George and the magic lamp

 

Today we have a fairy story.

 

Once upon a time David and George worked hard so David could become King. After five years toiling, one day the people acclaimed David as their new King. He put on the crown,  and invited his old friend George round for a drink. He wanted to look after his old friend, but he also needed his help.

“I will make you the second most important man in the kingdom, George” he said. “I would like you to be my Treasurer. I need someone I can trust to collect in the taxes and look after all the money we now have.”

“Thank you, Dave” said George. ” I am grateful , but I am also very worried. You see, I have  found a note from the outgoing Deputy Treasurer, telling us there is no money left. I am afraid that if I am Treasurer I will become very unpopular. The people will expect me to pay the bills, but I will have to tell them I cannot, as there is no money. ”

David was concerned for his friend, but he needed him to do the job. “Well”, he said ” we always told people we would spend the proceeds of growth. What we have to do is to get plenty of growth and then we will have money again. I will help you”.

George was still worried. Some of the soothsayers, always a pessimnistic bunch, were saying there wasn’t going to be much growth either. “I am not sure they are going to buy that idea” said George hesitantly. “It will also make you less popular as well” he said, more defiantly.

That got David’s attention. “I want you still to be my best friend. I will help you. When I became King they showed me a magic lamp. They told me when I was in trouble I could rub the lamp and a genie will appear. The genie will put in any policy I want quickly, so I can get out of whatever fix I am in. I can use the genie on five occasions in my reign.  As we are both going to be in this together, and you are my main adviser, I will let you tell me what to ask the genie for”.

George was much relieved at that thought, and willingly said yes to his friend.

Early on George and David decided things they had inherited  were so bad they needed to use the genie to get off to a good start. After discussion David liked George’s idea that they should ask for a low carbon policy to be put in. George knew David liked that sort of thing, and George dreamed of lots of low carbon jobs.

Together they had read the small print on the magic lamp. There were fading printed instructions, well thumbed from past use.  It told them they could ask for policies, but could not ask for the wider solutions they wanted. They could not ask the genie to make all the voters happy or rich. They had to ask for things that might bring that about. As the small print said, they could ask for the very difficult but  not for the impossible.

They thought this was all very reasonable. Then they saw scribbled at the end a modern  addition to the rules. It said  they also had to take into account the fact that the genie was just a UK genie. His powers  were now subject to limits from more powerful European genies who were no friends of our dynamic duo. They decided not to worry too much about that. They thought the Eurosceptics went on  about that type of thing far too much.

A low carbon economy was just the ticket, they thought. It was modern and trendy. The European genies liked it. They summonsed their magic genie. He was charming. Soon the UK was sprouting windmills everywhere. Energy prices went up to put people off creating so  much carbon. People had to drive less as petrol was so dear. Carbon dioxide output fell.  Far from making George popular, the people did not seem to like their low carbon economy very much. Whilst the green jobs they wanted did come, they found they lost lots of other jobs that needed cheap energy.

George said to Dave that they needed to do something more to make them popular. He said what we need to is promise people that the government  will keep their interest rates low. That way people with mortgages will be better off. Companies that need to borrow money will find it’s cheap.

The genie frowned when he heard. “Don’t you know the Bank of England fixes interest rates, and they are said to be independent. I should not be able to do this for you. But it may surprise you to learn that when my last master fixed the Bank he allowed the genie to interfere, so you are lucky. Once again, master, your word is my command.”

And so it proved. For month after month the Bank kept interest rates on the floor. Lucky people with some mortgages paid very little interest. But still the economy did not grow, and still many people were not happy. All the savers – and there are many more of them than mortage holders- were up in arms because they got so little for their savings, and had less money to spend.

So George said to David, “We need to ask the genie to do more. I think we need to ask him to print us some money, so we can spend more on all the things people say they want”. King David was worried about this. “Doesn’t that upset the Bank of England” he asked. “Why haven’t people just printed it before, if is so easy?” George reminded his friend that the last King had printed lots, and nothing bad seemed to have happened- or at least nothing bad because of that. All the bad things that happened happened before he ordered the printing.  Reassured, they summonsed the genie.

