From comments to my previous post, some readers seem to think I am pessimistic and gloomy - even 'distempered'. Not so. Despite my personal sadness about losing my wife, I am generally quite happy and optimistic. I certainly don't share many commenters' fears about the decline of the West, for example, but more of that in some future post.
It has even been suggested that I might be happier living elsewhere. Perhaps so. I lived abroad for 20 years and have no fear of the cosmopolitan life. I am quite good at it, actually. I can certainly cope with (if never quite master) foreign languages and have friends in lots of interesting places. I am also curious about other societies and how they work (or, often, don't). However, I promised the late Mrs P I would live in London to be near our daughters. They are fine, independent young women and don't need me much, but it's a joy to see them often, so I am happy to keep my word.
I admit I am gloomy about Britain's civil liberties (many little-read posts passim) and her economic prospects. All the more so because I am seeing up close and personal the deadening effects of envy-driven taxation to fund an out-of-control payroll vote. I worked hard for 30 years, built businesses and created jobs. I am ready to get back to my life now and looking about myself for something to do, but here's the rub. If I go back to serious work, the government would keep half of what I earned, a big chunk of what I spend (in indirect taxes), half of whatever interest I earn on what I don't spend and then keep half of whatever is left when I die. That's really quite absurd. So I am just looking about for odds and ends of paid amusement to keep my brain ticking over, my bills paid and to contribute to the fund for my next car. My (much discouraged by the government) love of motoring is, amusingly, the only counterbalance to its relentless campaign to persuade me to relax.
Nor am I alone. Other members of my family have closed their businesses rather than work most of their time for the government gangsters. They are planning to spend their savings steadily so as to leave as little as possible to be stolen from their families when they die. Better use the money to have fun with them now, they reason, than to have it stolen from them later and (mostly) wasted. Atlas has shrugged already, because (a) this "Conservative" and "Liberal" government confuses corporatism with capitalism and (b) the Labour Party is waiting in the wings to douse the economic flames even more vigorously.
Britain is not 'open for business'. Every action of government (as opposed to its irrelevant utterances) screams that Britain hates business, or at least the successful kind. George Osborne may find tax avoidance 'morally repugnant' (as does any gangster denied his protection money) but the simplest form of it is to work less and - unless he is prepared to expose himself to even his most ovine voters as a slave driver - there ain't a damn thing he can do about that.
Someone asked a famous scientist what he had learned about God from his work. He answered "He really seems to like beetles." If we ask ourselves what we have learned about the British Government, the answer must surely be "It really seems to love idleness."
I have never been an idler before, but I can get used to it. I am happily planning trips to Scotland and Italy (two this year, for 'pilot' training on Ferrari's test track). There are books I want to read, people and places I want to visit and courses I want to take. So please don't confuse my concern about my country's future with unhappiness about my own. If relaxation after 30 years of effort palls, there are always Big Society things I can do to keep me amused without feeding the tax dragon.