Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Hooptedoodle #37 - Paul McCartney's Bus Pass
Like radio stations the world over, the BBC puts on supposedly topical programmes in the late morning, so that listeners may phone in or text their views. I can see that this is a cheap way of constructing a programme, and has a sort of appeal in that any flapmouth in the country may have 30 seconds of exposure. It has to be a sign of advancing age that I find these programmes serve mostly to increase my blood pressure. I cannot find any upside at all, I'm sorry. They are not informative, they prove nothing, they do not even reflect mainstream views. The people who can be bothered to get in touch will normally be those who care deeply about the topic, often to the exclusion of all else, or else head cases - or so it seems. I find myself leaping to the radio, yet again, to change stations, muttering "Beam me up, Scotty..."
It worries me to find myself shouting at the radio, so I must stop listening to these shows. A couple of days ago, the hot topic was the money which our bankrupt, stupid nation could save by means-testing benefits for pensioners. The example which generated a lot of heat was that Paul McCartney, as a pensioner, is entitled to a free bus pass. What? Clearly Sir Paul is not short of a few quid, and not what you would call needy, but somehow nobody mentioned any of the following:
(1) Apart from the countless dollars he has earned for UK trade, how many zillions of pounds in taxes and earnings-related National Insurance has McCartney handed over during all these years, as the cost of being a paid-up citizen of the United Kingdom?
(2) Is he likely to actually use his bus pass? Have you ever seen him on the number 27? Apart from the overhead of the many levels of bureaucracy required to produce the pass itself, what is the real cost of occupying a seat on a service bus if he did? He would not be allowed on in the rush hour, for a start.
(3) If the UK can't afford to provide piddling benefits to people who have paid their way and are entitled to them, how can we afford complete fol-de-rols like the London Bloody Olympics?
As a footnote on the worthy subject of the Olympics, I wish to phone in my earnest and very reasonable view that anyone who obtains a knighthood for being involved in the schmooze industry which surrounds them, or who makes a private fortune out of ticket scams, should be executed by firing squad, live on the Lottery show on Saturday night TV. Their wealth may be redistributed appropriately.
I thank you.