“Your word is my command, master. Your predecessor made sure he and I had power to instruct for more money printing. Consider it done”

And so it was. The genie had printed £200 billion for the old King. This time he printed £207 billion for the new King.  It made it easier to pay all the king’s bills, but still the economy did not grow.

Despairing, our heroes decided they had to summon the genie one more time. It would still leave them the fifth wish for later, if things got worse. This time they said to the genie “We know bankers, journalists and rich people are very unpopular. Do things that show we don’t  like them, so we are on the side of everyone else, the decent people”

The genie looked concerned and said ” Once again master, your word is my command. I will do as you say, and can do as you say. I look apprehensive, because wishes are usually best when they are positive and happy. Your wish is negative. Consider it done”

Before they pair could reflect they found themseleves with the Leveson report into the press, with rich companies threatening to move abroad, and rich people hiring better accountants and lawyers to avoid their taxes. or simply working less. None of it seemed to make them more popular.

They had managed to find things for the genie to do that did not clash with the powerful European genies, hoping that they would stay quiet. Unfortunately, the European genies kept appearing, demanding that they did more and more. What could be done about that? Couldn’t they just put all that off for a few more years?

This fairy story is not yet over. I leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest your own finale. Will our duo use their last wish to get it right? What should they ask the genie to do for them now? Will patience bring its reward? Are things better than they look? Will it come right? Or do you want a miserable ending to our magic tale?

 

(The Bow Group recorded a version when I read the story for them. It will appear soon on You tube.) ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=liQtluB877l)

 

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120 Comments

  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    David turned to George and said: “George, we need much more than this tinkering, we need a real paradigm shift! We’re already up to our knees in water and have no funds left for flood protection either! Instead of all this genie magic, let’s turn to a European genius and hope that he can change our mindset altogether, in the run up to Christmas.”
    And so they did: Please enjoy this European music and singing for the people in the street. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbJcQYVtZMo
    From 6 meters below sea level I wish my British friends a merry, and hopefully dry, at least not too wet Christmas. Peter

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      It used to be quite a nice piece of music until the EU destroyed it.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic: The music hasn’t changed, your mind has. There wasn’t even any European flag in sight! Still, for me this clip nicely symbolizes that, on the continent, peoples will continue coming together, whatever difficulties on the way and whatever the UK were to decide for itself.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          The people would come together rather better without the evil and undemocratic, socialist EU bureaucracy impoverishing them all.

          I have an Italian wife and have had a house in France for over 20 years. I have no problem with the European peoples whatsoever – just the insanities of the EU.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            @lifelogic: Point taken that you can claim ample continental experience, and so you’ll know the wide variety in opinions there, mine is just one. I’d disagree calling the EU “socialist”, if anything I’d call it liberal-conservative, all in the name of business. EU bureaucracy in the narrow sense (EU administration) amounts to 6% of 1% (as a fraction 0.0006) of your GDP and the wider EU costs are disputed (eurosceptics claiming a slightly higher figure). Impoverishing is much more a result of past and present national policies, your David and George doing their own bit here, for which they would of course like to blame some foreign evil, but that would be much too easy.
            I’d agree with you that there are many EU “insanities” and one of the uses of eurosceptics is to have them pointed out, so that something can be done about them. (regulatory burden for SMEs is a good example). That is still different from getting carried away with the more extreme eurosceptic stories, myths and fairy tales.

          • Bob
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            @ll
            The EU-phile trolls will always try to conflate the EU with Europe, it allows them to use the “little englander racist bigot” spell which conjures up a chorus of shame on you to drown out any EU sceptic words.

          • Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            It wasn’t that long ago that mainland Europe was a clash between the Communists and the Socialists – which is why Labour loves it so – they can impose left-wing policies via the EU that they could not get through at home.
            I have lived in France now for 14 years. We have family here. I also have many friends from various EU contries. Many of the French that I speak to just want a Europe of co-operating sovereign states without being pushed by an undemocratic, unwanted Brussels bureaucracy.
            Peter van Leeuwen obviously feels that the sun shines forth from every EU orifice – so much so that he is blinded by the realities.

