For a long time the Tories have been waging war on the number of Quangos that the British state appears to need, and so before the election, and indeed since the election, much has been made of the plan to have yet another ‘bonfire of quangos’.
The strange thing about this is that they used pretty much the same words as the Labour government used when they came to power 14 years ago.
I wonder if the Tories stopped for even a second to ask themselves why it was that Labour had made no progress whatsoever in the matter...
Well, either they didn’t or they thought that they were simply cleverer than Labour (an easy mistake to make), for, on taking up his post as a minister at the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude set about the quasi autonomous non-governmental organisations with his hatchet and dust pan and shovel.
No planning, no preparation, just right in there with the axe...
So it must have come as a bit of a blow to the poor old fella when he read the report of a parliamentary committee, with a predominance of Conservatives and chaired by Conservative Bernard Jenkins, which said that the whole thing had been botched and badly managed, and that rather than saving money (Call Me had promised savings of a billion a year), the whole thing was likely to cost money.
The truth is that most of what is done by quangos, is done so because it needs to be done, and it is best not done by Whitehall, directly under the control of politicians. So, in setting light to them, it is necessary to ensure that the essential parts of their work be taken over by others. Effectively many of the changes made by Maudie, amalgamated quangos, or took them back under the wing of a government department (which a few months down the line will mean calls of unfairness, partiality and political interference). Even his own side thing he’s a pratt. Ooooops. Liam Byrne, his shadow, said: "I like a plate of soup at lunchtime", as if anyone cared.
Now, on the subject of pratts, I seem to recall that the then shadow chancellor, Porgy Georgie Osborne was outraged at the bonuses given to bankers under the last regime, after the banks brought the country to its knees. Indeed the deputy prime minister reiterated Mr Osborne’s sentiments as recently as last week.
So it must be pretty embarrassing for both of them that Robert Peston is reporting that the banks will make SMALL reductions in the payments this year, and that much of the bonuses will be paid in shares which cannot be immediately cashed. (This is to encourage longer term strategies where trading is concerned: bankers will, it is hoped be encouraged to think long term, because their shares can go up or down). However, the cunning old sausages have got round that little problem by giving themselves 50% increases in fixed pay... so if the banks do crash again because of their stupidity, the bankers will have most of it stashed in salary. Even less reason to think about the future. "They are looking for some words from us that prove that the negotiations have achieved something," said a senior banker. "I fear however that there may be more spin than substance to what we say."
Well Gideon... remind us, what was it you were going to do? Ooooops
Pics: (1) Maudie, in a government of knobs, he stands out as a real knob. (2) Georgie is getting to be a chunky wee thing now he’s got all the Treasury money as well as his own. (3) Now this is what Dave does best, dressing up in clothes the rest of us just don’t have. (4) Laim Byrne (no spelling error) He’s not relevant to this story, but boy is he spooky. (5) Mr Peston. Do you think he was a singing teacher in another life? (6) When the words disaster and Tories are in a story you can bet that Mad Nad won’t be far away. The poor old thing’s having another yet fling, now that she’s not got her expenses to keep her warm. Well, she's a bit chav isn't she?