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A new version of an old Cliff Richard song could be biggest feelgood dampener yet

Posted on 20 June 2011 | 8:06am

It is always wise to be a little suspicious of stories which emerge from private sector surveys, particularly if designed as what journalists in the pre no-deadline online age used to call a ‘Sunday for Monday’.

These were stories which a reporter could tuck away late on Friday afternoon, leaving him safe in the knowledge that the news editor would have at least something for his list come Sunday morning.

Women’s magazines used to be brilliant at generating such stories for the Monday morning papers, usually from pre-Hello era showbiz interviews. Now that there is a whole new industry purely for such celebstuff, the glut has let private sector company surveys take over the Sunday-for-Monday space-filling role somewhat.

What ING Direct have to gain from telling the world that almost four of ten families are so squeezed they can’t afford a summer holiday, I don’t know – encouraging savings plans I guess. I have noticed their poster campaign, so some pretty major profile-building is going on, and whoever had the idea of doing the survey can look at a pretty good clutch of cuttings this morning, and look forward to considerable online and broadcast coverage through the day. Radio phone-in programmes love a good survey to get them going. The story is No 2 on the Telegraph’s most viewed list and doubtless doing well elsewhere.

So depending on which paper’s calculations you believe, 17 or 18 million people will be going without a summer holiday. ‘We’re not going on a summer holiday,’ as Cliff (one of those first name will suffice celebs) almost sang – even at half that 18 million figire, it is quite a big dampener on any feelgood factor. I suppose the only upside to fewer people taking holidays would be more spending closer to home. But if the reason they’re not taking a holiday at all is lack of cash,  that may go down in the straw-clutching category.

A two-tier approach to summer holidays, however, will add to the growing sense of irritation at the ‘we’re all in this together’ mantra from Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and their team of job-destroying, pension-chopping, public-spending-slashing, make-it-up-as-they-go-along (yes you Danny) ministers.

  • Anonymous

    Well yes.  Though I can’t see ING gaining new savings accounts if people can’t afford to go on holiday.  We watch helplessly as prices rise two and a half times faster than paypackets.  Some, like my hubby have their pay rises frozen for 3 years.  Mr Cameron is too busy castigating absent fathers (what’s it got to do with HIM? Why doesn’t he concentrate on what he is paid to do) to realise what chaos is going on around him.  I notice he has been to Ibiza recently.
    Good blog.

  • Watoop

    I would think Cliff’s “Power To All Our Friends” would be a better re-release for the Coalition (bankers, Murdoch, big corporates etc).

  • Jacquie R

    Forgive me for making the jump from summer holidays to summer parties – and one in particular, the annual summer bash of News International, hosted last week by Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch.

    No surprise that David Cameron was there, but also Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Douglas Alexander? Do we never learn?

  • ambrosian

    It would be interesting to know what proportion of these people were foregoing a holiday for the first time. There have always been millions of people who didn’t go on holiday, either from personal preference or circumstances (being a carer to somebody) or through poverty. And it’s only in my lifetime that foreign holidays have become the norm for people on average incomes. Before that it was a trip to the English seaside, for the day if you didn’t have much money or for a whole week of wet weather and dismal digs if you were unlucky enough to afford that.

    But that ‘everyone goes abroad now’ is a myth just like ‘everyone owns a car today’. Another one we are hearing a lot at the moment is ‘we are ALL living much longer’. No we’re not. Some of us are, and that too correlates with income and wealth.

    My choice of Cliff re-release for these times would be the Lord’s Prayer that he did for the Millennium, so long as I don’t have to listen to it.
    “Give us this day our daily bread”………unless we have to use our reduced benefits to heat the house instead.


  • Richard

    A trough is  a trough whoever puts the pigswill in it.
    Our former MP said that he once heard one of our former DPMs say in a HP bar, “Life is like a ***t sandwich, the more bread you have got the less you taste the ***t.” “Another G & T over here please steward”
    We all get wound up about politics but it is all a game to the politicians, a game of snakes and ladders.
    The politicians who used to accurately be described as “having convictions”, have been replaced by those who are damned lucky not to have convictions!

  • Anonymous

    Oh, Danny Alexander.  You would think that if he was giving a speech on pensions to the IPPR he and the Treasury would have got their act together.  And get this:

    ‘Working longer and paying in more may not be what public service workers 
    want to hear, but it is simply a fact of life for every single person in this 
    country, whether you work in the public or private sector.’  

    I don’t think he was talking about people who retire early from the City with their squillions – some of whom donate a very significant amount to the Conservative Party.  No-one doubts that there is a need for pension reform – but coming as it does as part of a generalised assault on the public sector by the present incumbents, a cynical reaction to their propositions would be understandable.

