Saturday, March 24, 2012

Domes, budgets and power

click photo to enlarge
When I was young and naive I used to think that power originated in politicians and the philosophies of their parties, and that this flowed out from government to affect our everyday lives. And perhaps in years gone by it did, to a certain extent. But I no longer have this picture of how power works. Because politicians, increasingly, are in the business of serving the real centres of power in our society: international finance, multinational corporations, supra-national organisations, and the very rich. In the UK this is most obviously true of the main parties of the centre and right, but is also true, to a lesser extent, of the parties that are, nominally, of the left.

In a blog post last year I said that one of the Conservative Party's principal aims seems to be to transfer wealth from the poor and the middle classes to business and the wealthy: in other words to their pay masters and influential supporters. The recent UK budget statement has demonstrated this in a way that I can recall no other doing in my lifetime. Implementing policies that have no electoral mandate, that are based on wishful thinking more than concrete evidence, supported by the craven Liberal Democrats, they have rolled out a budget that claims to be fiscally neutral but is no such thing. They have taken from the poor and middle income families to pay for a tax cut for the top earning 250,000 people in the country. Any claim that "we're all in this together" has now gone completely. Reducing the tax liability of hedge fund managers, top bankers, Premiership footballers, and other similarly high earners because you think the existing level discourages entrepreneurship and encourages tax avoidance, in the fatuous expectation that if you ask for less you'll get more, is a policy that could only come from a government that is comprised mainly of public school educated millionaires. Moreover, it takes a life lived in cossetted luxury to hold that belief and take that action with regard to the upper tax rate while at the same time increasing the taxes of lower earners believing it has no such effects. But then the Conservatives have always thought that to incentivise the rich you must give them more money and to do the same for the poor you need to do the opposite. Among other things the recent budget is a clear demonstration that the link between education and intelligence cannot be taken for granted.

I took today's photograph of a steel ornamental dome the day after Osbourne announced his budget as we took a break from shopping and walked through the Springfields Festival Gardens at Spalding, Lincolnshire.The sight of silver birch trees through the radiating and encircling metalwork was an uplifting, welcome break from thinking about the vicious ideology and self-assured, arrogant ineptitude of our current government.

1/2000 second at f2 wasn't the best combination for this shot, but I hadn't noticed that my aperture setting had shifted. Fortunately the depth of field of a small sensor is very good so all was not lost.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2
Shutter Speed: 1/2000
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On