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          Big question: Germany and the other countries seem to see the EU as a good thing and leaving it as a punishment. When we are ungrateful enough to want to “blackmail” when do you think we will be expelled from the club?

          • cosmic
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            I don’t believe the means exists to expel us directly, although if we were really naughty our membership could be suspended.

            It seems to be more like they regard membership of the club involving acceptance of the rules and the Germans and French have a great deal of influence over the rules.

            It’s shifting to a tight inner circle which will make the rules for itself. They’re pretty well saying take it or leave it, they can’t and won’t make exceptions. It’s been made quite clear that the UK isn’t going to be allowed to stall the process needed to achieve the tighter integration of the Eurozone to gain concessions. We’ll just be ignored.

            Our government isn’t particularly comfortable with that and isn’t comfortable with getting out either hence the fantasy half-way solutions they propose.

            By ‘government’ I don’t particularly mean the present coalition government. We have pressures pushing us out by making things less comfortable and pressures pulling us out in the form of rising anti-EU sentiment

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            @Mike Stallard: I cannot imagine the UK ever being “expelled” from the club, that is a nice line for blogs and newspaper articles. There are many reasons to have the UK inside the club Maybe a looser relationship if that would satisfy British public opinion, or British political opinion (two different things)

          • uanime5
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            Probably when the UK refuses to pay the fines they incur for breaching the rules.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Do tell us how the EU destroyed it?

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Because it is now inseparable from the vision of a socialist, high tax and waste, undemocratic, declining, quack energy, top down, federal disaster area.

          Just as the Tchaikovskys’ Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is now inseparable from Cadbury’s fruit and nut. This matters much less as I did not like the music much and do not mind the chocolate occasionally.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            @lifelogic: Why not free yourself from prejudice? I’m sure the music hasn’t changed.

          • lifelogic
            Posted December 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            It is not my prejudice. It is theft of a pleasant piece of music and using it as the musical flag for the evil growth of a new, totally undemocratic, embryo, EUSSR style tyranny.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            This is quite laughable and shows the extent of your madness or simplicity. How do you feel about classical music being used in advertising to enforce positive thoughts on a product or the use in cartoons, comedy or films? I would not claim to have any knowledge of classical music, but know that it is used quite often for these purposes. Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” in the famous helicopter assault from Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. The Viet Cong love it! Claimed the character Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Peter, if you continue with your supercilious patronising tone you won’t have many British “friends” left, only the small minority who like yourself no longer have any loyalty to their country.

      People like these:

      http://www.euromove.org.uk/index.php?id=6618

      Just remember that without the British you might now be speaking German and giving Nazi salutes, not that this would have bothered some (people-ed) at the time.

      Nevertheless I will duly offer you the season’s greetings.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Well said Denis!

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        What a list of dreadful people.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Dear Denis,
        I cannot find anything arrogant or condescending in my post, unless you are truly over-sensitive! My large British family is still smitten with me and I do have some real friends in Britain as well.
        And of course I acknowledge the British contribution in toppling Hitler (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_War_II_Casualties.svg) and actually, Dutch is often regarded as form of “Lower-German” (Frisian, co-parent of English, is more seen as a distinct language). All this doesn’t hurt my pride. Why do you have to play Fawlty Towers (“don’t mention the war”) on me, I really had expected more sophistication, especially from you. I only keep bothering you lot, because you sometimes seem so much a group of “converted people” preaching to one another.

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          I would like to say that I tried doing what you are doing on Labour List – putting the other side. And I lasted precisely three (censored) posts before I was banned from the site. It says a lot about our host that he tolerates every opinion, however contrary to the general mood.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            @Mike Stallard: I agree 100%.

          • lifelogic
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Indeed well the left have so few rational arguments to put and so have to censor or retaliate with abuse calling you racist or similar. On the right we can just politely point out the glaring faults in the left’s arguments.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          I did mention the war, and with good reason.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: you indeed did mention the war and you may continue to do so. As a baby boomer, not having to live through 2 wars like my parents, I know the EU is and was a project for peace, recently reminded by some Norwegians. If you like to think in terms of war and battle, that is ok with me.

          • Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            Peter – I lived through WW2- in London and survived the Blitz and Hitler’s V1s and V2 rockets.
            It was NATO that kept the post-war peace and NOT the EU. To give the latter a” Peace” prize when all is falling apart is a travesty.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        The Daily Mail was not bothered and as such would believe neither were the readers.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          Happy Christmas. Bazman.

          (Daily Mail reader)

    • APL
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas to you ook, Peter.

      Thanks, I love that piece.

      • APL
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Happy Christmas or Seasons Greetings to you Mr Redwood, thank you for your excellent blog, and too, to all your contributors.

  2. Derek Laud
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    And the thing the ‘king’ most admired about George, was his brains. But most that tell the truth, always knew that George was more interested in the politics of issues rather than the subjects in their own right. That might be the problem for this duo going into the next election:to much politics and not enough understanding of the real issues. Had they been reading their own figures (look at the ‘red book’), this revealed that they were not taking deficit reduction and public spending seriously enough. They used ‘spin’ to disguise the truth from the public. Like Laurie and Hardy, I have a feeling the King might yet have to say, ‘What a terrible mess you have got me into George’ What after that?

    • zorro
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes…..Oliver Cameron and Stan Osborne….’Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into….’

      zorro

  3. lifelogic
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    What should they wish for? Clearly new genetic brains structures for each of them. Ones that are not infected with absurd, emotional and irrational beliefs such as:-
    encouraging the politics of envy,
    the submission to every EU nonsense,
    that higher tax rates raise more taxes,
    that bashing the rich and the bankers will help,
    the absurd renewable energy religion,
    the idea that women and men live the same number of years, have the same motivations and drive with the same accident rates – contrary to all the evidence,
    the idea that UKIP are fruit cakes and closet racists,
    the idea that people can lift themselves off the floor by pulling on their shoe laces,
    the idea that paying health people to do nothing help the economy,
    the idea that a huge state sector, over paid by 50% and mainly doing nothing useful is a good plan,
    the idea that they have any chance whatsoever of being re-elected.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      the idea that a greater Switzerland/Norway are not quite good visions for the UK,
      the idea that continuing counter productive wars, for no good reason other than inertia and to pretend they were not a huge mistake, is a good plan,
      the idea that appointing Lord Patten to the BBC was a good plan.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      the idea that government spend money better than the people who earned it and know what they or their businesses need or which charities the like to support.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      The idea that you can present a turd as a gold nugget just with good PR and spin.

      • Disaffected
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        George and Dave asked the gene for a wish that would transform the fortunes of their party and country. In a flash the wish was granted, Dave and George disappeared into thin air and was replaced by a forty something Maggie Thatcher. She had the intellect, drive and back bone to shore up the weaknesses of the country, her party and fend off the EU. People related to her because they knew she came from an ordinary background and succeeded in life by her own efforts not what mummy and daddy gave her. She could recall how aggressive Germany has been throughout history. Maggie spoke plain language that everyone understood and trusted. Unlike the interfering elf Clegg, who truly does belonged in Brussels, where his ability to talk nonsense in several languages is considered more sophisticated than the ability to make sense in one.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          Dear Disaffected, I enjoyed you making mirth in the one language I understand! Happy Christmas.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Spot on.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Much of you right wing fantasy is based on feelings. The number of times you have been chalanged and found wanting proves this. Music destroyed by the EU. Is that not brainwashing? The idea that if everyone can be sacked this will create more jobs is another

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted December 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps when you can spell the word “challenged” correctly we will take your geopolitical insights seriously. Nevertheless, I always enjoy reading your lefty views, so Happy Christmas!

        JR – thank you for maintaining a civilised, serious blog where all can air their views. I wish you a fruitful New Year.

  4. zorro
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Just in case I don’t get a chance over today, may I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and compliment you on an excellent year of blogging and very readable posts. Merry Christmas to all other posters as well!

    zorro :-)

    • Edward
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Zorro, A happy Christmas to you and just to say how much I enjoy reading ypur posts.

      • Edward
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Typo sorry, The letter “p” is far too close to the letter “o” for my big fingers

  5. Single Acts
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Fairy stories always have a happy ending. It’s why they are fairy stories.

