In the absence of much else to do, I took the train into town (well, as near to town as Bristol’s main station takes you) to look at a few shops.

I was not born yesterday so I went to the main shopping area, called Cabot Circus (I call it Carboot Circus, which I think is no less silly), in the knowledge that there would be few if any real bargains.  How right I was.

If there were bargains, they were snapped up by the ‘I must have this’ brigade at 5.00 am on Boxing Day morning.  There was nothing I could see that resembled anything like a bargain.

I went in a couple of stores and although there were signs like ‘Everything 50% off’, items were still horrendously expensive.  Or maybe it’s because my wages have stood still since the mid 2000s – well, that’s not true: in actual terms, minus overtime and plus huge increases in pension contributions, they are much lower – and everything else has gone up?

Either way, I kept thinking to myself: I can’t afford this and anyway it’s no better than the old stuff I’ve got under the bed.

It’s slightly depressing, in the literal sense of the word, to be amongst people who DO have the money to buy stuff, or at least appear to have it.  But as I looked closely, most folk seemed to be shuffling round just looking at things.  There were few staggering under the weight of their purchases.

By Primark, where we do a lot of our shopping, it was a very different story.  It looked rammed and the pavements groaned with shoppers buying at the basement end.  And I got to thinking.

I consider myself to be at the lower end of the squeezed middle.  We neither of us earn large sums despite working hard (thus dispelling the Cameron myth of supporting those who “work hard and want to get on” – no, he doesn’t give a shit about us) and things get tighter.  I’m wearing cheaper shoes and much older clothes.  I replace not for stylistic reasons but because I have to.  I buy the cheapest ‘name’ brands because they last longer than the cheap non named brands when the water gets in the bottom of the old ones.

I can’t talk about what I do – I’d be sacked in this free country of ours – but I work hard for ever reducing ‘reward’ and I wonder, sometimes, why I bother.

Those at the top, from their elite private schools and affluent lifestyles, know nothing about us, the riff raff of the proletariat who struggle by on what they would regard as chicken feed.

I would love to visit my brothers in Vancouver, play golf at some nice courses, buy some nice things just now and then, maybe even go out for a meal at somewhere better than Frankie and Bennys (and that’s bloody dear by our standards).

It doesn’t help that I am horribly depressed, lurching from one mood swing to the next, but this awful government, enabled by Nick Clegg and his gutless, self-interested party, makes me feel a failure and I think they are rather enjoying it.