The Curmudgeon


Friday, November 27, 2009


After thirty years of Thatcherism, there is so little left of the public sector to sell off that Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives will be reduced to stiffing the taxpayer over the Government's own buildings. There will also be some cuddly cuts in civil service redundancy payments, since there is very little fun in depriving a chap of his livelihood if you have to give him a large compensation payout when you do it; and departments will be able to bid to run one another's services, rather than wasting time and resources running services for the public. Any banker subjected to Daveybloke's cuddly cuts would undoubtedly respond with threats to turn the economy into a basket case and then set fire to the basket; but those civil servants who remain after Daveybloke's cuddly purge will be placed under "a statutory duty to protect public money", because so much of it will be needed to pay the private landlords who will own all the buildings in Whitehall after Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives have sold them. Doubtless Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives will take the usual relaxed attitude towards ministers with directorships in companies which receive rent from departments which occupy buildings in which those same ministers, mirabile dictu! are responsible for negotiating those same rents. The honours system will be "discreetly used to reward civil servants who dedicate themselves to improving productivity", which on present evidence will largely entail flogging off whatever land and assets they can scrape together in between firing people. Government departments will "become tenants and pay rent, and this would give them incentives to use property more efficiently", much as privatisation has incentivised the efficientisation of the railway companies, the water companies, the energy companies, the benefits agencies and the immigrant disposal services. Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury who presumably plays Dick Cheney to George W Osborne, has announced his attention to announce the need for "a heart and minds agenda" and a "cadre of public sector entrepreneurs"; which sounds a little sinister coming from the British Friends of the Decent Waffen-SS.


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