2 May 2013 (Thursday) - Voting
Last night I whilst my beloved was preparing tea we opened a bottle of sherry we'd received as an Xmas pressie. I developed quite a taste for it. We then had a bottle of plonk with a rather decent curry and I fell asleep whist watching episodes of "Big Bang Theory". I woke up far later than I had intended; going to bed still feeling rather refreshed and consequently forgot to upload yesterday's instalment of my life. Apologies to anyone who had been waiting for it.
I slept for a while, but was awoken at 4am by the gentle rhythmic breathing of my beloved. I lay awake listening to that gentle rhythmic breathing for an hour before going downstairs to find that Fudge was also snoring like a warthog.
I had my brekkie, watched my DVD, and set off to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. Having had one national mortgage crisis (I fell foul of that one), it would seem that the country is heading for another. As the pundits explained the financial problem I couldn't believe my ears. Do people learn nothing from the mistakes of the past?
Where I got into difficulties with my mortgage was that I took out an endowment mortgage. I borrowed thirty six thousand pounds and arranged to pay interest on that money for twenty five years on the understanding that I would make other financial investments which after twenty five years would pay off that which I had initially borrowed. My "other financial investments" went pear-shaped, but that's another rant.
Modern mortgages are done differently. Rather than arranging a form of borrowing which is more likely to be repayable, about three million people have over the last ten years taken out "interest only mortgages" in which they borrow far more than I ever borrowed. They then pay interest on that which they have borrowed for twenty five years (but don't actually repay anything), and after twenty five years they hope for the best. Under this "interest only mortgage" scheme there seems to be no incentive to make people pay back that which they have borrowed; all they have to do is pay the interest on that sum until such time as the twenty five years are up. Then it's payback time. And that's where the problem comes.
After twenty five years people with such a mortgage are expected to have paid back the money owed. They could either pay it off as they go along, or make financial investments to pay back that which they owe. (Like I did !) Some people have made arrangements to pay what they owe. Sensible people. However others would seem to be waiting for a rich relative to die in the hope that they will inherit money, or are desperately hoping to win a fortune on the National Lottery. Apparently there are over a million people all owing an average of seventy thousand pounds, none of them with any hope of ever being able to pay off what they have borrowed.
There was a leading banker on the radio this morning who was expounding on this problem. Over the next twenty years the banks are going to want thousands of pounds back from these million people who have borrowed with no hope of repaying. Apparently there are "a range of solutions available". On the one hand the banks might re-possess the houses to clear the debts. On the other hand the banks might write off the debts. This banker then went on to say that either of those solutions would be unlikely, and the radio dropped the matter.
I suspect one million people owing seventy thousand pounds are hoping that he banks will also drop the matter.
And so to work. Having done my bit I came home. As I drove I pondered. Today was election day. I must cast my vote. For whom should I vote?
The Conservatives had sent me leaflets for two different candidates for two different wards. That didn't inspire confidence. Both leaflets ranted about how terrible the other political parties were and both expounded how cheap the Conservative controlled county council was; all the time glossing over the fact that a Conservative run council is always cheap as it is their policy not to actually provide the services (that cost a fortune) that one expects of a council . The Democrap candidate had sent two leaflets both saying that I should vote for him in order to keep the Conservatives out. Apparently voting for him is the only way to keep the Conservatives out because (according to Democrap propaganda) Labour doesn't have a chance in Ashford. The independent candidate's leaflet effectively said that everyone else was a bastard, and the Labour candidate (if indeed there was one) hadn't even bothered sending me a leaflet. Which was a shame because if he had then I would probably have voted for him.
After weeks (months and years!) of having tried to decide for whom I should vote I made my mind up. I wrote "none are suitable !" across the ballot form and stuck it in the box. Mind you it's easy to say "none are suitable !". Getting a politician I would vote for is rather trickier...