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Money and the buzz

Just to show the opposite sides of the money scale, have a look at the two following stories which both broke today. In the first, British Gas are raising prices by 15% for their gas and electricity (following on from similar rises from their competitors). This is an enormous pricehike, but one which has been expected. I’m glad I don’t have a house back home any more as that would make a huge dent in my income. At least they’ve left it till after winter, so hopefully at a time when heating can be turned down.

So we’ll have people complaining about the price rise, but when you look at the facts it was inevitable and really doesn’t seem about them trying to make a vast profit – just to make a profit given the narrow margins at present.

So while the public bemoan this rise in price, perhaps they should still realise how bloody lucky they are to live somewhere that has electricity and gas, and that they have jobs where they can re-budget to afford it. Because the other story I’m interested in is the Zimbabwean government issuing $10m notes in a bid to catch up with their 50,000% per annum inflation. Sounds impressive, but one of these notes will convert into £2 in the UK, less than $4 American.

Basically, their money is devaluing quicker than they can print and spend it. You get paid, say, a dollar one day. By the next it’s worthless. They were running out of paper money because people needed so many of the small bills to buy the basics. Zimbabwe has the world’s weakest currency (Vietnam’s Dong is the second-weakest, but at least it’s comparatively stable).

So while the poor and the elderly in the UK may certainly feel the pinch at their utilities going up, do have a thought for those in other countries. The amount your fuel bills are rising is probably enough to feed and cloth someone there for six months.

Onto a slightly happier tone, I have to confess that the Bolton game tomorrow is the first time in months I’ve actually been excited about seeing us play. I was gutted that I couldn’t get a ticket to the Stoke home game the other night. Had I still been in the UK I would have gone.

Keggy Keegle might not be the long-term answer to all Newcastle’s problems, but as an immediate-term signing and a moral-boost for the region I seriously doubt there could have been anyone better. I’ve even shifted my work rota for tomorrow so I can make it to the pub to see the match.

Most predictions are, predictably, going for a goal-fest and the majority of those in our favour. I hope that’s the case, but you know what? With King Kev back in charge I at least expect to be entertained and that’s something we’ve been missing for far too long.

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