Am I dreaming, or were we all told that the massive security cost to the taxpayer of the royal wedding back in April would be rewarded many times over by the shot in the arm (over half a million) that it would give to the “British” (for which read south of England) economy? Nope, I checked back, and it seems we were, in fact, told just that. So why is Gideon (Call me George) using his chums’ wedding as an excuse for the appalling mess he is making of running the financial affairs of the UK with growth figures a derisory fraction of comparable countries?
I was moved by the quiet demonstration of solidarity all over Norway in the wake of the atrocities in Oslo and on Utoeya. In Oslo alone, from a population of around half a million, it was reckoned that over 150,000 people took the streets carrying flowers to demonstrate that they want no change in the open and democratic society in which they are lucky to live.
I was listening to the 7 o’clock news this morning, wondering if I could doze for just a little longer, when I was shaken awake by Sarah Montague (no, it wasn’t a dream, but she was only on the radio) telling me that the Westminster government wastes vast amounts of money on IT. I could have guessed this, of course. After all they waste vast amounts on most things... but one of the examples they gave was the cost of a normal PC... something you or I could buy for a few hundred pounds from PC World, but which is (despite economies of scale) costing the government over £3,000. Question to Call me George: Why are you taking money away from people who are likely to die of the cold this winter, when you waste £2,500 on every PC you buy?
There seems to have been an extremely unhealthy relationship between News International on one hand and the UK government and its opposition on the other. Cameron, Miliband, Gove, Osborne and Hunt seem to have spent half their waking hours with management of media organisations, and a surprisingly large number of them with News International (and I don’t include in that Michael Gove’s wife who works for NI). I can only imagine that now that Cameron has ordered the statistics for such meetings to be published, the number of contacts will fall dramatically. Or do they intend to make prison visits?
Another government minister is in trouble. Jonathan Djanogly paid £5,000 to a private detective to monitor his constituents following the publication of a Telegraph article about his expenses. Now preliminary inquiries, conducted by the Information Commissioner’s Office, are underway. This is embarrassing given the prime and deputy prime ministers’ condemnation of the practice of “blagging” and his position in the Justice Department, tasked with overseeing changes to legislation regarding the use of private detectives to garner information. Of course Djanogly denies all wrongdoing (don’t they always) but I find it rather suspicious that the detectives’ report was sent to the offices of the law firm where, until recently, he worked (almost like he was trying to hide it), and that the report admit having used subterfuge to obtain the information it contains. Quite apart from the dodgy situation that this leaves a junior justice minister in, it begs the question: why was he spying on his constituents, his employers?