    Our journey may have an all together different outcome as I suspect you and some of the smarter parliamentarians now realise.

  6. matthu
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Then a malevolent genie appeared and suggested: why don’t you do what this Austrian university professor is advocating on his web site?

    You could introduce a global wealth tax – almost certain to make half your electorate happy – and the death penalty (seriously) for all global warming deniers – bound to make the other half happy!

    (supplied link which did not work for me to check it)

    • matthu
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      It seems that the professor decidedly belatedly to pull his link

      (I have deleted ways to find the link he has pulled, and the commentary provided on it. If he has now decided to withdraw the death penalty threat that is good news – ed)

      (One of those in Europe whom some of us are supposedly happy to number amongst our colleagues with common aims for ever greater union.)

      Have a happy Christmas everyone … and let’s all be looking forward to David Cameron’s speech in the New Year!

      [ Will he make it clear what items he is prepared to concede as part of his negotoating strategy? Or would he still be advocating we remain wedlocked to the EU (in some as yet unclear definition of marriage?) if he fails to satisfy his electorate? ]

      • forthurst
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        ” Systematic musicologists who are oriented toward the humanities often make reference to fields such as aesthetics, philosophy, semiotics, hermeneutics, music criticism, Media studies, Cultural studies, gender studies, and (theoretic) sociology.” wiki

        Can somebody please add, “Climate Science and Penology”?

        Merry Xmas to all especially JR whose posts add greatly to our understanding of the complex world in which we live and whose patience in moderating the mutterings of bores and recidivists (ahem) goes well beyond the call of duty.

  7. Murray
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    In my version of story, Sir John the Good joins with Baron Ukip and fight the European genies.

    How about making our wish come true this Christmas? ;-)

  8. Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    This time just let the Goldman Sachs genies sort things out between themselves. One is the new BoE governor, one runs the Fed’s New York desk and another runs the ECB. Left to their own devices they’ll come up with lots of imaginative and colourful solutions.

  9. Elliot Kane
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    This is great stuff, John! Very nicely done! :D

    ***

    I think I prefer a happy ending to the fairytale:

    George fell into a period of depression. While David was busily running the country, and trying his best to keep the rich from leaving and the economy from nose diving, he had little time to work out what the fifth wish was to be. George realised that it was up to him to save his friend.

    So George decided on a little humility. He went around the nation and looked at the things that most worried the people of David’s kingdom. He realised immigration must be controlled, the burden of taxation lessened for all, the amount of bureaucracy vastly reduced, employment prospects increased… The amount of things that needed doing seemed insurmountable. Surely doing so much would be impossible for one wish?

    Glumly, George went back to David and said, “I do not think there is a single wish that could solve our problems. There are just too many of them. But we need to do something, so let’s talk to the genie again.”

    David and George went back to the genie, who looked at them with some trepidation. The genie was none too sure that King David was any better at this than King Gordon had been.

    David looked at George, looked at the genie, then suddenly had a brainwave. “Genie,” he said, “The problems of Britain seem insurmountable, but somewhere there has to be one key policy that will set us on the road to becoming a great nation again, as once we were. I would like you to institute that policy, whatever it is.

    The genie smiled. “Then you are no longer subject to the whims of the European genies,” he said. “You can control your own borders, much of the unnecessary bureaucracy that was strangling your kingdom is gone and you no longer have to pay billions to the EU genies every year. Once again, the destiny of your kingdom lies in the hands of its own rulers.”

    “This is only the start of a long, hard road,” the genie continued. “Being free of the European genies is a firm step along the path to recovery, but there is much more still to do. With no more wishes, everything depends on your own hard work. I wish you well.”

    The genie vanished.

    “This is great,” King David cried in delight, but then he frowned. “I’m not quite sure how I’ll explain it to Queen Angela and King François, though…”

    Reply: Love it!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I think you’ll find that correctly it’s “the Empress Angela”, not a mere Queen.

    • M Davis
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      A brilliant end to a brilliant fairy story, a Happy Christmas to JR and everyone!

    • Edward
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Elliot, thank you for a a great ending to Mr Redwoods excellent fairy story.

