Free Stuff is an addiction.

I've been trying to write this post for about a week now, but every time I remember about it, I've been either too far away from a computer or sharing a tent with two drunk men.

Suffice to say, I've been busy making sure that they avoided horrific hangovers. Anyway, my post.

I overheard on the radio when I finally got up a few days back a brief news topic - this was only a news summary on Kerrang! Radio afterall - Alistair Darling talking about how the government are not going to "be able to put more money into public services for the next few years." Now, at the time I thought nothing much of it. What does it really matter? The government's schemes are generally far overcosted and inneficient to actually impact on my life as a whole. A little while later I was jogging down to Hyndburn Sports Centre to see about a month's membership to the gym so I can get fit before returning to college in the autumn. No luck sadly. The minimum subscription was £16 monthly for 6 months (For anybody who fancys on reading the rest of this blog rather than getting out that calculator, that's about £100) for "Unlimited use of the gym, swimming pool, health classess..." for a total saving of £50. It even gave you a free membership towel, which made me think I was playing Curse of Monkey Island. Now, even to my unfit, flabby self, that seemed a slight rip off.

1) I would be only going for a month.
2) I only wanted to use the gym.

I ask - sensibly - about any other schemes. As soon as the desk sergeant rambled off about a "Youth Passport" I immediately smelt a governmental fidgiting going on. It seemed like a good deal.

Then she said the immortal words "Of course, your gym induction session will be £20."

Yes folks. For the same price you can buy a few good books, several music cds (or what I did and spent it on a video game...), you can have the experiance of being treated like a moron by a PE teacher. Now, imagine all of those large people that were in your variously named Sports classes. Did they get along with their teacher? No.

And yet this is a gym that is partially funded by the government with the specific aim of getting said fat person into the gym.

Like I said, I am sensing an unhappy mismatch of profiteering and a Higher Goal. Government mishmash at it's finest. But I was hit by the actual topic for this post on the jog back. Blackburn and Darwen has recently made a substantial amount of it's sport facilities free.

Sorry for yet another offshoot, but I'll explain the relevance of free stuff in politics. Socialism - let us assume that includes New Labour at this point - is all about free stuff. Free stuff is pretty much only one step away from bribery when it comes to govermental policy. Think about it. Free healthcare, financial advice, librarys, higher education

Hang on, scratch that last one...

and various other goverment services are provided for free. Labour is sitting on a vast pile of free stuff. Free is popular.

Free sports facilities would get me into the gym and getting fit. I would pay £20 for an induction session if I knew that was the only cost involved. But thanks to the economic downturn and Brown not making hay whilst the sun was shining, I'm willing to bet that us Hyndburnites will never actually get our fix of free stuff. The worst bit of course is that all we are going to hear on shows like Newsnight for the next month is Cameron's cronies sipping Earl Grey and saying "Well, those Labour chaps aalways run out of money, hah hah hah."

It's a bit of a double punch.