No rain so far today so its fingers crossed for the allotments ‘street party’. I have to admit that I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams my fellow codgers putting in such an effort for a celebration about the monarchy. But the national mood of delight has softened even the hardest souls, we grumps are no exception. Last night’s BBC programme featuring Prince Charles brought home to us just what a stirling job the Queen has done in providing a sense of stability over so many years of change, the like of which society has never previously witnessed.
And over the next few days we can be sure of one thing. The pageantry will be presented with immaculate precision, with mind-boggling efficiency and timing. We Brits are world leaders in the art. Whether it be the changing of the guards, the opening of parliament, the Queen’s birthday, or tomorrow’s Thames Jublilee convoy absolutely everything can be relied upon to proceed like a well oiled clock. All of which poses a fascinating question. Why are we so utterly hopeless at everything else? How can masters of ceremonials also be masters of unlimited cock-ups?
When I first thought about levelling this charge I considered research for examples. But just a glance at today’s newspapers makes such a task unnecessary, in one day alone we have ample evidence. Cock-up king George Osborne announced yet another U-turn on his March budget. That makes six and one cannot escape the conclusion that his officials didn’t think things through, and he didn’t sit down to carefully appraise what he was to announce. Now the numbskull is saying that he is listening. That should have happened before the budget was completed, not after. If Gorgeous George was organising the Thames event he would have forgotten to contact the boat owners.
Then we have our dear leader who gives every impression of saying, and acting on, the first thing that enters his head.The moment his pal Jeremy Hunt had finished making a complete ass of himself at the Leveson Inquiry the Prime Minister announced that there would be no official investigation vis-a-vis the ministerial code. It now turns out that he didn’t check this out with the legal beagles.Had he done so he would have learned that he has no power to make such a decision.
Meantime there is fury at the news that top officials at the Border Agency have received £3.25 million in bonuses, despite instructions that this must not happen from the cross-party Home Affairs Committee. The committee had said that the payment of bonuses in the midst of failures such as the relaxation of border controls, the inability to clear the asylum backlog and the reluctance to tackle bogus colleges through unannounced inspections must cease. But the Home Secretary forgot to pass the ruling on. Celebrations all round.
Perhaps the answer to my headline is that long established members of the Royal Household, and its planners’ take care of the big occasions of state whilst politicians supposedly run the country. Any new Prime Minister must select what are in effect the top executives of UK Ltd from a total number of around 320 MPs. Deduct 100 for being too old and another 100 for being too daft and his, or her, choice is somewhat limited. Then throw in a situation like the present one, where our dear leader automatically opts for members of his clique, and you have the recipe for the vast affairs of state being run by people who have never run anything before.
The result is people like Caroline Spelman who decided to sell the forests, Andrew Lansley who fired thousands who are now being re-engaged by the NHS, Jeremy Hunt who took no interest in what his staff were doing on his behalf and Cameron himself who didn’t grasp that socialising with a major bidder for control of the media was not a very good idea.
In fact there have been so many U-turns that the government resembles a bumper car in a permanent spin. Anyone eager to understand how this can be should go to a website called Quietus. The editor recalls working for the publishing company that housed Jemery Hunt before he became an MP. Luke Turner writes of utter perplexity at how Hunt, after winning a constituency, rose so high so fast. He was amazed when he stood as a candidate and couldn’t believe that anyone would vote for such an “affable lummox”. Those years working with Hunt, he tells, gives him an idea of the kind of government we currently have, run by “former public school boys who have “barged their way through life not by merit but by birth”. Hunt was “bad enough as a colleague”, but the fact that he and his chums are running the country is “far, far worse”.
It is hard to look at the two front benches without suffering anguish. When, if ever, will we see grown-ups running a Britsh government again? At one time one could rely on the Sir Humphreys to keep the batty ministerrs in line, now they bring in special advisers such as Werrity and Smith, most of whom are even dafter than their masters.
We can only be thankful that her Majesty’s great weekend is not in the hands of the mad ones!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY;
“I believe we create every so-called illness in our body. The body, like everything else in life, is a mirror of our inner thoughts and beliefs. Our body is always talking to us; we just need to take the time to listen. Every cell within our body responds to every single thought we think and every word we speak” …..Louise L Hay (Author of I Can Do It)
” I can’t see the sense in making me a Commander of the British Empire. They might as well have made me a Commander of Milton Keynes – at least it exists”…. Spike Milligan