Let’s have an excise/levy/co-payment/tax on nostalgia!

Nostalgia is booming, and I am into as is fitting for a septuagenarian! But if only Joe Hockey had thought of taxing it! Maybe every time you hit a nostalgia site on Facebook – whether it is Lost Wollongong, Lost Gay Sydney, Old Sydney Album or any of the others – the government should surely be able in concert with FB to work out a way of extracting, say, 20 cents from your bank account. I suspect the deficit we have been conditioned to fearing so much would vanish very quickly!

Don’t get me wrong. I love those sites! Especially steam train pictures!

Just been in a thread about Sutherland – with my cousin too. Brought to mind a post I did a few years ago about the Sutherland Odeon cinema, and another about my old Year 6 teacher.

Eddie on playground

There he is: Eddie O’Neil, my Year 6 1954 teacher – in 1957

Mind you, there are limits to nostalgia, as I noted in a 2005 post – so long ago that I can experience post nostalgia just by looking at it nine years on! (Auto-nostalgia like that should attract a 50 cent surcharge.)

Ah, 1955, when I started at The Mine as an eleven-year-old! Sydney was great then. It had trams. It had trains that ran on time. Some of them had steam engines. My brother had a shotgun wedding; teenagers did that sort of thing then. Or some did…

The Eastern Suburbs were full of bank managers, Jews, richer reffos, well-known racing identities, and successful criminals, except for the south end where more reffos (poor) and no-hopers lived, with a little clutch of Abos out at La Perouse who did turns for the tourists at weekends with snakes and boomerangs and gave a nice alternative to the Zoo or Luna Park.

Real people lived in The Shire. They still do. Not that I would knock The Shire. I have enormous respect for my old mate and mentor in writing and teaching, Bob Walshe, who was teaching at Sutherland Intermediate High School in 1955. I met him much later, when he was no longer a Communist. In his old age he has been a mainstay of the Sutherland Environmentalists, and I do seriously commend their site, especially the proceedings of the 2001 conference on Sydney’s demography and future. Bob is a living treasure; I mean that.

Nobody real lived on the other side of the Harbour Bridge, where the silvertails looked down on the rest of us from their leafy garden suburbs and pretended they were in England. Nobody at all lived West of Parramatta, or if they did they grew vegetables, raised chickens, or indulged in inbreeding. Some were Chinese and had market gardens; invariably, if one (my father for example) ever did talk to them, they were called “John” and had to be spoken to in pidgin and very loudly.

I miss it all so much. The ham and beef shops that sold ham and beef. The lack of hamburgers. The lack of coffee, and wine only for winos and wogs. Except for muscat, sherry, and porphyry pearl, for the ladies – sometimes. The six-o’clock closing. The drunks. The domestic violence. The unwashed kids. The outdoor dunnies.

Back to The Budget. There was an excellent prelude on #qanda on Monday night, the source of my post title in fact:

JAQUI LANE: Thank you, Tony. As a writer, I’m interested in words. I’d like to understand what the panel thinks the words, the meaning of the words “tax, levy, excise, surcharge” actually mean and given that governments as far back as 1940s or maybe forever have used, abused and misrepresented each and sometimes all of these words, why do any of you think that we, the voters, should trust any of you to say what you mean and do what you say?
TONY JONES: Well, I’ll go to the – thank you. I’ll go to the non-politicians first. Actually, we’ll start with Das. Levies, co-payments, excises, are they synonyms for one thing, for tax?
SATYAJIT DAS: They’re all taxes. Simple.
SHARMAN STONE: They’re revenue raisers.
SATYAJIT DAS: Oh, come on. Come on. Let’s not play semantic games. They are all taxes. I mean we have public private partnerships. So I pay my taxes for roads to be built, then I have to pay a toll to go on the road and I wonder what I’ve actually paid for. These are all taxes by different names, so let’s not play semantic games. Alexander Solzhenitsyn summed this up very neatly when he said, “The permanent lie has become the only way of existence.” And I just think that – I think the first questioner earlier raised the issue of we have elected people to trust but I see no sign of people honouring promises on either side of politics to be honest…

On the Budget I really don’t have anything fresh to add. I do commend Ross Gittins to you. See also the very interesting set of Fact Checks on ABC. As a pensioner I am unimpressed with some aspects – the change of the mode of indexing the pension for one, tantamount to a reduction over the years to come, though, if you are pedantic, “keeping” the promise albeit for THIS parliamentary term.  I also wonder what exactly this bit of shuffling off responsibility for what actually happens will mean:

And the Commonwealth will dramatically cut its support for various state and territory based seniors’ concessions, eliminating $1.3 billion in spending in what the Government described as a decision taken “to repair the budget”.

Well there you go. That’s your budget for now.

And even this has taken ages to write, partly because poor little Baby HP/Google Chrome have been groaning under the weight of stuff I have been making them hold on to.  And what is it with Shockwave Flash and Google Chrome? Why does Flash keep crashing/failing to load, even though I have followed the advice you can find about correcting the bug – and a bug either of Chrome or Adobe it seems to be.