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Downgrade Bad for Everyone?

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So the UK’s credit rating has changed from one capital letter and two small letters to one capital letter, one small letter and a number. I was under the impression having numbers in a credit rating was good. I was wrong. Apparently this could spell more bad times for the UK economy.

At this moment I’m trying to feel sympathetic for my home country. The downgrade by Moody’s from Aaa to Aa1 looks sure to signal further economic problems for everyone. Not for this ex-pat, however. I changed some dollars into pounds last weekend and received way more Sterling than I expected to. Economic problems? What economic problems. This is great. I now have enough British money to buy birthday cards and birthday badges for all my relatives born in March (six to be exact). Then there is UK Mother’s Day and a friend’s 30th too. Moody’s couldn’t have timed this better. If this continues, by the time I go home for a holiday this summer I might be able to afford a wedding gift to go along with the card I already have for some good friends who are tying the knot.

This sympathy thing isn’t as easy as I thought. Maybe this also has something to do with the face of the downgrade saga, chancellor George Osborne. I know it is very easy to blame the man in charge of clearing up the mess, especially when things start to go wrong again, but Osborne is very difficult to like. He looks shifty. When he speaks it feels like he’s always talking down to you. He’s also from a very privileged background, which means taking him or any other Tory minister seriously on subjects like “being in this together” is extremely hard to do.

Not that this really matters to the government. Everyone has to vote for somebody, and the options are pretty slim at present. I have my doubts as to whether the country would be any better under anyone else. It just so happens that the face of the current problems is hard to take to. The economic hardships seem likely to continue for a good while yet. Osborne announced today that the government is to push forward with it’s plans on debt reduction, while blaming the downgrade on global issues (this sounds like 2009 all over again). He also changed his stance on the top credit rating being vital for the economy. He now believes the day-to-day test via financial markets is as good an indicator. It’s good to stay positive, isn’t it.

For my part I’ve banned myself from talking directly about gas prices to UK residents, so as not to make them feel any worse (eight dollars a gallon anyone?). It’s a small gesture, I know, but it might go some way to restoring my sympathy chip. Plus, I get to try positive spin for a change. Unfortunately, no amount of positive spin will restore the UK’s economic reputation any time soon.

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