It’s a beautiful morning, and I thought I might have a gentle mental ramble around the news.
It is very strange to find myself in agreement with the horrible Stephen Byers on anything, but he is reported as saying that the government may have to scrap ID cards and Trident II nuclear missiles as it slashes spending. It took a collapse of the worldwide Ponzi economy to drum at least some sense into New Labour. Byers is very close to Blair, but Blair would close down the NHS before closing down ID cards and nuclear missiles. So what is happening there?
It is almost tempting to propose that we should all vote New Labour to get the bastards back in again and make them clean up their own mess.
If Darling’s budget tells us anything, it is that Darling and Brown know that they are going to lose the election and are desperately trying to borrow enough to get them through and leave the hard decisions for the next lot. I see an argument for putting New Labour back in to take the pain and get so unpopular that even their under-educated Sun-reading Jane Goody-mourning core support will desert them, and the party will be wiped out forever.
Ok, let’s not do that. Not worth the risk they’d survive it.
There are going to need to be cutbacks in public spending. Trident should only be the start in the defence budget. The Typhoon Eurofighter is so highly specified that we only need that level of sophistication for a war against another major European power or the United States. What is the point of that? And what are we going to do with those aircraft carriers? Do we really still want to be able to fight major wars thousands of miles from home? The truth is, we cannot afford to.
As an Ambassador I was always amused to see on the recruitment ads that I earnt less than the average manager of a local government leisure centre. Those who remember the comedy show “The Brittas Empire” may be amazed to realise that Mr Brittas would likely be on £90,000 a year plus car, relocation expenses etc.
Almost the only aspect of local government which is media interesting enough to come under harsh scrutiny is child protection services. The awful faults there – top-heavy management, bureaucracy stifling efficient function, lots of people with no identifiable purpose, too few people at the sharp end, of too low standard and not allowed to use initiative – are actually repeated in every local government function.
I would start by making redundant everybody in local government who has either of the words “Director” or “Officer” in their title. That would save hundreds of billions of public money, while in three weeks everything would be working perfectly well again. I would then reorganise local government so that it received no money at all from central government, and had power to raise its own revenue from local income tax.
I am pleased at the overwhelming public support for the imposition of the higher rate of income tax. There is plainly a belief in social justice among the population which politicians, whose parties are funded by the rich and who are chasing company directorships before or after retirement, have been ignoring. The Sunday Times rich list is published today. This is a good time to confiscate unearned wealth. Let’s start by taking away the completely unearned £6.5 billion from the Duke of Westminster.
I am worried about the revelation by the Independent that David Cameron went on a freebie to South Africa paid for by a pro-apartheid regime lobby group. I know people can change, but only the most hardline of Thatcherites would ever have considered doing that in the 1980s, and anyone who could not clearly perceive the evil of apartheid has a deficient moral sense.