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Thank God for GOD and his Plan B

Posted on 16 December 2010 | 12:12am

A bit late to be blogging I know, but in the new media world there is no such thing as a deadline, no such thing as a geographical boundary, so  in a way no such thing as late.

Plus I have had one of those days … up early and sudddenly noticed my car wasn’t where I had parked it. Belatedly spotted the sign the council claims has been there for a fortnight warning that the bay was going to be suspended … so off to the car pound, a very levelling kind of place. £260 quid for failing to see a sign. As to why the bay was suspended, apparently the council felt a pressing need to lower the speed humps on the road where I had parked. So they removed the existing humps and replaced them with lower ones, and my car was a victim of this urgent work. Haven’t they heard about the council cuts? I’d have thought dehumping and rehumping would have been top of Mr Pickles’ list off things which didn’t really need doing. Still, perhaps I should see my £260 as today’s contribition to the Big Society.

I needed a bit of fresh air after that so out on the bike, but I couldn’t find my helmet and I hate not wearing a helmet so I cut it short, and in any event it was too cold. Then I had a few calls to make, caught up with emails, and started to bang out a blog saying I couldn’t understand why the Treasury was so adamant in saying there was ‘no plan B’ to the economic plan laid out by George Osborne.

Of course there should be a Plan B … and I had got that far when something called Java something or other came along and wiped out the work I had done. Alas I didn’t have a Plan B for the blog, so I thought oh sod it, the world can live without my views on the economic Plan B memo written by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell.

In any event I had a few meetings and then had to leave for City airport for a flight to Dublin where I am due to be speaking at a lunch tomorrow (or is it today yet?) I left loads of time to get there but the traffic was horrendous, and I only just made it. I lost my glasses somewhere between check in and boarding, so forgive any typos.

Not a spare seat to be had on the flight, hotel heaving, the restuarant I’ve just been to  absolutely packed with people saying how bad things are. But there is a Plan B, even if the IMF helped draw it up. There is always a Plan B. Osborne is taking a huge gamble with the economy. Pickles is taking a huge gamble with local services. Andrew Lansley is taking a huge gamble with the NHS. The whole lot of them are gambling like crazy that their policy prescriptions are sound.

And if there isn’t a Plan B, I’d be worried. So thank God for GOD I say. No, not the God I don’t do, but the GOD by which initialising Whitehall refers to Gus O’Donnell, who is hopefully gently reminding ministers and senior civil servants that Plan As don’t always go according to plan. I have a fancy that the government will need quite a few Plan Bs in months to come.

  • Eddy Rhead

    They are gambling with peoples jobs and gambling with the livelihoods of millions of families and from where im sitting i dont fancy the odds they are offering.

  • Unknown

    Great post – ‘such’ spelt ‘succh’ on the first line though… 🙂

  • Sarah Dodds

    They will need plan B. And possibly plans C, D, E. ,,,,
    But they won’t be alone. Lots of us are in full plan B mode as Tory ideology scuppers our employment. And praying that the said plan B pays off.
    We are all in this together after all.

  • Alan Ingleson

    Is it not significant that the first unemployment figures under Tory ‘rule’ show an increase? Their plans gamble that we will be content to lose our full time jobs and accept part time work in Argos – don’t think that’s a plan, it’s a lie and a poor quality lie at that

  • Robert Jackson

    Trying as hard as I can to stay on topic, The Birmingham Post reports that after protests Tory Solihull Council has come up with plan B for making cuts at its crematorium.

    Plan A?

    Carry out multiple cremations – i.e. roast two or three bodies at once to save gas.

    Now, having lost my dad in May, having had a very private family gathering to scatter his ashes, I can say that we placed quite a lot of faith in our Cremation service next door in Brum.

    Much as a devout Christian takes sacrament in the faith that the biscuit and the wine are the body and blood of Christ – not merely a representation – we rather hoped that when we scattered dad’s ashes it stood a good chance of actually being him.

    Not Mrs Jones or Mr Smith or a bag of chicken sweepings or some mixture thereof.

    The ancients learned that it was a good idea to let people treat their dead with dignity. Some Tories in local government, it seems, do not think so.

  • Kate

    Ha ha. This made me smile! Glad to see you illustrious types have Jonah days too! Maybe civil servants not such a bad idea – have always previously balked at such invisible, unaccountable power…..

  • Olli Issakainen

    George Osborne has in his misguided courage boasted that there is no Plan B.
    But he should realize that Britain is not yet out of danger zone. The financial crisis is only in its first phase. If we continue with the “centre ground” neoliberalism, there will soon be even bigger crisis.
    Neoliberalism is not based on any solid empirical or theoretical foundation. In fact, it is based on double fallacy of self-regulating markets and rational economic actor.
    With low interest rates and sovereign debt the central banks and governments will be lacking in means to combat the next crisis.
    If we want to save western-style capitalism, there must be a more active role for state in the economy and more regulation. Basel III rules are not enough.
    Britain´s economy is now growing because of Labour´s measures. Next year the growth will slow. There will be cuts and rise in VAT to 20%.
    Unemployment is now 2.5m. And about 390,000 public sector jobs will be cut. Yet George Osborne believes that private sector will be able to create 2.5m new jobs!
    Cabinet secretary´s Plan B is more than welcome. My guess is that Mr Osborne will need a new round of quantitative easing from BoE. He will also be forced to make changes to his reckless cuts.
    Pro-active industrial policy is needed to rebalance Britain´s economy after the Tories destroyed much of the traditional manufacturing in the 1980s.
    The coalition has conned a lot of people into believing that Labour caused the deficit by overspending on public services. As I showed yesterday, this is not the case.
    Britain is not Greece – never has been. There is no economic rationale for huge cuts. They will, in all probability, only increase the deficit.
    What is needed is a strategy for growth and jobs. Stamped money could be a good idea. A recovery loan could be used to infrastructure projects.
    The coalition´s cuts are ideological because David Cameron has admitted that they will not be reversed when the books have been balanced.
    Ralph Miliband said that state can never tame capitalism. Tony Crosland believed that this could be done.
    Labour must come up with a new economic model based on state activism and more regulation of the financial sector.
    If the coalition does not abandon neoliberalism and change its economic policy, only the God that I do will be able to help Britain.

  • Kate
  • Chris lancashire

    And Brown didn’t take a huge gamble with the economy? And lost?
    Oh no, forgot, it was the bankers wot did it.

  • Anonymous

    …and who is taking a gamble with higher education? Perhaps you don’t feel that you have the right or inclination to comment..