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)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Mrs Rigby is one year old today.

Her first blog post was about money and how the government viewed taxation income as 'their money' rather than it being public money. Their profligate spending helped take this country into recession, although they preferred to call it a 'downturn' or a 'credit crunch' and blamed it on the naughty Americans. They tried to make things better by devaluing sterling by printing more money, which they used to buy government bonds, and tried to hide some of their spending 'off books' in PFI deals with big business.

During the past year the country has seen a lot of strange new things happen, a lot of 'firsts' for Mrs Rigby.

An MP was arrested for 'leaking' memos and Police were allowed to search his offices within Westminster without producing a search warrant. The Speaker resigned amidst a mess of media coverage about this incident and the great hoo-ha about MP's expenses, and their blatant abuse of the system. Some of those MPs, ex-MPs, were taken to trial, others resigned with their pensions intact, some were elevated to the Lords.

During the last winter we saw the government take salt stocks from careful councils and give it to those who had none - it was, they said, the right thing to do - socialism at its' best, and a policy that parallels Mr Brown's frequent claims that it is right to force the hard-working and the successful pay for those who aren't, or who can't be bothered to take responsibility for their actions. There was no help though for the villagers of Cow Ark, who were told to rely on their 'community spirit' for food and fuel when their village was cut off by snow drifts for a fortnight.

We have seen a financial money-go-round, with the state giving huge sums of funding to the Unions and TUC, for development of various sorts. The Unions kindly donated millions to the Labour Party.

We have heard a Prime Minister tell lies to both an enquiry and parliament. He lied about levels of military funding, and his predecessor admitted to being economical with the truth regarding the invasion of Iraq.

This year Britain has seen held its' first secret trial - not a trial of evil terrorists, but of thieves. Here, in Britain, home of the Magna Carta, it is possible to be taken from your home by the Police, and kept in custody for up to 28 days without being told why, and it's possible to be taken to trial without knowing the evidence against you if the authorities decide it's against national interest.

We had a long drawn out pre-election campaign, with the incumbent government delaying the announcement until the very last minute - having toured the country electioneering 'fact-finding' at the taxpayers' expense. But it didn't work, they were beaten into second place - and the incoming government will have to try to pick up the shattered remains of a broken economy and a country on its' knees.

The final financial deal of the outgoing government was to pledge aid to Greece - money Britain will have to either borrow or print, and yesterday we saw the final political stitch-up.

Number 10 leaked news of Mr Brown's visit to the Palace, giving enough time for a demonstrators to gather at Downing Street. Mr Brown's timing was careful - he knew full well that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats had reached a consensus, he knew scheduled meetings were yet to take place, so it is he who deliberately forced Mr Cameron into office.

And now we have a coalition government. It's a poisoned chalice, already derided in Scotland as being unfair. But sympathy will be a long time coming, because some Scottish MPs did their country few favours by helping push through unpopular, English-only, legislation.

Perhaps it is time for Scotland to secede the Union? If so, it may well be the beginning of the end of a much larger, newer, union whose dissolution would take many years to unpick and unravel. So let's simply look at what the next year may bring.

That unpronounceable Icelandic volcano will not be our friend, nor will the chill easterly winds, and it's likely we will have a cool summer followed by a bitterly cold winter that will overstretch our decaying energy generating system, leading to disrupted supplies and possibly extended power cuts.

There will probably be public sector job losses and/or pay cuts, because the economy cannot continue to spend so much on paper-pushers and managers, or those too lazy to earn their keep. The 'left' has already organised the protests and so will take to the streets, and will likely do so with or without police consent.

Let's hope the incoming government takes action to stop terrifying nonsense such as this,
"There was a woman in the water shouting for help. There was somebody throwing lifebelts to her, but she couldn't get to them.

"The police were holding people back from the edge of the bridge. It became apparent nobody was doing anything else. She was getting lower and lower in the water.'

"We realised we were watching someone drown."
A police spokesman said: "A 37-year old woman jumped into the Clyde and was rescued by a member of the public prior to the arrival of the emergency services.

"As a matter of procedure it’s not the responsibility of the police to go in the water, it’s the Fire and Rescue service."
We Brits should be proud of, and able to rely on, our public servants - of whatever political hue and in whatever discipline.

Those whose job is to help us should never be allowed to merely follow paper rules and procedures. Nor should they ever be allowed to be complacent observers during a crisis, expecting 'somebody else' to come along and sort out a problem. They should be prepared to risk all, if need be, to fix a bad situation - even if it means their career prospects might be damaged, or perhaps their own lives endangered. That is called bravery - anything else is contemptuous self-preservation, and is something we've had enough of.

We Brits should not be scared our public servants will let us down if, and when, we rather desperately need them to do the right, and decent, thing.

And that is the glimmer of hope the Cameron Clegg coalition brings to this country. These men were deliberately put on the spot yesterday, yet did not call in the spinners or unelected spokesmen to make excuses in advance. They appear to have made the best of a bad deal and seem to have hit the ground running. Let's hope that they will not choose to simply follow old rules or be mere observers during a crisis.


JuliaM said...

Happy blogiversary! ;)

The Big Dollop said...

Mrs R

I too would like to wish you a happy 1st blogivesary(?)

I agree with your anology that suring the course of the next 12 months or so the country (the uk)will indeed be subject to some interesting times.


John R said...

Are we seeing the first green shoots of decency perhaps?

Mrs Rigby said...

@ JuliaM - thanks.

@ TBD - Interesting times indeed, historically important too.

@ John R - Watching the videos of today's press conference it was good to hear the word 'responsibility', which takes time to nurture. Will they have that time?