02
Feb
10

We are living in a parallel universe – but can I swap mine for another one?

In the past few weeks it’s becoming pretty obvious to me that we are living in a parallel universe – not the universe we lived in 2 years back.

This parallel universe we find ourselves in behaves in completely different ways to the one we were previously accustomed to and it works on a whole new logic, however it seems I am the only one who has noticed that we are living in a new upside down world. The doubters among you will of course dismiss my observation as being fanciful, or potentially that I am in need of a medication adjustment – but lets consider the facts.

In the previous “normal” universe….

  • It was not normal for people to stick their gold jewellery into an envelope and post it off to sell it
  • Tax efficient/exempt savings accounts actually encouraged saving
  • Mortgages bore some relationship to the bank base rate
  • Printing money was widely accepted as inflationary 
  • The government didn’t give out money to encourage you to scrap the car.

Somehow we’ve fallen down a worm hole and started to accept a new normality that is complete nonsense – we are in a parallel universe.

Take posting Gold…. fair enough and best of luck to the companies allowing folks to do this – but why does it make sense to take something valuable and heavy and post it off through the mysterious mechanism called the Royal Mail (using the Golden Earing postage stamps I suppose). Surely the postage is a fortune – let alone the risk of it going missing or of you not getting the price you want/need.

Savings…. to encourage savings the Government introduced various tax exempt accounts for us all. Nice one. Well it was until the rates became so punitive that your as well sticking your money in an account that gets taxed. How completely unintuitive is that. A tax efficient savings account where the interest earned is less than if you’d stuck it into a normal deposit account.

Mortgages…. were mortgages in the previous world and behaved in a predictable manner – they tracked the base rate normally (more or less). But now, with the base rate at a record low, mortgages are finding a level that has nothing to do with the base rate and instead they are being set high due to the need to rebalance the books of bust banks (weren’t they the cautious ones in our original universe?).  

Quantatative Easing – would have been called printing money in the universe I now long for. And it would have been frowned upon by everyone – other than those who were trying to defraud the monetary system by using a colour photocopier in the back bedroom. (That reminds me – I must get a new colour cartridge – the green is running out).

Car scrappage – buying a car used to involve haggling about the value of the aging, vintage vehicle you were trading in. But not now – now you are guaranteed a couple of grand for almost anything. I’m sticking a Tax Disk onto the Lawnmower on Saturday and taking it along to the local Merc dealership…. well it’s worth a try.

However, if these observations of obvious counter intuitive behaviour don’t convince you that we are living in a parallel universe then consider this as final proof…..

A wee womun from Blackburn in West Lothian, who lives in a very normal wee x coonsil hoose with her cat, was last years biggest singing sensation. God bless her – she deserves it.

Nonetheless here I am sitting in this parallel universe in the certain knowledge that at any moment an Alien will walk through the front door and explain to me that there’s been a mix up and I shouldn’t actually be here….. oh hang on theres the door bell…..thank goodness. Right… can I please go to a parallel universe where I’m a banker…. or Simon Cowell! 

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