It’s a bit early for spring but the cuckoo brigade certainly appear to be out in force already.
Among the many dappy doings on offer, I see Britain is sending more than £2m in aid to Argentina, of all places. What is our government thinking? With continuing threats and sabre rattling from Buenos Aires, I would have thought it wass the last place to spend overseas aid, especially in today’s economically eye-watering circumstances. The money would have been better spent on Falkland defences – just in case. And here’s a strange thing. The MOD is spending millions of pounds on recruitment advertising while in the same breath announcing further cuts to our military personnel. Sounds to me like left hand, right hand!
Another daft waste of money is the taxpayer-funded Tate Modern Gallery purchase of sheep droppings draped across wire, at a cost of £16,000 – among 17 other works totalling over £200,000 – from a Mexican artist. The creation is described by the gallery as “sheep excrement, dung, plaster, cardboard, steel and wood”. I can think of a much shorter description but this is a family newspaper.
Another couple of hundred grand was paid to a Cuban artist for a piece of “art” which features light bulbs, power sockets and cable. How absolutely electrifying. They’re putting their foot in it so often, perhaps they could use some redundant boots – I’m sure the MOD could oblige.
Then there’s the story of a £400 million stockpile of flu medicine that may not even work. Apparently NICE – who decide what drugs we can have on the NHS – and the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency – who approve them for public use – are accused by the Public Accounts Committee of failing to obtain sufficient evidence to ensure the drug actually works, relying instead on the word of the manufacturers. Recent disclosures suggest those nice people at NICE have been too busy spending millions of pounds on their credit cards to have the time.
There should definitely be red faces in Westminster at the under-pricing of Royal Mail shares. With values up 70 per cent three months after the sell- off, there can be no doubt that criticism the issue price was far too low has been proved right.
Good old boy Vince Cable dismissed the criticism, describing the initial price rise as “froth”. Froth? Sounds more like champagne bubbles to me. For some that is.
And surprise surprise, housing developments on flood plains are causing flooding. When will local authority planners learn there’s more to housing than increased rates revenue.
But the daftest idea of all is from energy company First Utility to save money by sharing showers. The patronising announcement comes at the same time we learn of a new shower-proof smart phone on the way. Don’t they realise what this might lead to? An absolute deluge of selfies from all the luvvies and self-opinionated tweeters, that’s what.
The mind bloggles!