Thursday, October 21, 2010

Learn to stop worrying and love the CSR

So this is it. The party’s over, the fat lady has sung, Elvis has left the building and it’s time to clean up the mess and pay back the billions that have been borrowed in our collective names.

The cuts are coming, and they’re going to hit hard. We’ll soon find ourselves steering into what one newspaper terrifyingly described as “uncharted social and economic territory”.

The dark clouds of austerity are gathering on the horizon, and none of them has a silver lining. 24-carat lead, more like.

Life in the UK for the next few years doesn’t look as though it’s going to be that much fun.

So what are your options in this new world of enforced belt-tightening? We consulted a panel of experts and distilled their wisdom into your Official Guide to Surviving the Cuts, as first published in Ye 250-year-0lde Bath Chronicle.

Here are the highlights.

  •  Adopt the French position. Whatever the economic climate, our Gallic neighbours always seem to be enjoying themselves. If they’re not guzzling a four-course meal with a selection of fine wines and cheeses, they’re closing petrol stations, pouring milk down the Champs-Élysées and calling out the riot police. So follow their example: go on strike, and stay on strike.

  •  Adopt the Greek position. As above, but with retsina and halloumi.

  • Become a hermit. Sell all your possessions, cash in what you can on the house and give the money to the poor (you won’t have much trouble finding them). Then wrap yourself in an old sack and find a nice damp cave. Be warned, though: long queues are already forming at Cheddar and Wookey Hole, so you may have to look further afield. Like Greenland.

  • Take your mind off the crisis by starting a time-consuming hobby. You’ll be using candles instead of electric light for most of next three years, so collect all the spent matches and use them to build a model of a well-known landmark – Bath Abbey or Pulteney Bridge, say, or even the Busometer if you fancy a real challenge. Faithfully reproducing all those curves and sticky-out metal bits should keep you going right past the end of this recession and well into the next one.(Picture: Kevin Bates, The Bath Chronicle)

  • Take a leaf out of ’70s chart-toppers Wizzard’s book: pretend it’s Christmas every day. It’s already happening in Bath: the lights started going up at the beginning of October, and they’re unlikely to come down until May 2011 at the earliest. By then it’ll only be five months until they’re due to put them up again, so why not just leave them where they are and let people enjoy a festive frisson every time they go to the shops? They won’t have any money to spend, mind you. But at least the streets will look pretty.

  •  Grin and bear it. Let’s face it, there’s not really any other option.

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