I had no real interest in watching the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament; as most commentators are pointing out it is nakedly political and, no doubt, the Tories would similarly play politics if they were in Labour's position and close to a General Election. What particularly made me write the headline above though was the inclusion in the Government's new programme of a 'Fiscal Responsibility Bill'. This would provide amongst other things a "firm and binding statutory basis" for the government's promise to halve the budget deficit within four years. To bind any future government to any budget reduction in a fixed time frame is so obviously ridiculous that I'm almost refraining from commenting on it.
So what happens if a future administration fails to cut by the required 50%? Are legal proceedings taken against the then Chancellor of the Exchequer? In four years time we may have got through 3 Chancellors say, including Mr Darling, so how would blame be apportioned if the target reduction isn't met? In measuring the deficit will inflation be taken into account? And what about all the Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) which I think Gordon Brown tries to keep off the books. A new government might measure the budget deficit using different criteria, who knows.
Reducing the huge budget deficit by at least half in four years can be considered a good statement of intent but how any sort of legislation can be passed regarding that is beyond my comprehension. It annoys me that anyone in power has the idiocy to think this idea is practical or right. They are stupid, stupid, stupid.