How we’d laugh when the puppet chancellor admits the recession is worse than expected – especially as this is the man who allegedly went off-message less than six months ago to confess that the economic times we are facing are “arguably the worst they’ve been in 60 years”.
This isn’t satire, he really said it. But by comparison with today, his bleak prognosis six months ago looks positively optimistic.
Now Darling is saying that things are actually looking a lot worse.
But then it’s hardly surprising that he’s revised his opinion. Since the pre-Budget report things have only got worse with a downward spiral of a weakening economy, bank blunders, increases in unemployment and house price falls.
While the outlook has to be for yet another prudent Budget to begin the process of recouping the national £39bn shortfall expected by 2015, the benefit of hindsight shows that Prime Minster Gordon Brown’s 10-year tenure at the Treasury was anything but prudent.
Instead of replacing the boom and bust era with sustainable growth, Brown simply renamed a boom period and convinced us that it was here to stay.
So the joke is on us voters. Even the combined talents of the Spitting Image team would struggle to raise a smile from the G20 summit. I mean, apart from “You show me your stimulus package and I’ll double it”, what do world leaders talk about?
No wonder the media focussed on the jockeying for position before the main event and coverage of WAGs’ fashion choices during it. It almost made me nostalgic for Allied Dunbar conventions.
The last laugh goes to the politicos who have supplemented their lifestyles with household goods and services funded by taxpayers.
I’m sure the Spitting Image creators could dream up an annoying song to showcase MPs extracting maximum value from their expense accounts, possibly mentioning home secretary Jacqui Smith (pictured below) and adult entertainment.
There’s something slightly grubby about the feeding frenzy revealed by the recent expenses exposés.
If only they were properly remunerated surely the crooks would leave the system. But hang on – isn’t that what MPs usually say about financial advisers?