diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"I want all our public servants to take Fridays off," the prime minister will say.

"We can do without them one day a week," the prime minister will insist.

"A longer weekend can save our society," Mr Cameron will pledge.

In a speech later David Cameron will announce exciting plans to drive forward our economy, end the pension gap, revive the private sector and cut the deficit, all in one great big soundbite gobbet. And he's very kindly sent his speech to us in advance, just to soften you all up for the big announcement, and to make sure everyone has all the proper words, even if he fluffs reading from the autocue, and to hog the news media for longer, and because pre-circulation is the done thing in political PR these days. And we're reporting it, word for word, because journalists are lazy these days and will allow anyone to set the agenda, no questions asked.

(Check against delivery)

"I have a dream of a brighter Britain," David Cameron will say. "A stronger Britain. A fairer Britain. A Britain winning in the global race."

"But too often our public servants drag us down. Well I want to change that," he is expected to say.

"So we had this idea at the thinktank," he will admit, "where we brainstormed the workload these public servants actually do, and surely they could do that in less time, and then we could pay them less. And we had this genius idea, and it solves virtually every political problem facing our country today, and we it called Downtime Friday."

"We want all public servants to get all their work done by Thursday, even if that means they have to work a bit later. Then they'll get Fridays off, which is obviously excellent, and will be a major boost to our retail economy by extending the weekend. But of course we'll pay them 20% less, because they're no longer working on Fridays, so they deserve less of our money. And that'll cut the government's wage bill by a fifth, allowing us to increase tax breaks for hardworking higher rate taxpayers, which is only fair given they won't be having Fridays off," he will say with a twinkle.

"This also means we'll be cutting public sector pensions by 20%, which is payback for the gold-plated handouts of the past, and will cut our national debt overnight, so it must be right. And we'll be closing public buildings on Fridays, like libraries, and courts, and town halls, and museums, and driving test centres, plus most of Whitehall," he will say, before adding "which will save millions of pounds on heating, and lighting, and cleaners, who'll get to work less too."

"Obviously there are some (he will emphasise "some") public servants who do important jobs. Doctors and nurses, for example, and our police and ambulance workers, and immigration officials, and teachers in free schools and academies. As recognition of their key role they will not be expected to skip Fridays, and we will only cut their pay by 10%. Naturally our marvellous armed forces will continue full-time on full pay, as will MPs," except he won't say the last bit out loud, it'll be in the small print of the white paper for journalists to find later.

"Unless we make big changes, we are heading for a future as a high-tax, uncompetitive backwater with soaring social costs and a falling quality of life," he will say. "Plus you might get Fridays off," he will conclude, before asking "And how good is that?"


In a speech later David Cameron will say all of this, or at least we hope he will because we just cut and pasted most of the text from an email and made a news story about it. That's even though it hasn't been officially announced yet, because this is a press release with a negative embargo, to be launched beforehand rather than after. All the parties do it, not just the government, they're all as bad as each other. And we print it as gospel, politely and obligingly, without ever wondering if they really are intending to say this, or just throwing out some half-baked idea for publicity. But it's reached the stage now where most policy is announced without a word having been uttered, and that's not news, that's news management. Whatever, I really wish they'd stop doing it, he will say.

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