Is the UK Government really looking after our interests or are they a bunch of ambitious self-serving ex-public schoolboys?

Another true story? This was written in December 2012

I used to read Charles Dickens' books and in one of these Mr Micawber said something along the lines… Income £20… expenditure £19/19/6d bliss… expenditure £20/0/6d misery.
In a nutshell this makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately perfect sense is something that MPs, especially Chancellors of the Exchequer do not possess.
Nowadays we have the effects of something called "The Budget" foisted on us twice a year. It used to be once a year, but things started to get out of control and book balancing was needed more frequently.
What is a "Budget"?
In the same way as Mr Micawber knew that one must not spend more than we earn, the Government knows likewise.
Unfortunately the Government, whether it be the Ruling Party or the Opposition, choose to ignore the basic principles of a budget.

Why is this?
The proper way to work out a budget is to determine the amount one is going to spend, then work out how to raise enough cash to cover this. To be prudent one should include a contingency so that if expenditure is a bit higher than planned there's enough left in the kitty to pay the extra.
This is pretty straightforward isn't it, and the Chancellor should be able to understand the principles?
No.. it isn't straightforward at all because in order to pay for expenditure we need to pay taxes. If a Government increased taxes to actually cover expenditure they would rapidly become an ex-Government.

This is the problem with a democracy. Given the choice between paying 20 pence in the pound income tax or say 25 pence, what would you choose?
It's a no-brainer.
The Ruling party cannot afford to balance the books like Mr Micawber, because The Opposition will say "rubbish, we can run the country without raising income tax".
The Ruling Party and Opposition will shortly afterwards swop places until the same thing happens and they swap back again.

Meanwhile, what happens to the job of balancing the books?
The Ruling Party will borrow money to cover the shortfall.
As time progresses, more and more money is borrowed and the country gets deeper into the mire. As Mr Micawber said; "misery".

What I've said above is quite true. One must however figure out some strange things.

The Ruling Party under Mrs Thatcher stayed in power for ages.

Why didn't they switch over and become the opposition after four or five years?
The answer is that someone had the bright idea of making money on the side. Instead of raising all the cash they needed from just taxation they decided to sell off the family silver.
What "family silver"?

Lots of things. Our railways, our buses, our electricity, our gas, our oil, our radio waves, our telephones, our water and lots more ….
Instead of paying just income tax we now pay a little extra for electricity, gas, travelling, phoning, water etc etc etc
These things can be bundled together as stealth taxes.
There's loads more hit by stealth tax as well. The cost of a visit to the local pub and the local shop (if you still have one).

All well and good, but unfortunately the country has long run out of family silver and more and more esoteric things are having to be dreamt up to keep the budget straight.
Take television for example. Do away with analogue TV. Introduce digital TV and sell off any spare radio spectrum resulting from the change. Do away with radio as well…
This change to digital transmission was wonderful. Manufacturers with a totally saturated analogue market could now develop huge new ranges of digital equipment with which to re-flood the market.

Competition and progress will create more and more advanced designs and the Ruling Party are already planning to exploit this and sell off even more radio spectrum…

 

Not too long ago a chap called Mr Brown, strapped for cash sold off a load of our gold reserves. Even more valuable than our family silver! Unfortunately he sold the stuff at a bargain basement price… but that's another story.
Oh, yes… there's also the raid on pension funds, carried out by the same chap, that resulted in lots of pensioners losing their pensions.

 

I heard a theory a few years ago. It seemed to make sense. Something along these lines... the only threat to us in the Ruling Class is from educated plebs.

Where do educated plebs come from? Why, grammar schools of course.

Why don't we close down grammar schools then and stick all pleb children in comprehensive schools?

That way it'll be pretty rare for any pleb children to become properly educated like us.

That should put a stop to people like John Major or Maggie to ever pose a threat again.

We'll crack on that comprehensive schools are really super places and real seats of learning.

We'll lower standards so that plebs will think their kids are ever so clever while we really know that they're just passing dead easy exams.

They'll never be as clever as us old Etonians.

Of course this is exactly what happened.

Maybe a bit of fine tuning if the plebs got restless.

Why not call some comprehensives "Academies".

That sounds really good, and we'll keep lowering standards so that plebs think the new schools are fantastic.

In the latest government (2013) I hear that recruitment is now restricted to ex-public schoolboys.

 

Finally. Government weazel words.

How can the prime minister hoodwink people into thinking he and his chancellor crony are doing really well?

Easy, just dream up a way of saying things in such a way that people think the opposite of the truth.

One way is to use statistics. Some knowledgable people refer to statistics as "damned lies" as figures can be manipulated to turn horror stories into really good news.

Another way is to use a word that sounds similar but has a different meaning.

Take for example "debt".

Debt is what we owe other people. Britains debt mountain is growing year on year at an almost constant rate.

Hang on though. The Prime Minister keeps telling us he's reducing the deficit.

Isn't debt and deficit the same thing?

The clue to government half truths is the rate at which debt is rising.

If debt continued to rise in a straight line the deficit would be unchanging and debt would be increasing steadily.

However, if the figure for annual debt (that's the extra amount for just this year) is less than it was for last year one would say the deficit has fallen.

Recently the Prime Minister slipped up and told everyone that Britains debt was falling.

He got confused and used the wrong word. "Debt" rather than "Deficit".

Britain's national debt is rising and it's massively bigger than it was when the Opposition were in control.

To confuse the electorate the government now refer to deficit and they speak of this in rosy terms.

Every year annual government expenditure minus annual income equals the annual deficit.

If we return to the original statement by Mr Micawber, the position scaled down is this.

Income £20. Expenditure £34. That explains why we should be miserable.

We've reduced the deficit by 30% over 3 years really means Income is £20 and expenditure is about £32.60p.

The Prime Minister said recently he had reduced the National Debt by 30%.

The debt is currently around £1,200,000,000,000.

A 30% reduction would be £360,000,000,000 making the debt £840,000,000,000

In fact the debt is on track to rise to £1,400,000,000,000

The total error is therefore £560,000,000,000

Is this the biggest numerical error (or fib) a government spokesman has ever made?

Incidentally.. what about the term "billion"? When I was at infants school (that was nearly 70 years ago) we were taught that a billion was a million million. Nowadays a billion seems to have shrunk quite a lot... in fact by a thousand times. Maybe a thousand million sounded way too much to decribe anything (especially debt) so a billion was redefined. Unfortunately National Debt has actually grown to more than a real billion... this is now called a "Trillion". At the same infants school a trillion was a billion billion. Not any more...

 

 

That's all for now.. read another story? Try Highly implausible story number 17