It has become even more apparent to me that my time is my money, and that our sense of identity is tightly linked to our concept of money and the value we place on our time and ourselves. If I spend so much time and energy making money, surely I should spend a significant amount of time managing my money?
The UK - and therefore its population - is living way beyond its means. We have a Balance of Payments deficit of about 7% of GDP means that, on average, we are all enjoying a standard of living which is 7% higher than we are earning. To support this unrealistic life-style we are either borrowing from abroad or selling assets to foreign interests year after year on a scale unmatched by any other developed country.
We are told, time and time again, that the government should spend taxpayer money wisely, efficiently, and sustainably. Often these pronouncements are followed by promises to use taxpayer money well by cutting government spending and making efficiency improvements. There is an assumption behind these statements that is utterly inaccurate and dishonest, however. Namely, that there is such a thing as "taxpayer money."
The benefit for the ruling class in this arrangement is obvious; the loss for society manifold. The rapid normalisation of tuition fees demonstrates neatly the insidiousness of the neoliberal ideology. Now students are consumers, they are individuals set against each other in a competition for employment so that they can service their loans.
As much as I can appreciate that finances should be private to some extent, and that individuals have a right to be considered separately from their partners, I just can't imagine keeping a secret credit card or putting lots of effort into hiding big purchases from my partner on a regular basis. I certainly wouldn't dream of hiding £100,000 from him!
When Mozambique celebrated the 40 year anniversary of independence on 25 June, it was a time for reflection on the gains and losses made by the country which has experienced rapid shifts from civil conflict, to democratic consolidation and exponential economic growth driven by commodity discoveries. A mark of how far Mozambique has come since 1975 was demonstrated last year, when it undertook its first voyage in to international debt markets.
The election result was a big shock: no one predicted the Conservatives would win an outright majority and no one forecast the SNP tsunami. It has shown us that the old rules no long apply. What once was does not have to be. Despite the perceived political differences, if towns and cities across the UK grasp that, the future doesn't have to be blue.