Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Today I wrote one thousand one hundred and twenty words of book. I did some editing. I frowned a lot as I attempted to focus my arguments; at times I feel as if I am searching for coherence with both hands and a miner's lamp. I did some research. I discovered that in the 18th century, prostitutes shaved off their eyebrows and replaced them with false ones made of mouse hair. I very much want to know who thought that was a good idea.
Since I finished work, the refrain has been going in my head, like a drumbeat: must have intelligent thoughts about the budget; must have intelligent thoughts about the budget.
It turns out I do not have any intelligent thoughts about the budget. This is either because I have used up all my brain cells on the eyebrows of 18th century ladies of the night, or because I am so bashed and battered after almost three years of financial bad news that I just want to go and hide under the sofa. I may work this up into a theory. It will be called: The Debilitating Effect of Big Numbers. I think we can all agree that this is certainly catchy.
Normally, as a politics geek, I spend an awful lot of time contemplating the minutiae of policy. Normally, I think it's really interesting. Quick, quick, fingers on the buzzers: is that Keynes or Milton Friedman? Lately, I have rather got to the stage where I just hope like hell that someone in government knows what they are doing. This may be because I am approaching my deadline and am living on caffeine and nervous energy.
I do have one question, though. Just before the budget, the government borrowing figures were announced. What with all this talk of the evil Tories slashing everything, because they hate poor people and do not want them to have shoes, you might think that the government would be borrowing rather less cash than usual. The forecast for the month was for £6.9 billion. The actual figure was £11.8 billion. ELEVEN POINT EIGHT BILLION POUNDS. That is not just a rounding error. What is going on? Should this not be a matter of national concern? The total borrowing for the year is going to be in the region of £149 billion. This is a number I do not understand. I do not understand it in the same way that I do not understand the fact that if you took away all the empty space in our bodies, the atoms contained in the human frame would fit into a sugar cube. Could everyone just stop boggling my mind for one single moment? I am going back to mouse eyebrows.
Oh, and I just wanted to say that I am perversely gratified that many of you are just as baffled by the phenomenon that is perky Mrs Palin as I am. Do not fret though; she has not a snowball's chance in hell of being President. I'm not sure she even runs. I would bet £11.8 billion on it.
Some photographs now, to soothe our strained brains.
I continue to be obsessed with the first stirrings of spring:
The Ladyships are enjoying the sun:
Two views of the hill today. The first in panorama:
The second in close-up:
Billion, schmillion. That is all I have to say.