The weather (and it seems, the world) has gone mad. Why the world? Well on the radio this morning I listened to a government minister saying that the only way for households to maintain ‘an acceptable standard of living’  was for two adults to be in full time jobs. So much for the optimism of the baby boomer generation that technology would set us free to enjoy 3 day weeks then.

Seem reasonable to you? Households are now worse off in real terms than they were in the 50’s, primarily because housing and transport are disproportionately more expensive now than they were. Plus, as ‘consumers’ people expect to have more ‘things’ than they once did. Why is that?

Having buried the country in debt, and destroyed our manufacturing industry, the government now relies on consumer spending and the financial sector to turn things around. That means they need you to get out there and by more ‘stuff’. If you don’t have the money and are a good consumer, you can just borrow some money. Of course, in order to pay for all this, you’ll need to make sure that you work longer hours. You’ll keep the banks in business, and the economy from bombing completely.

Of course plenty of people have no choice, but the implication of our friend on the radio was that it was the moral duty of every citizen to work themselves to death in order to strive for a livestyle that exists primarily to prop up the notion of a growth economy, rather than for the good of the citizen.  Seems to me that something just isn’t right there.

Perhaps the Diggers had the right idea. Here’s an excellent Billy Bragg song to that end

Anyhow, the mad weather.

First we had torrential rain, and rather than stop, it simply got colder, and snowed on us, which actually wasn’t so bad – we even managed to put on the screening of ‘Living in the Future – Lammas’ at the Turnip House.  A few days of enjoying frozen ground and an absence of mud came to and end with some spectacular sunrises over the Mournes –

The only downside being the inevitable thaw, a couple of days of very welcome sunshine, before the rain returned, bringing with it some of the worst mud I’ve seen. Living on the land is all very well, but there are some things that really take the fun out of it. Like pushing a barrow through this every morning –

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