Lord make me chaste, but not yet

The central message of yesterday’s PBR was that we need to put the national finances in order, but not quite yet – in fact not for quite a long time. That does not mean there will not be severe cuts in public spending – there will be. It’s just that they will be severe rather than apocalyptic. With health, education and policing protected other areas will be hit all the harder. Local government especially will probably face between 15-20% cumulative cuts over the next four years. Continue reading

The Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything? It’s 43.

According to the supercomputer Deep Thought the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything was 42 (in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).

It turns out however that this number may be subject to localised quantum relativity effects – specifically on an insignificant island off the north-west coast of Europe, a continent on a small blue planet in an unfashionable part of the galaxy. Here, the number is 43, rounded up – well actually 42.51, but it keeps wobbling around all the time and is subject to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. So usually, most of the time, its sort of around 43. Ish. Continue reading

HELP!

No, not the Beetles hit, but the flavour of many of the meetings I’ve been attending in recent weeks and will be in the next few weeks.

First was a Guardian ‘roundtable’; this was followed by evidence I was asked to give to the Northern Ireland Assembly Finance Committee; another roundtable, this time organised by Public Finance magazine, last week; this week it is the Public Administration Select Committee in Westminster; and the following week it’s a Demos/PwC seminar. Continue reading