    His speech started off with the usual mantra about the government inheriting a deficit from Labour – wouldn’t you think that just once he could leave that out in the interests of taking a non-partisan approach to a serious matter?  Moreover, while hammering home the point that public sector pensions are part-funded by the tax payer, he requires us to forget that politicians have been helping themselves to taxpayers’ money right and left, and that taxpayers’ money is currently being used for a campaign in Libya that the government dares not even put a price on.

  • Haven’t had a chance to read the article but statistics are only valuable when placed in context…how many people didn’t go on a summer holiday last year? The year before? If there is a fall, is it premium or budget holidays? What do you class as summer? Are more people holidaying at times outside of this? Are people spending money on other goods? Are people choosing to save their money, as opposed to being less well-off?

    Questions, questions. Anything else is just promo.

  • He’s the most powerful man in the country and he could make or break any politician, unfortunately.

  • MicheleB

    I suppose the behaviour of the past year is classic tactics.

    Diss everything about everything, spread confusion, publish reports that people have to believe in ( few have time to spend examining truth/lies and some aren’t even willing).

    ………………….. doubtless they’re already designing the publications for a couple of years time that will illustrate ‘improvements’.

    Camsham’s am-dram comparison of absent fathers with drink drivers is insane.  He does have the right to comment on their behaviour imhoo (they cost society too much in both financial and emotional ways) but to try to link their behaviour across to reckless potential killers is bonkers.

  • Chris lancashire

    No, there’s another advantage – shorter check-in queues.

  • Yonks

    He should castigate absent and feckless fathers where the state is subsidising them and the families that they should be responsible for. It has everything to do with him given that he is responsible for on-going welfare payments.
    I would suggest that his main problem is sorting out the economics, if he gets that right, the rest will follow…I admit, getting there is very difficult, not for him but for the public sector workers who are bound to suffer. By the way, it would be no different under Labour, they would have the same problems.

  • Robert

    My response to this was going to be a list of the four holidays I’ve come back from to go to a funeral: Mom’s dad in 1964, Dad’s mom in 1973, my own dad last year and mom this. Had to travel back early off holiday for both mom & dad to be there for their final hours in this life – no regrets. With mom I was back at the airport less than 24 hours after I went on hol – not lol or rofl, believe me.

    Instead …. Gloucester Cathedral deserves a puff – being a gem of a building caught between the Norman and the Gothic – inside the heavy columns and roundy shaped arches of the Norman Romanesque surrounded by light, pointy, joyously colourful Gothic windows, an amazing vaulted ceiling, internal flying buttresses(!) and columns dotted here and there with carvings including those brussells sprouts so typical of the style.

    Glorious, uplifting.

    Next holiday? Not sure yet. Gentle reminder to the relatives to check their life insurance is up to date before it’s booked.

  • Tess

    I don’t drive (can’t afford it) and am as likely to jet off to sunny shores as I am to eat my own feet (which may well happen yet if these cuts keep coming!) but I do think Cliff’s Summer Holiday is not really apt – Bob Dylan’s fantastic “It’s not dark yet – but it’s getting there” is a more likely anthem for these times of “austerity”..those that have get more, those that have not get knotted seems to  be the rule of the day for the blue and yellow Westminster wallys.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Travellin’ Light’ might do for the rest of us.

  • Mabozza Ritchie

    Comment of the weekend for me was the letter published in Saturday’s Telegraph, of all places. It asked what was the difference between the contractual commitments that mandated bankers be paid their bonuses (following the Credit Crisis) and public workers pension rights?

  • Dave Simons

    In view of what you say about eating your own feet, I’d suggest the not-so-well-known early Dylan song, ‘Let Me Die In My Footsteps’.

  • I was about to write in similar vane, Ambrosian so will simply echo your sentiments for, I suspect, similar reasons.

  • MicheleB

    “……………….the only upside to fewer people taking holidays would be more spending closer to home………….”

    I’d also taken the news to be with ref to overseas holidays.

    It’s a paradox isn’t it that although we know the almost-bankrupt countries need our business more than ever it’s also possible to have reservations about going and seeing any suffering ….. despite the bargains that must be available.

    However, I see in the publication today that most of the ‘no-holiday’ cohort are those that usually do so in UK!

  • Ehtch

    Do yah know what, I like Cliff, always have done, from remembering his BBC tv shows maybe, and his Congrats song in eurovision, and his attempt to dance in another, a few years later, knee-knocking – he looked a tool, frankly!

    Anyway, there are suspicions about his prefered sexuality, so Cliff, tell us the truth – Do you drive up the M1 or the M2? We will still love you what either road you would like to travel, up…

    Cliff singing, with that bus, somewhere in europe,