Saturday 18 April 2009

Gesture Politics Gone Mad

Writing about politics is usually the kiss of death for any writer or journalist unless they are part of the Westminster Village elite but I just can't help myself.

I received a letter from Canterbury City Council last week, advising me of the new government scheme to offset any future business rate increases over two years. There were 4 sides of A4 to explain the radical new initiative to help small business beat the recession. The bottom line was that no-one would know how this was going to work until July, when they would write to me again.

With a thinly veiled sigh of exasperation, the notes pointed out that with negative inflation forecast for the next year, any pressure on business rates would be downward rather than upward anyway.

"Hang on.." I thought, "this fabulous government initiative that requires four pages to explain it actually means that a potential increase in business rates, that probably will not happen anyway, can be offset over two years?".

This is clearly another example of those clapped out government apparatchik announcing any new initiative that might sound vaguely constructive or positive when announced with a weary fanfare on the TV and Radio news.

They should have a special New Labour Good Ideas Competition whch would be a variation on those Blue Peter Competitions we remember so fondly from saner times -just think of any policy or initiative that stupid people will think is designed to help them but in fact only makes the government look good.

Answers on a postcard to Mr G Brown, 10 Downing Street, etc etc. We could even invite Valerie Singleton or John Noakes to draw the winning entry.

I can hear John's distinctive tone now "And the winner is Ed Balls from London again Val..get down Shep"

After a few seconds, even stupid people will realise that the latest idea is another pointless policy announcement designed to make the government look good. But by then they will have another competition winning idea to announce.

Appearance is the new reality and generations of future taxpayers will pay for the current governments vanity and short term poll ratings.

I am eagerly waiting the new government initiative to reduce rainfall in the summer to help those depressed due to the (global and nothing to with G Brown and friends) recession.

Actually that's not such a bad idea.