There's been a lot ofwailing and gnashing of teeth from the Reading Labour Party about some of the budget papers. A lot of noise and precious little about what they'd do about it.
The best we've seen so far is Jo Lovelock doing her Mrs. Lovejoy impersonation screaming: "Why won't somebody please think of the children?" Perhaps it would have been better if she'd asked her husband to do that over the toast and marmalade whilst he was running Reading's Children's Services into the ground.
The truth is that New Labour and their apologists are in denial about the serious situation they have left the town in. They have built successive budgets on pyramid schemes expecting a never ending list of suckers to help pay for it. Trouble is with using that as a strategy is that at some point even a sucker will discover that they are being ripped off.
Anyone who thinks this is some sort of idealogical crusade is a complete muppet. To put things into context, if Reading was a household earning £25,000 a year, we have around £3,500 in the savings account. The problem is that only £850 of that could be spent as we need the rest in case the boiiler breaks down and the family car is looking dodgy for the next MOT. Once it's gone, it's gone. On top of that we owe around £34,000 on the credit card.
The choice we face is whether to sign up for a second credit card and go out on a spree to make us feel better or cancel the Sky Sports and Movie Premiere subscriptions. I guess how anyone feels about it is whether you think cancelling the Sky Sports subscription is a cut, or whether you consider going down the pub to watch a match is a totally valid alternative.
What Labour needs to understand is that the cost of them being taken seriously is that they need to tell the electorate EXACTLY where they would make savings or how they would pay for them.
On one level I'd love to see Labour struggling with setting next year's council budget and watch them squirm as they announced to staff why they were not going to implement equal pay for yet another year. On the other hand, sorting out the mess is far to important to leave to those charaltans to it.