In which I wish them well …

Before you get in too deep let me just make it absolutely clear that this is not a Royal Engagement Special in the usual sense. So if you’re expecting (a) a fawning hagiography of the two young people all over the news or (b) a raving denunciation of same – well, you may wish to turn away now.

Any couple deciding to make a public commitment to each other deserves the respect and good wishes of their fellow citizens (or as Prince William could say – future subjects). Prince William and Kate Middleton have both my good wishes and my respect.

As with any piece of family orientated news I, of course, reflected on my family’s situation and prospects. I suspect many will have done the same. That quick temperature check about your own loved-ones and the inevitable comparison with the happy couple on the TV.

It wasn’t a happy few minutes of contemplation.

The happy couple met at university so let’s start with higher education. Our older two will be emerging with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt. If they find a job on graduation and do well then, in a few short years, they can begin to pay down the debt. Both believed the freely given Liberal Democrat pledge. Neither is likely to trust a politician again.

Of course there’s the worry about whether they will be able to find work. Graduate unemployment was recently reported as being at the highest level for 17 years. The idea that those who gain most should pay most for getting a degree doesn’t necessarily stand up in a bear labour market.

Our youngest having only just started her GCSEs is already thinking that leaving education straight after A levels is the smart move.

Then there’s the vexed question of where they all might live when they enter the world of work. Coming home may not be an option particularly if Mrs RPS and I have to downsize (assuming we can find a buyer). Deflation in the housing market may be great for our kids – assuming they can find a lender – but is bad for our retirement fund. Of course finding somewhere affordable gets even trickier if any of our infants decide that they want to stay on in the countryside.

Affordable housing around our way is rarer than a UK coalition government. NIMBYism, collapsing confidence by developers and the removal of the certainty of the regional spatial strategies do not feel like ingredients to increase affordable housing supply any time soon.

So. Education. Employment. Housing. What’s next?

It’s the economy, of course. I don’t suppose I’m the only UK taxpayer getting twitchy about what’s happening in Ireland and the other vulnerable EU economies. The same markets that gave us the credit crunch seem hell-bent on working their magic again. Making a vast amount of money as they go. National governments – even those with aircraft carriers that have aircraft on them – seem powerless to resist these forces.

I blogged yesterday about the measurement of happiness. It is a difficult time for us to feel that happy or optimistic as a family. Folks I spoke with yesterday seemed to feel that way too and were sniffy about any attempt to use these two young people as a shot of happiness Viagra for our national mood. ‘Who’s going to pay for it’ seemed the commonest question I heard. I suspect the Queen will remember her own austerity wedding and will be wary of too great a show.

However, my search for work remains as hot as ever and gets into a new gear today – there’ll be more about that later – meantime …

… I wonder if Wills and Kate need a footman? I’ve seen Downton Abbey. I could do that. No, I really could …


About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in affordable homes, Coalition, Job applications, Public sector, Royal Wedding, Uncategorized, university fees and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In which I wish them well …

  1. @DavidWhe says:

    Good post – only one criticism! Why should it be you that gets the job of footman? I’ve seen Downton Abbey too!!

  2. Mean Mr Mustard says:


    I’ve not seen Downton Abbey, because I tend to avoid TV like the plague. I shall now also have to avoid the brain-dead online infotainment ‘news’ for a while too. Instead of sanitised daily news snapshots, I prefer to take a longer and cynical view, as I did when preparing to leave the CS. That turned out to be an eight year project, including OU study, narrowly avoiding severe pitfalls such as arbitrary rule changes, forced postings etc, but also grabbing opportunities as they arose – but with my departure always in mind. At one stage I even had a (successful) promotion bid and redundancy application running in parallel! All that started from a general sense of unease about how things were going – it was already a steady continuous decline in my Dept – and my escape plan gained clarity as I went on. But even I never anticipated the disgraceful political attacks on low paid CS towards the end. People around me were very angry, but by then, it was far too late.

    Anticipating redundancy, in 2005 I started looking at investment and economics websites, and the severe structural problems we faced were made clear then, even inside the bubble. The financial collapse somehow has enabled continuing banker’s bonuses and the backlash against the public sector – and ‘to be sure’, the ongoing Eire Ponzi collapse is a major development, but entirely foreseeable. And it’s just a prelude. Chris Martenson’s online ‘Crash Course’ (20 short instalments) is an excellent multi-faceted introduction on why this is just the start, and the ‘Archdruid Report’ blogs by John Michael Greer (several years worth of quality commentary there), will provide many insights on what we can expect and can do to protect ourselves as the Western economies collapse. The Automatic Earth economics blog provides another multidisciplinary ‘big picture’ view, and Dmitry Orlov offers much sage and humourous advice, having seen the Soviet economy collapse up close.

    I tend to agree with your (very perceptive!) youngest that signing over shedloads of any future earnings into the rathole of possibly irrelevent skills is dangerous – better to work out what’s going to be needed, and affordable to study. If it can be found, maybe a p/t McJob, with Open University study combo with fries on that would be a better prospect these days.

    “So. Education. Employment. Housing. What’s next?” ENERGY. Which underpins everything. As Chris Martenson says – “..the next twenty years will not be like the last twenty…”

    Study the map first, and listen to the guides, and take the wide ranging and long view, rather than the friendly Irish advice of ‘If you want to go there, I wouldn’t start from here.’ And as for Royalty, well, they’ll be on bicycles, just like their Dutch counterparts.



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