Thursday, June 01, 2006

Labour pains

So long, Two Jags / Jabs / Shags!

Prescott is unimaginative and bureaucratic and the ODPM has overseen some shocking policy, particularly on home-building and urban regeneration; at least he had his Privates Under Secretary (or assistant private secretary, I can't remember - they all look the same to the last Home Secretary but one) reveal sordid details about the length of his, ahem, responsibilities not matching up to the importance of his title. It also seems that he was quite keen to foist these "responsibilities" on women at other points in his career (brings a literal meaning to the term "underlings").

So having essentially been sacked and placed on gardening leave, as if there were any greenfield sites left that are not earmarked for a rash of dull and unnecessary new homes, he went and did it again. The press once more obtained evidence of him hammering his balls through a tight hole on a nicely trimmed strip of grass, whilst supposedly running a country in Bliar's absence. Still, at least the man gave up one out of his portfolio of "grace and favour" residences - how humble.

The timely introduction of The Enforcer, John Reid, to the Home Office after Charles Clark's equally undignified exit, and the careful positioning of Alan Johnston regarding the ODPM, might just allow a "reverse-putsch" of Blairites seizing key ministries and stopping the further collapse of the public sector and imminent crushing of the private sector on Brown's accession next year.

I think it is time Blair went - he is fresh out of ideas and credibility, and the carpenters simply cannot lay down the shagpile fast enough for him to keep sweeping balls-ups at home and abroad under it. But Brown seems to have missed the basic economics lesson about how a government can only spend what it raises in taxes, so should be helping the economy to achieve two goals - firstly to increase growth and thus the tax take, and secondly to find ways to reduce people's dependence on the public sector.

Simple methods of doing this might include providing tax breaks for private health and education contributions, which might allow us to breach a tipping point of affordability for hundreds of middle class earners, largely taking them and their sprogs out of state provision. But of course, we know that Brown will instead pander to the public perception that having money is inherently wrong.

I have actually had arguments with friends about how immoral it is to consider taking government-approved tax breaks. I tried to explain that this is done because it allows reinvestment in the economy, and we all know the private sector is forced by the realities of the marketplace to spend its money much more efficiently than the bloated scions of Shitehall. But apparently I was depriving hundreds of thousands of poor chavs and chavettes of their right to long-term unemployment and wallowing in their own filth. Oh, sorry, that phrase is actually one that is reserved by senior Lib Dem MEPs for use about the insidious Jewish lobby and the memories of the Auschwitz dead.

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, a summer of political fun: Cameron ahead in the polls but then cheapening and watering down his policies anyway; some more Labourites (Old and New) falling on their swords; and gloriously the total absence of any profile for the Lib Dems under good old Ming. Never have we needed the distraction of a World Cup so badly.

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