When, on the last day of election campaigning, David Cameron literally rolled his sleeves up to show that he was prepared to “roll his sleeves up”, a nation heaved a sigh of relief that the expression for getting stuck into a job isn’t “get your arse out”. The image was clear though: here was a government-in-waiting desperate to fix the mess they’d inherited. Hell, Cameron even stayed up on the final night of the campaign. Yes, here was a government that was prepared to hit the ground sleeping.
And they certainly haven’t hung about. Cuts, cuts, cuts (spelt, as has been pointed out, with an * in the middle of the word). Everything had to be cut. We now have a government that will guarantee to reduce the number of the beast to 555 by 2015. And all these cuts are to be done without affecting “frontline services”. If there’d been a ConDem coalition in Sparta, the film they made recently would have been called “170, with the rest made up of volunteers from the Big Society” and I’m pretty sure the frontline services of keeping the largest army ever assembled in the ancient world out of Greece would have been severely compromised. Although the Spartans would have had an aircraft carrier. Just no aircraft.
That’s the problem with this government. Everything’s done on the hoof (including, give them a year or so, foxhunting) with the only imperative being to save money. It’s just not thought through. The Education Secretary alone has come up with some amazing initiatives to create over 700 privately run apologies and U-turns. Police numbers are to be cut (“tough on crime, tough on the fighters of crime”) but don’t worry, the shortfall will be offset by an increase in superheroes such as Batman. Plus they’ll be more imaginative policing initiatives, such as: don’t kettle the students, just declare the demo a “lecture” and they’ll leg it out of there immediately.
Making policy on the hoof means you end up making a right horse of it, which I know isn’t a metaphor but it should be. We keep on seeing that. Whether it’s on their attempt to get rid of NHSDirect and replace it with NHSPleaseHoldYourCallIsImportantToUs, or the plan to end funding for school sports (“It’s not the winning that counts, it’s the not taking part”), or their reversal on Bookstart, which will now continue but with every new-born getting a picture book featuring a lovable character called U-Turn (I love the one “U-Turn Shows He’s Not A Sign Of Weakness”. Hilarious). In truth, the only thing this government looks set to increase in real terms is indecision.
Of course the deficit has to be cut. After all, it must cost billions just to pay Andy Coulson’s phone bill. And yes, yes, it’s “all Labour’s fault” (didn’t we realise that, under Labour, Jay-Z’s problems had risen to 135 including at least three bitches?). But let’s cut the deficit-bitch carefully and considerately. Maybe I’m just reeling because I have a couple of ladies I like to describe as “friends with benefits” who, because I’m a higher rate tax payer, will now just have to be friends. But I just can’t countenance a government that will soon amend the rules of Monopoly so you no longer get £200 when you pass go, though the banker can pay themselves a massive bonus every turn. Lets force these bankers to at least express their bonus in NHS terms (“I got me a lovely 1500-dialysis-machine bonus this year”) and start thinking about people not just money otherwise the poor will just get poorer and Philip Green will get richer.
Vive la Révolution! *kettles self*