Last night I watched Have I Got a Bit More News for You?, which is the extended Saturday night version of the BBC’s popular current affairs and comedy quizz show. Something interesting was said, and even more interestingly, not contradicted. HIGN4Y regular Ian Hislop was commenting on the Mini- Pre- Budget that isn’t really a Budget, but really is. He said that the country had got into terrible trouble because of everyone borrowing too much money. And the government’s answer is that the government is going to borrow lots more money. General derision, and no contradictions from anybody. I don’t know what Germaine Greer’s economic policy prejudices are, but going by her other opinions, I thought maybe she might make some attempt to defend the government’s economic policy, if only by quickly changing the subject. No. Nothing like that.
Come to think of it, I have all this on my telly hard disc. Bear with me. Yes, here we go:
Hislop: “It’s a whole package of measures to save us all! We’ve got into terrible trouble for years by excess borrowing, so we’re going to … borrow!!!!!” Derisive hand gesture. Derisive laughter from studio audience. “That’s it, that’s the whole report.”
Young Comedian sitting next to Hislop: “Isn’t it that we’re going to be a trillion pounds in debt, after this?”
Young Comedian: “That is an awful lot … If you bring up your bank balance and it says that, you’ll feel pretty crushed, I think.”
Hislop: “It’s bad, isn’t it?”
Young Comedian: “I don’t know how I’m going to make that back, Ian.”
Hislop: “Well, you’re young enough that you will have to make it back. We’ll all be dead.”
Young Comedian: “I suppose so. I thought no one else looked as worried about it as I was. What was Damien Hirst doing in the middle of that?”
Damien Hirst has been laying off art workers. When the silly price of silly art slumps, you know the economy is tanking. Later, they had a reference to the fact that the bail-out is costing us twice what World War 1 cost us. Paul Merton said that this won’t be over by Christmas either, to general laughter. And, as I say, not a peep out of Germaine G about this catastrophe.
The central point is this. We borrowed far too much – Now the government says we must borrow far too much more thereby making our children and grandchildren into tax serfs – How idiotic is that? This is fast becoming the Grand Narrative here. If so, and given that the Conservatives are saying this too, that Labour melt-down is becoming a real possibility.