Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Marmalade and Cheques

Marmalade and cheques. Just two of the things that made this country great. Both at risk. I also miss asterisks. Rude words seem so much less f***ing rude without them. The more in-yer-face society gets, the more it loses its power to shock, and let's face it, its power (though I must own to a sneaking temptation to succumb to this t-shirt when I saw it at Camden Lock the other week).

We have a society now which lets us 'vent' - ie rant and rave about its injustices using as many rude words as we wish to get it out of our system, whilst stealing back by stealth our historically hard-won civil rights to peaceful protest and other restitution under the guise of 'terrorism prevention' and then does what it always intended to do - either ignores us, turns into an inflexible Big Brother extorting money with menaces whether we owe it or not, particularly from those who might be law-abiding enough to pay whatever fine our overweight wheelie bin chip has grassed us up to the council for, or pacifies us with a load of empty politician speak (ie ignores us) - the first thing I would ban if I became PM by the way. Any colleague who had been tutored to appear honest by a presentation coach would be out on their asterisk.

And while it seems like a cop out, my second action as Prime Minister would be to save everything we currently have that is at risk such as post offices, analogue signals, pubs, free cash dispensers and the aforementioned cheques, without which it is not only OAPs who would be lost - some of we younger voters still write a fair number of them too. How else do you send money through the post for example when it is not appropriate to open an online account with that party or individual and you wouldn't want them having that much personal information about you anyway? What will charities do when they want a big f***-off cheque for someone who's just abseiled down the local hospital to raise it proudly for the presentation photograph? Not only was my first cheque book a meaningful rite of passage into the adult world, I went on to process cheques as one of my first jobs - and dispute it costs as much as banks are trying to l** it does - well I know I was paid peanuts for processing in excess of £3m a day anyway. Plus what about all the years banks sat on the money for 3 days creaming off the interest until it appeared in the payee's account? Delays continue to this day I believe, not to mention the massive charges imposed when they bounce or render an account accidentally overdrawn. Then there's the charges to stop them. Far from being some altruistic gesture the banks have bestowed upon the customer out of the goodness of their steel-vaulted hearts, I would have thought cheques have until now been a nice little earner for them and am astonished they want to do away with them. Credit cards are no more secure after all, though perhaps more lucrative for the banks with the interest rates charged and some with monthly 'reward' or yearly fees attached, not to mention their share of any transaction fees.

Well that's enough venting from me - I'm off to eat some more marmalade. Later on I might write a cheque for an evening newspaper. I'm anarchic like that.