Labour are in The Thick of It again…

14 04 2009

Well, this is a load of bollocks. The economic downturn and straitened lending is putting the squeeze on businesses, and a lot of small businesses are going to the wall.

The result of this is that there’s lots of empty retail space where healthy businesses once stood. According to Labour this is a bit of an eyesore, and might be depressing people a tad. So the government is going to throw £3m at turning shops into galleries and advice centres.

Surely the Opposition Parties are going to fillet Hazel for this rubbish. It has the ominous look of an initiative recently pulled from the hat – something akin to Snooper Squad from The Thick of It.

Labour reassured us that the times of boom and bust were at an end. Then when they weren’t, Labour reassured us that this definitely wasn’t the worst crisis since the depression. Then when they realised it was, Labour reassured us that the green shoots of recovery were visible. Then when they’re realised they weren’t, Labour reassure us again with more more incredible predictions. End result? Labour will bequeath us higher taxes to publicly fund vanity spending not seen since the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

And now, given we’re all bracing ourselves for an exhausted, floppy-looking U-shaped recovery, Labour reassures us that the ugly wreckage of failed businesses should now be made lovely with pretty pictures and things. This is clueless stuff that arrives on the same day that NIIRTA is desperately begging for more borrowing on behalf of businesses. So not to worry, Glyn – your members will be pleased to see that Hazel intends to see them off with a nice lick of paint and some pleasing rhetoric about vibrant city high streets.

Damian McBride was a catastrophic screw up, but let’s not pretend that even exemplary western democracies sometimes operate this way. But the Blears announcement is intentional – it is designed to ingratiate Labour with heartland voters and it’s completely and utterly detached from reality. If ever there was a sign that the government’s fingernails have finally given way, that they are no longer hanging on and that they are indeed plummeting to earth, then I suspect this was it.

UPDATE:  Get the paint in Hazel, Ulster Bank says NI economy contracted faster than any other region in UK during Q1 2009. Christ.

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