Remember 14th August 2009? David Cameron said: “Clearly if we are going to ask – and we need to ask the country – to undertake a programme of reduced public spending and get the deficit down, we need to show that we can take our share of the pain. I want to reduce the cost of politics. I want to cut the size of the House of Commons. I want to cut the number of quangos. My Government will take a lead in that if we are fortunate enough to be elected.”
As the Python boys said, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”; but with the new [Public Expenditure Committee] body created and headed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to interview Ministers individually and scrutinise their departmental budgets – and termed the Star Chamber – you can imagine that ministers, after being grilled about their spending plans, might exit the Chamber and utter the same phrase. Then we have the Coalition Treasury ministers hard at work to resuscitate the dead parrot that is our economy and convince the international markets that it is not really dead. Chancellor Osborne is also copying the Canadian model of deficit reduction with its emphasis on public spending cuts; so we can expect him to appear before the Commons in a check shirt and carrying an axe, together with a chorus of junior ministers, singing “I’m a lumber jack and I’m OK”. It is all reminiscent of Monty Python’s Flying Circus famous sketches.