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)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Politicans and promises.

Mrs Rigby followed the trail from the Coffee House to a Bagehot's piece in the Economist
here where he writes about the working relationship between Brown and Mandelson. Quite a few more comments have been left in Coffee House, so Mrs R thinks it's worth looking at both sites.

The article started Mrs R thinking about Mandelson and Brown, stuff from history too, hence this somewhat contorted ramble.

Mrs R admits she isn't a fan of Mandelson, she isn't sure he trusts him with the power he has acquired, and isn't entirely sure he's actually working for Britain's best interests because he seems to be selling off what's left in our increasingly empty cupboard as quickly as possible - and seems to be trying to do it without anybody noticing, and to people who might not, in future, do what's best for this country. Think of that truck company for example, the one owned by a Russian chap that's just closed its' doors and made loads of people redundant.

Sometimes it's hard for mere mortals like Mrs Rigby to know what's going on. She sometimes wonders if people like Brown and Mandelson intend to confuse her, so she can't make a fuss - and if she did they'd tell her she was being silly, having senior moments or something equally trite.

Mrs R remembers reading that the Royal Mail sell-off was on hold, she thought it was to satisfy the unions and Labour rebels who don't like the idea. That was on 8th June, but on 11th June they say it's going ahead!

Did Mandelson really say we want to join the Euro? It says so here in the Express, and those who've left comments aren't exactly delighted. It's completely the opposite from what he said last year! Mrs R doesn't want to join the Euro, even though it's a bit of a chore to change money for a holiday. She's more than happy with her pounds and pennies, but she doesn't for a moment imagine anybody wants her opinion, least of all Mandeson!

Mrs Rigby fondly remembers the days when she voted for people, some of whom went off to Parliament to run this country. Those were the days when the Parliamentarians who sat on committees had a mandate from the electorate. Those were the times when MPs seemed to try to do their best for everybody, not just for those who voted for them. Those were the times when they weren't vindictive and petty-minded towards constituencies that elected an opposition MP - because they knew there were people from their own political party in every part of the country, even though in some areas they were in a minority.

She remembers when the Lords stayed in the Lords and did whatever did there in their worn out tweeds - when they used their wisdom gained from age, experience and a jolly good education to act as a last line of defence for us plebs, protecting us to some extent from silly, ill-conceived legislation. Recently though, and very suddenly, it's all turned topsy turvy and Mr Brown has seemed to merge the two Houses. Maybe that'll be how he "modernises" the Lords in the end, removing their power by absorption!

Anyhow, it looks as if Mandelson-the-unelected says we should go into the Euro, he says the Royal Mail sell-off will go ahead. Because he hasn't been elected Mrs R wonders who told him it's a good idea, and who has told him that these things are good for the country. She knows his ideas can't be challenged in Parliament because he isn't allowed to go and speak in there - because he hasn't been elected. So, he'll carry on making his decisions behind closed doors, in private rooms, in committees comprising even more politically sympathetic and unelected Lords - none of whom are answerable to the electorate. Neat trick really, it vaguely reminds Mrs R of the Gavestons and Despensers, and the power they and their chums had all those years ago!

We're getting conditioned to empty promises. We're getting used to hearing them say one thing - to keep us happy - and then change their minds. It's a bit like children promising to be good so they can get some sweeties. Once they've had the sweets they forget their promise, and the sugar fix makes them hyperactively revolting!

Mrs Rigby remembers an important little promise, made in an election manifesto, that there would be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty/Constitution. But, instead of getting one our Prime Minister went over there, managed to turn up late and signed it on our behalf when he thought nobody else was looking.

Mrs R. was deeply ashamed that day, to be represented by somebody who couldn't be bothered to keep to a schedule, even though it was to do something she didn't want to happen. Mrs R thinks Mr Brown has never fully understood that he represents everybody in this country, including those who didn't vote for him.

Mrs Rigby is looking forward to the next election. She's fairly confident there will be one within the next twelve months, although there have been times when she's been worried that, somehow, they'd mess things up so much that they could avoid it altogether. Elections are the only time Mrs R and her family and friends are allowed to have their say in what happens to their country so she just hopes, and prays, that whoever gets into power remembers to keep their electoral promises, and remembers to take some sharp scissors to the puppet master's strings.

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