I have a vivid memory from when I was a kid growing up in the late fifties; all the women in the village, and the surrounding villages for that matter, were in a panic because the price of bread, milk or some other staple food was increasing by a half penny or a penny per item.
The repercussions were enormous and they engendered all kinds of responses as a result. The women banded together to form knitting and sewing circles to recycle worn out clothes, the men went begging to the bosses for any overtime down the pit, we all went searching the local woods for kindling and some of the worse off were reduced to picking the slag heaps for little pieces of coal to keep warm, which was illegal.
As a very last resort, food rations had to be cut and luxuries such as the Friday bottle of pop and cream cake was changed to every other Friday before being dropped altogether. (This is probably why its stuck in my mind all these years). Similarly, plans for new spending were postponed then dropped altogether; no new shoes for school, no new clothes for anyone at all.
At this moment in time, the nation is being told that the whole country is broke because the last government spent all the money and the new government is being forced to make economies in order to ward off bankruptcy and to deal with an unsustainable national debt.
When the fog of spin, deceit and outright lies have cleared, the economies they are referring to amount to a small decrease in the rise in spending with no decrease at all in the national debt which will be at record levels when the next election comes around in 2015.
Unlike the ladies in the village, the lack of money has not altered the spending habits of the political class at all, they carry on regardless, with impunity and without a care for the damage they are doing to future generations.
The whole disaster began with Phony Tony Blair and his sidekick Gordon Brown. When they were booted out of office their irresponsible ways were carried on by the current 'progressive' Liberal- Conservative coalition led by a PR Executive from the defunct Carlton Television company, David Cameron.
In addition to doubling foreign aid to tyrannies abroad to $22 billion, they are still wasting billions on health tourism, welfare benefits for those that have not paid in and expenses for themselves. Then there is $110 billion in unearned tax credits and $96,000,000 per day to the EU bureaucrats but I digress.
The inexperience of these politicians shines like a beacon even on a sunny day. Only politicians could order two aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy that are unable to use aircraft. If that's not bad enough the costs have doubled and the delivery date put back yet again. These two carriers will not be fully functional until 2020.
The contract was agreed in 2007 at a cost of $5.8 billion; which has risen to $9.9 billion today. This price does not include the 48 aircraft which aren't going to be cheap. Thirteen years will have elapsed and an extra $4.1 billion will have been spent before the navy gets its carriers. The Royal Navy currently has a single aircraft carrier which itself cannot deploy strike aircraft and uses helicopters only.
If the aircraft carrier debacle wasn't bad enough then the NHS computer disaster not only brings their incompetence to the fore, it also demonstrates their total lack of respect for the taxpayers and their hard earned money.
The new NHS computer system was going to revolutionise health care and save the taxpayer money. If the taxpayer was under the impression they would get better health care and a tax rebate then they are not paying attention, nor are they looking at the historical record of politicians with regard to big capital projects.
The contract was commissioned in 2002 at a cost of $10.2 billion. It is, or has been, abandoned some eleven years later at a cost of $20.3 billion and rising. This failed system cost more than the Iraq military campaign.
One of biggest scandals in the history of national finances is the Public Private Initiatives (PPI's) These PPI's are an accounting trick used by politicians to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayers money without it appearing on the balance sheet; they really are a total disaster for the nation and generations yet unborn, who will be left to pick up the bill. The sheer size of this disaster has to be read to be believed but to give an idea of scale, the following are a couple of examples. A Coventry Hospital planned a $48,000,000 refurbishment but after government arm twisting they accepted a complete rebuild costing an eye watering $656,000,000.
Widening the M25 motorway went from a $767,800,000 project to an $8 billion project under PPI. In total the government agreed $108 billion of PPI contracts in 2007 but are committed to paying a staggering $427.2 billion over the lifetime of the contracts.
One would think that the government would have learned their lesson, and more to the point, one would have thought that people would have learned not to trust these proven incompetents with their hard earned money. Unfortunately this is not so.
The government wants to spend a shedload of taxpayers money on a High Speed railway link between London and Birmingham. These career politicians and their spin doctors are claiming that the project itself, together with the decrease in travel time of fifteen minutes (15 minutes), will rejuvenate the entire economy of Northern England and decrease inequality with Southern England.
The original estimate in 2010 was for $52.8 billion. The current estimate stands at $68.8 billion and experts are the forecasting a final costs of $128 billion. The question for the people is.. who do you trust, the politicians or the experts?
These are staggering sums of money for the politicians and their bureaucrats to be spending, especially with their record of incompetence and mismanagement.
It is comforting to know that the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has promised that the project will be delivered on time and under budget. That comfort however must be tempered with the knowledge that Alexander is a professional politician from the Public Relations world.
In line with the current British political leadership, Alexander, completed the mandatory Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at Oxford University. From there he became press secretary for the Scottish Liberals, then a Public Relations wallah for a pro European Union pressure group, finally becoming the Head of Communications for the Cairngorms Nation Park in Scotland before entering Parliament.
He has no business experience whatsoever or any experience at all outside of public relations and party politics. He has also not committed himself to be held responsible if the project is not delivered on time or under the $68 billion budget. There will be no jail time for Alexander because politicians are never held accountable or made to pay the price for their incompetence.
While politicians continue to waste hundreds of billions of taxpayers money, bankrupting the country and committing future generations to high taxation to pay off the unsustainable debt that they have created, the Director of Public Prosecutions is calling for bigger prison sentences for welfare benefit cheats.
The government are spinning that falsely claiming welfare benefits is not a victimless crime and the
$3 billion embezzled last year is money that could have been spent on essential services. I would suggest that politicians and bureaucrats be held accountable for the billions they waste year after year and be jailed accordingly then banned from holding public office for life.