Jun 26 2008 By Peter Carroll
ACCORDING to one Glasgow Labour MP we are all 'bloody miserable'.
Transport minister Tom Harris, Glasgow South MP, said recently on his own website that we have never had it so good.
The MP, who earns £61,820 per year before we even mention expenses and his ministerial add-on, said last week that we have been afflicted by 'crippling levels of cynicism and pessimism'.
He said: "High-def TVs fly off the shelves faster than they can be imported.
"Eating out - a rare treat when I was a child in the 1970s - is as commonplace as going shopping.
"And when we do go shopping, we spend money in quantities that would have made our parents gasp.
"There are more two-car homes in Britain today than there are homes without a car at all.
"We live longer, eat healthier (if we choose) and have access to forms of entertainment never imagined a generation ago (satellite TV, DVD, computer games)."
Harris added: "So why is everyone being so bloody miserable?"
The comments brought swift attacks from opposition MP Philip Hammond, who claimed Mr Harris 'lives on a different planet from ordinary hard-working families'.
Soaring fuel, energy and food prices are hitting hard in the pocket.
Papers and news programmes report on countless murders and violent attacks.
Yet according to Mr Harris, we've never had it so good.
The Glaswegian asked readers if they agree or disagree with the MP. Here's what they had to say.
Retired taxi driver Hamilton Jenkins, 64, from Dennistoun, said: "I couldn't disagree more with Mr Harris. Life's far more difficult now.
"Okay, so people are buying flat-screen TVs and the likes, but they don't have the money to afford them.
"We have now turned into a nation living on credit. As a country Scotland, and the rest of the UK, has a staggering amount of debt. And that puts huge pressure on us all.
"The pressures on the average family are enormous."
Robert McAulay, 55, who owns Robert's Hair Design on Duke Street, said Mr Harris was partly right.
He said: "People have so many consumer goods, things they don't even need.
"Everyone owns big TVs, the latest mobile phones, cars and take holidays, but yet we all moan about our lot.
"Look at the lives of people in third world countries. They have absolutely nothing, no future, yet we moan about the price of food while thousands die of starvation."
Retired nurse, Annette Fowler, 66, from Dennistoun, said: "The MP has a point. I think that life is a lot easier now than when I was young.
"I think Mr Harris said what needed to be said.
"There are so many people who don't work and claim benefits when there is nothing wrong with them.
"Benefits were meant to be a safety net when people lost their jobs. Now, there's thousands of young people out there who have never had, or even want, a job.
"Yet they all have the latest clothes, phones and are shopping away in the big supermarkets while the rest of us go out to work."
Human resources advisor, Emily Bayne, 2 7, from Maryhill, thinks Mr Harris' comments were ill judged.
She said: "I think his comments were extremely insensitive. To come out and say that when fuel, energy and food prices are going through the roof is stupid.
"Thousands of people look set to lose their homes because of the credit crunch, and he's telling us we've never had it so good.
"People might be able to buy cheaper TVs and things like that, but they are still really worried about petrol and fuel bills soaring."
Postman Scott McComway, 3 0, from Bridgeton, wasn't happy with the MP's comments.
He said: "I've never heard of him, but I think Mr Harris is talking complete rubbish.
"He should come to live in a place like the east end and see how many two-car families with plasma TVs he comes across. It won't be many."
Castlemilk plumber Darren McLeary, 22, thinks the MP is from a constituency far, far, far away.
He said: "What planet is this guy on? I don't think his comments were the best considering the current economic climate.
"Inflation is far higher than the government's figures, people are really struggling to pay their bills."