I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and heard something quite interesting, not surprising, but quite revealing: apparently the UK now spends more on Sky satellite TV than it does on bread. What does that tell you about the UK market?
To me it says we (the collective UK population) have our priorities completely wrong. We'd rather spend our money on ensuring the goggle box has six hundred and eighty three channels available 24-7 in the small hope that one of them may have something we want to watch, rather than ensure we and our children are getting a wholesome and healthy diet (and lifestyle), assuming the bread bought is not white, which is not likely given the size of the white bread section in supermarkets.
I'm not really surprised by this little fact. Ever since I arrived in the UK and my aunt pointed out a row of council houses all with satellite dishes, I've been amazed and appalled by the fact that the those living on the bread-line almost exclusively off the government because they're too lazy to get a job (not those who have a legitimate reason), can actually get Sky TV. I know it's all about freedom of choice but surely if you obtain most of your income and housing from the government, you can't afford (and shouldn't be allowed) to spend that (taxpayers') money on luxuries like Sky TV.
I'd be interested to know how many of the homes with Sky TV fall into the "low income" bracket - that bracket that is apparently meant to be the most severely affected by the recent government spending review. I really wouldn't be surprised if it's quite a high figure. If this is indeed the case, those complaining about the cuts to benefits etc announced in the spending review need to stop and look at what they spend their benefits and small income on BEFORE they complain. Sky TV costs at least £228 a year. What other unnecessary luxuries are you spending taxpayers' money on? Increasing your plasma-to-plaster ratio? Ready meals? Take-aways? Luxuries are exactly that: a luxury. Not a necessity like VAT free bread.
Yes, I know, I sound like a raging Tory having a right old rant about the poor and their bad spending habits, not because I've got anything against Sky or the poor, but rather because those on benefits are spending my tax on stuff they don't need and not on stuff they do, like good healthy food needed to keep them alive. What's more, they then have the cheek to complain about the cuts affecting them more than the rich: your Sky TV bill, as a proportion of your income, also costs you more, but you don't complain about that and certainly don't get any special consideration from Sky.
Anyway, that's enough of a rant. Maybe it's time we change those income related bread expressions to more accurately reflect modern trends: bread-line becomes Sky-line and bread-winner becomes Sky-winner. With these new expressions I think I'm entitled to a top-up from the government as we (just Claire and me this time) don't have Sky TV. We can afford it, but don't see the need, but if it's a requirement to ensure our household is above the Sky-line, then I'm open to the handouts.
Until then, we'll continue spending more on bread than on Sky TV - sandwiches taste much better comprised of two slices of bread than two pages of the Radio Times :-)