i Editor's Letter: Little Miss Sunshine


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The Independent Online


As I write this, for the first time in an age I can look out the window and see a little blue sky. The sun streaming through the window makes me realise just how dirty it is. Happy days. Could it really be spring? Please let all that "freeze to last until May" scary stuff be just that.

We all desperately need a little sunshine in our lives right now, especially those who cannot afford, or are otherwise unable, to get away for Easter. In addition to the considerable extra burdens that the long cold spell has placed on families' budgets and health, there is also the effect that it has on people's dispositions. It's not called SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for nothing.

On Monday, many benefit reforms and tax changes kick in. While top earners will enjoy the extra 5 per cent off their tax bills, many at the poorer end of society will be apprehensive about the full impact on their finances and lives – especially those on the receiving end of the ill-thought-through and cruel "bedroom tax". One wonders at the dark souls of those who sat in a room and first came up with it. A right-wing think-tank, or some other kind of policy group? Then one wonders again at the politicians who can bring themselves to defend the indefensible. Small wonder that Owen Jones's outlining of a People's Assembly has touched a nerve with so many. I can't possibly dissect the madness of it all better than Mark Steele did yesterday in i. If you missed him, look it up on independent.co.uk.

But amid all this gloom, there is one ray of optimism. Tonight is one of the best nights of the year. Yes, people, it's time to put your clocks forward and leap into spring. Things really can only get better.