Whitehall Plays ‘Pass the Parcel’ with 1st Round of Cuts and Job Losses

The most obvious thing about today’s £6.2bn worth of cuts is the degree to which Whitehall departments have successfully ‘passed the parcel’ onto other parts of public services: local and devolved government, quangos, universities, private sector contractors and suppliers, and others will take the bulk of the pain. Continue reading

Who guards The Guardian?

The Guardian is running with the ‘Labour’s spending spree’ story for all its worth, but no-one seems to be asking some rather obvious questions.

First, the story alleges that an unusually high number of  Whitehall ‘accounting officers’ (usually permanent secretaries) lodged formal objections to spending decisions in the last year of the Labour government. So much appears to be the, rather thin, factual basis of the story. Continue reading

Office for Budget Responsibility – major reform or gimmick?

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is being touted as a really big reform to how the government ‘does’ fiscal policy. Essentially, the claim is that fiscal forecasting will be outsourced to the OBR which will be independent and therefore free of political interference. How does this claim stack up? Continue reading

Cuts – you’ll have to ‘watch this space’ quite a bit longer…

A lot of media analysts and city commentators have been loosely talking about the forthcoming Budget ‘spelling out the cuts’ that were so obviously absent from the election campaign. It won’t.

David Cameron has just confirmed in an interview on the Andrew Marr show that the Budget will only spell out the spending envelope for the whole of government for the next three years (April 2011 to March 2014). It will not contain any details of Departmental Expenditure Limits (DELs) – that will have to wait until the Spending Review in the Autumn. Continue reading

The New Politics: from ‘wars of position’ to ‘wars of manoeuvre’?

Are we entering a new era of British politics? All the signs are that we are. The Big Battalions of the post-WWII political wars of position have shrunk – ironically it was the Thatcherite reforms of the 1980s that shattered both the historic coalitions that the Conservatives and Labour represented. Continue reading

Gerry Mander MP is back in the House

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again

The Who’s lyrics seem especially aposite as the “new politics” starts off by resorting to some very old, 19th century, politics – rigging electoral and political systems to suit those in power. Continue reading