I'd like to preface this to say that neither am I an expert, nor an economist. I have as much financial expertise as the man running our economy.
As the economy is currently in such dire straits, and the ever-increasing price of fuel and bureaucracy makes owning a car a very expensive proposition in a time of austerity, one would think that we'd be encouraged to use public transport more. It is, unfortunately, a nice thought and nothing more, as Rail communters are hit by a 4.2% average fair rise. The amount the rail fares have been hiked by makes a mockery of how much anyone's pay has increased, if it has increaed at all - many public service workers will have no pay increase this year, as they had none last year, and will be capped at 1% for two more years afterwards. This is somewhat disgraceful in and of itself, given that inflation is currently figured to be 2.7% alone.
Which might go some way to explain why UK album sales suffered an 11.2% drop overall - though digital sales increased by 14.8%, actual physical sales decreased by 20%. Another potential explanation is that HMV's record section is rapidly shrinking, and is now about the same size (and offers about the same selection) as your average Tesco Extra. If you halve, quarter or even remove in some cases the niche areas of your CD selection, you can expect those niche buyers to go elsewhere for just about everything: if I find somewhere else to buy Lamb Of God, damn sure I'll buy Gorillaz there too.
But back to the trains. So, using a car has become more expensive, and will continue to do so. Trains are now more expensive likewise. Pay rates are effectively being cut across the board, if people can even keep their jobs. All of this austerity, all of this punishment, for sake of reducing a deficit that has actually become greater.
If only someone had told the government that austerity won't work.
Oh wait. We all did. (Go ahead and google "Austerity Won't Work" and look at how far back those articles date.)
If the next election yields a Tory government, I will be sorely pressed to not actually lose my mind.