I guess the Corporate, Community and Corporate Affairs Committee performance from Labour was as predictable as Tony Page complaining about paying a measly 20p to use Reading's swanky new toilets (annual net cost to the council tax payer £230,000). It seems that even with the huge budget savings that the whole country knows have to be made because of the mess Labour left us in, they are quite incapable of controlling their bladders and seeming unable to stop spending a penny in public, especially if that penny isn't actually theirs, it is the public's. Forget the bank that likes to say 'yes', they are the party that cannot say 'no'.
Covering up their bottomless public money pit with a white handkerchief and erecting a "nothing to see here" sign might have been sufficient to scare Scooby Doo and Shaggy away whilst they hope to return but it took breathtaking arrogance to think no-one would start digging up Labour's corpses.
They are reduced to throwing tantrums in press releases and on the Post's letters pages hoping their scary ghost stories about what the nasty coalition are planning to cut in Reading will have any effect. In truth all their moaning about the coalition cuts are worthless fish and chips wrapping. Why you ask? Because you can't cut something that doesn't exist!
Admittedly it is difficult for the average voter to work out the intricate complexities of Labour's fiscal methodology, so I've developed a quick and I hope helpful guide to budgeting the Labour way. I've found Labour's budget process can be more easily understood by the layman or woman if we substitute quantum physics as relatively simple analogy to explain their methods.
If you've been awake listening to D:Ream's Labour 1997 election theme 'Better Get Only Can Things' backwards, you may have been lucky enough to have heard Professor Brian Cox explaining how Schroedinger's cat can famous exist in two places at the same time, that is in the box and simultaneously in kitty heaven, That holds true until the moment that you open the box, when Schroedinger's moggie in an act of self-centred attention seeking decides right then and there whether he is alive or dead.
[Experimenter's Note: I have discovered that if you are forced to substitute a tin of tuna for the recommended cyanide capsule, the cat always seems to choose being alive. This may be the same experimental result that led Stephen Hawking to announce that the was no need for a God to cause the big bang. The cat did it.]
Now, if you are still following, if we compare Labour's fiscal policy using the Unionised field theory we discover that in the even stranger world of Labour quantum physics, their budget items don't exist anywhere at all and you don't even need to open the box to know there's nothing in it. Liam Byrne left a note to tell you. Brian Cox fans may have heard him refer to this on BBC2 by its other name Lovelocks 3rd Law of Complete Inertia.
This may all be too complex to grasp for some Labour party members, so specially for them the Janet and John special relative theory explains that for every possible combination of political policy the Labour particles will hold the exact opposite charge and become an anti-Abbey-Matter particle. Should they ever accidentally come into contact with a real budget setting process they will implode releasing energy in the form of a massive stream of "budget variance" muons and at the same time magic cash out of thin air using Einstein's famous formula E=Magic Cash2?
I have posted about Labour addiction to creating hidden subsidies before but yesterday I found what can only be described as a brand new fundamental particle. After overuse of practical cats, let use something veggie to describe the new exciting discover... how about a quark? And then a sub-type, in this case a charmed budget. Yep, there definitely something odd about this discovery.
It would appear from considering the evidence that Reading Labour's free spending of the taxi licence money to pay a private security company for taxi marshalls may, how shall we put it, not actually have been allowed under the legislation that covers fees and charges. You see, I was checking how other councils operate their taxi schemes, with the idea of picking up best practice when I found a comment in a report to the Darlington taxi licensing committee. Page 5 of their 2010 taxi fees and charges report says this:
18. It would be difficult to interpret the legislative provision for use of the fees to include the
use of taxi marshalls who are associated with the dispersal of patrons rather than directly
associated with the provision of a taxi rank and to do so would leave the Council open to
challenge by the trade. Members are aware that the Council’s responsibility is to provide a
safe means of travel for the travelling public. Initiatives to protect the trade are however,
encouraged such as the installation of CCTV and protective shields in vehicles. Ultimately,
however, although the Council provides a licence for the trade the actual business of private
hire or hackney carriage work is the responsibility of the trade member.
Or if you prefer non-officer speak, it is not a smart idea to use money collected as taxi licence fees to pay for taxi marshalls because in Darlington they clearly believe that the law does not allow it.
Meanwhile over in the People's Republic of La-La-Land, Reading Labour thought it perfectly permissible to help themselves to the taxi licence fees receipts and spend it on something that doesn't exist... a bit like Britain's gold reserves, eh?. Now a sensible person seeing first the police refuse to cough then the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership withdraw leaving no money to pay for it may have if they were doing their job properly would probably have cut their losses at that point and ended the contract. But you see that doesn't take into account Labour's gag reflex. "No money? No worries! We'll use someone else's!" The only fly in the ointment would appear to be that they didn't have the legitimate right to use it.
However, is it worth kicking up such a fuss about a measly £16,000. This year (2010/2011) Labour had budgeted for taxi licencing to make a loss of £81,000 when the law provides for councils to recover ALL their reasonable costs of running the licensing and enforcement teams from the fees charged.
I think someone should to tell them it's in their own self interest to 'fess up to where they have buried the rest of their bodies before I dig them up. It's only a matter of time before I find more.