Bloody hell, George Osbourne, that was a hell of a Budget to go and sneak up on us.
I appreciate that the Budget happens at the same time every year, and that the political analysis has been done to death, and everyone else has already said their bit on it and moved on, but, well, it happened while I was getting married and I've only just twigged in the last week or so that perhaps the wider world might not have given a toss.
(That said: I did have a piece published by Offbeat Bride on How To Handle The Bride which is probably the most well-read thing I've ever written. I wrote it as a venting exercise, not expecting it to be featured in any way, so it's even under my jokey pen-name that I use for other internet stuff. Ah, the irony. Still, that's what I was up to in my time away.)
However, I still feel it's worth commenting on this Budget because in a nasty and shameful little way, it was a really good one for me. I am now paying less tax. Because if there's anything that able-bodied young people with no children need, it's to have a tax break paid for by less tax credits for young families, right?
I am aware of some sort of logic behind this tax break, in a twisted and horrible way. Basically, people in their twenties, not on a great deal of money, need some more disposable income. We're most likely to spend it, or even better shove it on one of the magical new 5% deposit mortgages the government appear to be promising. (The thought of even having that 5% deposit is hilarity making to everyone I know, but that's an aside.) Besides, we're all being so comprehensively screwed in terms of extra money on booze, fags, pasties, petrol, everything, that surely all the books balance out, right?
I don't want to pay more tax. That's the sad truth of it. I recently received a bonus in work, and spent three days howling with incandescent rage at how much money had gone on tax and on student loan repayments. I wouldn't dodge tax, and I am aware of my social obligations surrounding it, but my goodness, tax going out is a bit of a pinch.
I'm not all Tea Party about this, wilfully refusing to understand that without tax we wouldn't have any of the formal structures of government. And I'm pleased that my tax provides the safety net of the welfare state, which I have used before now and will hopefully still be there for me if I need it again. What worries me is that there are tax breaks being found for the individual, i.e. me, and yet still swinging cuts to services.
One or the other please, Mr Osbourne. One or the other. Both almost makes me begin to think that the cuts are ideologically driven as well as economically driven, and we can't have that, surely?