Nice contentious stuff then this morning from Corrigan but I fear he is wrong, as is David Cameron, to heap too many decisions upon the UK electorate and hence consumer. Given the choice between paying for having the bins collected weekly and being squeezed into the back of Wembley Stadium with 100,000 other poor souls to see someone who might just be Robbie Williams belting out iffy pop songs, I fear over-flowing refuse may just become a more common sight.
Steve Sedgwick is a presenter on Squawk Box Europe each weekday morning on CNBC. http://europe.cnbc.com