Wednesday 15 April 2009

Gordon Brown's "McPoison"

People calling Damian McBride "McPoison" and "McNasty"; complaints about his bullying, unpleasant and unacceptable smear tactics; colleagues calling for him to be sacked. No, not this week - back in October last, when cabinet colleagues called on Gordon Brown to finally sack his famously odious spin-doctor. Gordon Brown resisted - yet again - as he had resisted many such calls over the years after appointing and re-appointing McBride. Even after he was exposed smearing Ruth Kelly, Gordon Brown kept him on. Many predicted it would end in tears.

Now Gordon has reaped what he sowed. Those who live by poison will die by poison - even if it is very slowly. Of course Gordon Brown knew what McBride was like - he had been told many times. He kept him on because the poisonous threats were useful to No. 10. Even after hearing about the latest scandalous emails, Downing Street's first reaction was do downplay them as "juvenile". Still Gordon Brown did not sack McBride; he eventually resigned 24 hours later.

To add insult to injury, the Prime Minister issues letters of non-apology, and makes a great fuss of asking for the special advisors' code of conduct (flagrantly and unambiguously broken by McBride) to be "tightened" - a transparent and meaningless sleight of hand, typical of Mr Brown's 'smoke and mirrors' tactics. What a shamefull mess - with Mr Brown at its centre. The stench will take some time to clear away.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Taxpayers, rise up and revolt!

Today's Sunday Times "Appointments" section features 51 adverts. Of these, 26 (51%) are pure public sector, 11 (22%) are charity, third sector or non-profit organisations. A further 7 are ads for the Sunday Times itself or generic ads from recruitment consultancies - leaving 7 - that is 14% - of all the job ads being from commercial businesses.
Think about that - only one job in seven advertsised in the Sunday Times today - at considerable expense - is a "real" job - in the sense of one that will generate wealth and ultimately fund the public and voluntary sectors.
According to data from Nielsen Media Research, our Government's media spend rose by almost 20% in 2008 to £178.1m, putting the government within spitting distance of P&G, which narrowly retained the title of the UK's biggest advertiser despite cutting spend to £178.7m. In 2009, the Government may become the UK's biggest advertiser, as taxpayers pay to watch ever more ads telling them what to do and what not to do.
Are you seeing a pattern here? It gets worse. A Spectator columnist recently reported that “if [the Chancellor] were to raise VAT to 25 per cent, double corporation tax, close the Foreign Office, cancel all international aid, disband the Army and the police, release all prisoners, close every school and abolish unemployment benefit he would still be unable to close the gulf between what the Government spends and what it raises in taxes”.
Gordon Brown's £5 billion raid on our pensions was the least of it - the outrageous scandal of "PFI" schemes mortaging our children and grandchildren, the spraying of (our) pound notes at doctors and other public-sector workers, the creation of vast numbers of non-jobs in the public sector, the unsustainable gold-plating of public sector pensions, the waste of hundreds of billions on useless and sinister IT databases, the rise in public sector pay while the few jobs in the private sector that must pay for all this are seeing incomes fall - all these are part of the same sorry story: the Government has (I'm sorry but no politer phrase will do) pissed our money away against a wall for too long, and Britain is broke.

UPDATE, 20 Sept 09: Looking at the Sunday Times today, there is not much change; 84% of the job ads are for public sector, education or charity jobs, and only 16% (around 1 in 6) are for wealth-generating jobs.