Monday, 24 September 2007

Public transport, eh?

I had a longish journey to make this afternoon, and for a change I decided to get an express coach. The driver asked me for £8.10, so I handed her £10.10 and waited for my £2 change. She didn't notice the 10p, which she dropped. She scrutinised the tenner as though it were a £9 note issued by Northern Rock before initialling it. The conversation then went as follows -

Driver: Have you got the 10 pence?

Me: I gave you it, you dropped it.

Driver (looking as though I had suggested anal sex): You GAVE me it?

Me: Yes. You didn't notice and you dropped it.

Driver: You never gave me it.

Me: Yes, I did. Look. There it is on the floor.

[Driver eventually deigns to look down and sees the coin].

I had honestly believed that she was not going to allow me on the bus. I wish more people would use public transport, but every time I experience it I can see why people don't.


Wow - nearly three weeks since my last post. Anyhoo, I haven't written about Latvia enough. I was on a course in Oxford over the weekend and on my first day I was late. Oxford is definitely not car-friendly. However, on the second day I was up bright and early and stopped off at Sainsbury's for my Daily Mail. As I got out the car, a man who turned out to be Latvian asked if I would like my car washed. Since my car was filthy, I told him that would be lovely. Two of his compatriots then got to work, being absolutely meticulous in cleaning and polishing every inch of it and all for £5, although I also gave them a £5 tip.

If I had been wearing a hat, I would have undoubtedly doffed it to these young men. To come to a strange country in search of a better life; to show some enterprise and initiative rather than expecting a meal ticket and to be so damned decent and hard-working. Well done, chaps!

Frankly, it did get me thinking. Why are we allowing millions of people to live on social security benefits when there are clearly jobs out there for anyone who bothers to get off their arse? When I were young... in the 1980s... mass unemployment was a big issue. I didn't have much time for the miners, but at least they wanted to work. Nowadays, there are just as many people unemployed, but it is not as big an issue. Why not? Because the majority of unemployed now do not want to work: they know that the socialist government will keep them in benefits in exchange for their votes. The Tories have abandoned any thought of tax cuts and have pledged to maintain the record levels of taxing and spending that the decent majority (and there still is one) are required to fund.