Posts Tagged ‘recession’

As I drove my beloved 159 into a certain supermarket petrol station yesterday evening I noticed that the price of petrol has lept up again since I last popped her full of fuel. The government’s Fuel Escalator has kicked in even though the price of crude oil is still only just above $51.petrol prices

So why are we watching the cost of petrol creep higher and higer as it edges toward £1 a litre again? Not only that but I’ve noticed more and more people squeezing every last inch of mileage out of it that they can. This doesn’t just apply to petrol either, the escalating costs of food also means that people are restricting their intake, especially those forced out of work. It is almost like we’re having to adopt rationing and coping methods from the last War. 

And, in a very true way, the whole world is at war again. While there is a common enemy it’s not other countries. It’s the ineptitude of major governments. Here, for example, we’re being led by an un-elected leader struggling to make us pay for mistakes he made as chancellor. The politicians so nobly announce that they won’t take the pay rise offered to them this year but still take expenses topping the £100k mark, then spend billions of pounds on an actual war effort we were lied to about from day one while industries across the nation fail as that money is being sorely missed.

Of course it’s not just us, we’re not alone. Every single country is facing a real struggle for the next year or so because of the ineptitude of a select group of politicians who then act like heroic lions when they announce they’ve come up with a trillion dollar plan to get us out of a mess  their own lack-of-foresightedness put us all in. But then, you don’t see any of them struggling to afford the rent. When was the last time Gordon Brown dipped into his pocket to fill his car? Of course not, he dips into ours.

Not one single politician seems to show any sign of personal sacrifice in a time when their measures have forced us all to make some. All these empty promises and now we’re at the point where I’m once again not filling my Alfa all the way up in the hope that next week the prices will drop again and I won’t have to face adding half as much again to the cost of a full tank. 

So yeah, we are at war. We’re at war with an economy out of control and a group of governments that fail to use anything resembling common sense and foresight then, as we all struggle to cope with escalating costs that mean it’s hard to find a loaf of bread under £1, go off spending OUR money on the kitchen on their second house or their husbands internet porn. 

If you want my vote next time the non-elected PM decides to hold an election all you need to do is three things: 

1) Show some common sense

2) Stop Lying to Us

3) Stop Robbing from Us

Advertisements

This is a strange one this – the “R” word that keeps getting flogged by every media outlet, used as an excuse by pretty much everyone for any little failure in business is now being used in relation to gaming and the XBox 360.

Microsoft have announced that from the second quarter of this year they’ll no longer be selling the Xbox 360 Elite. A quick heads up for those that don’t play – there’s three variations of the Xbox 360 console available; the Arcade, the Pro and Elite. Now, rumour has it that (having long ago done away with the Core model) that Microsoft will cease taking orders for the Elite.

The recession is, of course, being cited as one of the main reasons combined with the knock-off prices offered on the Arcade and Pro versions. The main difference between this and the other configurations is that the Elite comes with 120GB of harddrive (though so does my iPod 😛 ) and a matt black finish.

Microsoft say that retailers aren’t ordering as many and retailers say they have loads of them taking up space in their stock room as it is. To be honest, I’ve never had the need for all that extra harddrive and am happier spending the money on XBox accessories instead – most of the games I play don’t need that much memory but they do need the soundtrack to be appreciated without the girlfriend hearing me pick up prostitutes (yes, I’m playing a lot of GTA lately).

So, is this really another victim of the recession or just a bit of bad-planning and misjudging of their market place by Microsoft?

Sad stuff this. Honda are closing up their Swindon plant for four months once today’s shifts are over. Staff will get their basic pay for the first two months but an estimated 60% of it for the rest of the shutdown.

Yes, this is all in response to the economical crisis and downturn in the car market – not just in the UK, it’s worldwide. Honda have said that global third quarter profit was down 89%.

The philanthropist in me wants to run down my local dealer and encourage everyone to buy up a load of new Honda Civics but I have to re-look at that last point: “profit was down.” So they’re still making a profit.

Loads of car manufacturers – including the once infallible Toyota – posted losses. Honda made a profit. Don’t get me wrong – I’m extremely sympathetic to those staff that won’t be working during the shut down but it seems more a case of a manufacturer doing what we should all do – tightening belts to get through.

The union are saying that staff – while still being paid – are cutting their expenses… “others will take a second mobile phone back  or will take holidays in the UK instead of abroad.”

These are things that should’ve been done anyway regardless of employer. I’m doing that anyway and a friend of mine – who was made redundant and not being paid – can barely afford rent and one mobile phone let alone a second.

To me this is simply a case of Honda doing what it needs to do to ensure long-term survival and the more businesses look at long-term, post-recession plans the better. The more we focus on the negative the more we’ll speculate and continue the downward cycle. Let’s see how the media continue to spin this one!

There’s things I love about winter and tied into those are things I hate.

For example, I love the chill in the air, even in the morning. It wakes me up and makes me feel more alive. Yet, as mentioned before, I hate the effect it has on my car’s shine. I’m beginning to lose patience with defrosting it in the mornings.

I also love the gradual build up to the big day.

Don’t mistake this for being as excitable as a child about Christmas. While I’m far from Scrooge, I look forward more to the break and putting my feet up after a big meal and watching rubbish tv. It’s the only time of the year I can excuse the normal television programming. I really enjoy the feeling that builds within as the day draws in. What I don’t like though is the constant reminders in supermarkets and television.

Not to mention the press of people that fill the town centre on weekends during December. This, however, shouldn’t be a problem for me this weekend. Firstly because I’ve only just started my Christmas shopping and will be doing it at various quieter intervals – not having to worry about bedtimes for kids as I don’t have any – and a large part of Christmans will be dealt with thanks to a bit of online shopping.

There’s also the fact that I’m going to be heading down to my local Medway Alfa Romeo dealership tommorow. I know I’ve only just bored you all with the details of how much I love my car but the idea of looking at some new ones is too tempting.

Not that it’s a done decision, I’m taking mine in for a service yet I know I’m going to be sorely tempted to trade up.  This ties into the love/hate thing nicely though: I love both driving and driving my car, though I hate the maintainence side of the deal which is why I hand it over to the dealer to do the job I guess.

I’m often outspoken on what I think is wrong with the automotive industry and it usually boils down to the fact that so many new cars look alike or identical. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always like Alfa Romeos, in my mind they are one of the few brands out there that exert a sense of distinctive and attractive styling.

Plus I say nuts to the fear-mongering press, it’s still a good time to buy a car.  Yes, we’re all looking at the grim end of a recession but how is not-spending and believing the worst going to help? No wonder there’s no consumer-confidence when all the press wants to do is tell us we’re doomed. I’m starting to think Marvin the Paranoid Android is in charge of the press. If we all cower in fear and start hiding our money away how is the economy ever going to recover?!

Can I withstand temptation or will my wallet be confiscated in time?