‘I did maths at school and for one year at university but I don't think I was ever very good at it - and some people would say it shows.’
A decade into his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown stumbles his response to questioning by Jordan Beaumont, 13, on Chorlton High School’s pupil-run television station in 2007. After one year of university level mathematics – and not one day’s professional experience in banking or high finance - Mr Brown was in charge of the nation’s budget.
The bankers grinned as they reached for their calculators. After the 2009 bank bailouts, figures released by the independent Office for National Statistics revealed British debt stood at £2,000,000,000,000 (two trillion).
To close the hole in public spending, the Government borrowed. Because during the fat years, they’d squandered everything…
… including, against Bank of England advice, 395 tons of gold bullion – more than half the British reserves. The price was at a 20-year low ($290 an ounce – today (January 2011) it stands at $1,600 (link - second story)). Instead of releasing a small amount on the market every day, the price was sent spiraling because of his announcement – dealers bid down prices at the 17 pre-announced auctions between 1999 and 2002. Maybe they conspired to set a low price – imagine a seller auctioning five cement mixers and five builders vans park up outside, waiting for the guy to turn up.
‘Hiya Dave, hiya Terry – long time no-see; how'd that double garage go in Surrey? Yeah? Sweet. This geezer's just messaged me, he'll be a bit late. Says he's desperate to see the back of the things; needs room for somethin' else. Car or summat. Maybe we can do the gentleman a favour, get my drift? Let’s agree at about forty quid, yeah? Have a word with the other lads, like. We can save a bomb if we all get our heads together.’
Tory treasury shadow secretary Philip Hammond said it was a ‘staggering display of economic incompetence.’
‘…but I don't think I was ever very good at it - and some people would say it shows.’
Indeed they would, Mr Brown. Where do I sign? But who’s the biggest dunce – you? Or us for voting in a team of idiots? For accepting a system where smarmy lawyers and PR men get to the top? (Cameron was Director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton Communications).
Where hospitals and schools are run by carousel career-politicians, one remit one day, another the next… instead of doctors and heads who have achieved remarkable turn-arounds with failing hospitals and schools? A former Defence Minister shaking hands with army top brass in Helmand looking like Blakey from On the Buses… instead of a top military person? (What must the army chiefs have thought when someone unlikely to have even been in the Army Cadets steps off the chopper?)
Transport – Eddie Stobart.
Agriculture – an ultra-effective farmer.
Trade – Tesco or Asda or Sainsbury’s boss.
Get the pattern? So, onwards with more inept grey suits…
‘Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money. Kind regards - and good luck! Liam.’
Of course there was no money – these people are talentless. Still having to keep our attention on the back row of Mathematics Class 4D, we see the unkempt Liam Byrne, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, sniggering as he scribbles a note to the new teacher on his last day of school. As the New Labour experiment shuddered to a halt, the architects of the financial mess climbed into their shiny new cars and sped away to their smartly refurbished town houses. Hundreds of thousands of traditional Labour voters had been thrown onto the scrapheap during a spending splurge never before seen – leaving us with the biggest deficit in the G20.
And then, as the new government took office – they started criticising Con-Dem announcements.
Anyone for a slice of humble pie? Anyone? Hello…. anyone? You in the safe seats; it won’t harm you! Set an example. Come on – it’s not been touched…