Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Andrew Marr listened to Gordon Brown.

Mrs Rigby didn't watch the Andrew Marr/Gordon Brown interview but she read a few reports and found the transcript here - The Andrew Marr Show

The transcript doesn't show the body language, it doesn't fully show the interruptions and, of course, it doesn't show the intonation either. It doesn't need to, the words are enough to get Mrs R into a flap. She could write pages, but will be strict with herself.

She noticed that Mr Brown used those
little comparisons again, imitating St Francis. He said

Where there is wrongdoing, it will be exposed.
Where people need to be punished, they will be punished.
Where repayment needs to be made, it will be made.
Mrs R doesn't believe him one little bit. These are empty words.

He was, of course, talking about MP expenses. If he believes he's punished wrongdoers then he must have done it in secret because Hazel Blears is still there, Jacqui Smith is still there, Alistair Darling is still there and so are Balls/Cooper, three-house Hoon and the rest of the sleazy crew.

Punishment doesn't happen outside government either. Criminals are wandering the streets knowing they're untouchable because they're too nasty or too minority-group to be challenged. It's the normally law-abiding, ordinary folk who feel the wrath of this government's target-driven agenda.

He said :

In a free society, open information and open society is the key to a proper democracy being accountable. I've always supported that.
As Old Holborn pointed out last week, Labour policies have ensured that we are now listed 5th in the world's "Most Electronic Police States", with China, North Korea, Belarus and Russia pipping us to the post. Even the BBC has articles saying UK is sliding unwittingly into a Police State. Ex-MI5 people say the same, so it must be pretty bad.

Mrs R certainly doesn't feel any safer knowing her every move is being monitored and recorded. She wasn't in the least reassured to count at least 7 CCTV cameras pointing at the railway ticket queue at Gatwick Airport. She didn't feel less at risk whilst having to stand in front of a camera after checking in for a flight, nor when she had to take off her shoes and walk barefoot on filthy carpets - she just felt vulnerable, that she was being monitored, checked and recorded for no particular reason other than because they said so. This sort of thing makes the hairs on the back of Mrs R's neck prickle. It's creepy, and it isn't nice to be presumed capable of doing something nasty.

Mrs R can't imagine the people whose planning objections have been rejected, and who have been threatened with prosecution for making racist statements, believe they live in a democracy - where all views are taken into account.

Mrs Rigby doesn't believe the mother who is facing prosecution for trying to get her child into a good school thinks she lives in either an "open society" or a "proper democracy".
Mrs R wonders if Mr Brown knows what those word means.

As for "open information" - he was joking, surely!

Is this the same "open information", enabled by Freedom of Information legislation, from which government exempted itself - whilst at the same time writing new laws that pass onto the statute books tucked away in Statutory Instruments instead of being subjected to the proper scrutiny of Parliamentary debate?

This is a government of list makers, of data collectors and bean counters. Mrs R doesn't think much of the information is of use to anybody other than a statistician, there is too much of it and it's held in too many separate places. But, the law enforcers will be able to use it to instantly punish wrongdoing. Ordinary people can't say, "Sorry, it was a mistake, I messed up," as can MPs with their financial claims.

Ordinary people will soon need to :-
* fill in lengthy forms to be able to travel to the Isle of Wight;
* hand over their most personal and intimate information to an un-named individual before being allowed to leave the country to travel overseas;
* have to pay a fixed penalty fine and provide personal details to a badge-wearing park keeper who didn't like the way they took a picture of some trees, because kids might be playing somewhere nearby.

Thanks to this government ordinary people can be found guilty, and summarily punished, on the say-so of a single individual and without benefit of judge and jury.

Mr Brown mentioned political reform.

Mrs R would welcome political reform - reform that ensures that those who make the laws are not allowed to set themselves above the law.

Mr Brown says he was,

brought up in a household where integrity and telling the truth and doing everything honestly was what really mattered.
Well, gosh! So were both Mr and Mrs Rigby, and so have the Rigby children. Look where it's got them!

Never-been-in-trouble Mr Rigby Junior has, for the privilege of working hard, been given a lovely set of undergraduate loans that will total at least £21,000, plus interest, after three years - not allowing for books, stationary, travel costs etc..

This wonderfully benevolent government will soon let the English Universities charge even more,
just in time for Junior Miss Rigby to pay the bills - whilst students in Scotland will continue to get free higher education. It seems remarkably like academic apartheid and conditioning that personal debt is normal.

Everything the Rigby family touches is taxed, and taxed at least once, but with little to show for it.
* The road outside Rigby house is potholed, but the council won't look at them without being sent exact measurements.
* We Rigbys have never had a new car, so won't hand in our old bangers.
* Draughty old Rigby house doesn't qualify for cheap insulation, so the Rigbys wear thick jumpers and feel guilty for failing to conserve energy.
* Rigby's recycle, but their rubbish will be weighed in case there's too much.
* Rigby's council taxes are used elsewhere in the country (read here and here) where wage-earners are apparently less well-off.
* Rigby children (just the two) have never been eligible for any state support to help them with schooling/uniform/books/transport.
* Senior Rigbys' pension provision is terrifyingly low, but there'll be no chance of them borrowing their way out of trouble, and printing money for private use is illegal.

We Rigbys have been honest, have shown integrity.

Mr Brown refers to his "Presbyterian Conscience."

Blair found God after he'd resigned, and after carelessly shredding his expenses receipts. He does God so well that he has his own Faith Foundation, and reckons he can advise the Pope how to sort out Roman Catholicism.

Derek Draper was recently reported as being a practicing Christian. Pah! He didn't have much morality when he was manipulating words to make it look as if he'd attended a top university, nor when he was playing around with nasty emails.

In Mrs R's experience no God likes their religion being used as a smokescreen.

For these people, including Mr Brown, to have so conveniently found religion, and Christianity, at a time when ordinary British people are losing their jobs for offering up a prayer or wearing a crucifix is, she thinks a little bizarre and amazingly convenient timing which will perhaps help endear them to our more Catholic neighbours in Europe - which is where they may be looking for their next job.

Mrs R is, sadly, a cynic.

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