    • zorro
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      very good…

      zorro

    • Elliot Kane
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, All :)

      I’m glad you like it :)

      Wishing you all a very merry Xmas :)

  10. Daniel Hewson
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Leave the EU, repatriate all illegal immigrants, leave ECHR, cut small corporation tax, roll national insurance & income tax into a flat tax of 30% on income over 12,000, bring back grammar schools & bring in education vouchers, cut inheritance tax to 10% on inheritances over 1 million, bring in higher council tax bands or land value tax, try & set up a free trade & movement of people with area with the commonwealth anglosphere countries, bring in universal credit with a 50/50 taper, do that lot & you might just see the Tories win in 2015.

    • roger
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Excellent. Spot on. Agree entirely. Sadly it’s a pipe dream.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Alas we are saddled with the Libdems and the socialist Cameron so a pipe dream indeed it will remain.

    • Mark W
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Good idea, alas pipe dream….

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    …….and then came the day of reckoning when David and George were replaced by the Wicked Witch of the Left and all the people who usually followed our two intrepid heroes found a new leader called Nige.

    Merry Christmas………

  12. Steve Cox
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas, John. I hope you have a peaceful and pleasant day. Thanks for keeping us informed and entertained for another year.

    Steve

  13. Old Albion
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas John :) and thanks for allowing me the freedom to comment on here.

  14. Boudicca
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The duo use their last wish to call for a renegotiated balance of powers with the European genies. The UK genie warned them that the European genies would not willingly give up any of their power and they were stronger than the Genie Britannia, because previous duos had given them many powers despite every warning that they were growing too powerful.

    Genie Britannia warned the duo that if the duo tried to negotiate, there was no guarantee of success and the people would be even unhappier and may revolt. He suggested that the duo should simply take back the power that was given to the European genies by withdrawing from their kingdom. If they did this, the Genie Britannia would grow stronger and they would be granted the ability to summon him/her whenever they needed to make use of his/her powers.

    The desperate duo thought about this idea for a short while. But being both inexperienced and cowards at heart, they did not believe the Genie Britannia really could free the country from the power of the European Genies and would then be more able to grant their every wish.

    The cowardly duo chose to try and negotiate – telling the people that they would achieve great things by remaining subservient to the European Genies. However, the European Genies were greatly angered by this decision. Firstly they refused to negotiate. Then they became cunning and pretended to enter into negotiations, whilst secretly plotting amongst themselves to destroy what little power the Genie Britannia still retained.

    Eventually, the European Genies told the duo that there was no longer anything to discuss. The duo were told that the Genie Britannia had to be destroyed so that the European Genies could have complete control – forever. The duo were stunned that their wish had resulted in such a calamity but they had given away all of Genie Britannia’s power and now they could do nothing about it as they had no wishes left.

    The people were no longer merely angry – they were apoplectic with rage. They blamed the duo and all their predecessors for not listening to the Genie Britannia OR the people, who had warned many years previously that the European Genies were becoming far too powerful and had to be stopped.

    Fortunately, the Genie Britannia had one last spell to throw at the European Genie – but by using it, he/she would also destroy the duo and many, many others who had made such poor decisions for so long. The spell was called PEOPLE POWER. The Genie summoned up all his/her strength – chanting the magic words as he/she did so:

    People of Britannia, rise again
    Throw off the EU’s chains
    No longer be under the EU’s whip
    Call out with me …… vote UKIP.

    And the people listened and did as they were told.

    The duo and their cronies disappeared in a puff of smoke – and were never seen again.
    The European Genies realised that their powers no longer worked in Britannia. They huffed and puffed and fumed from their castles – but there was nothing they could do.

    Genie Britannia had recovered all his her powers and would never surrender them again.

  15. alan jutson
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    This is all too much for me John.

    Only one wish left !

    But before they use it, both David and George think they perhaps should do a little more investigation into the history of the lamp given their past problems with it, so a select committee was formed, to which the genie was invited to attend.

    After much questioning it came to light that the genie was not real.

    The genie was not a person at all, but a simple illusion (a dream), what is more it was found that the lamp was not an ancient product with a track history at all, but a simple fake, designed, built and smuggled into No 10 only a few years ago by a well known manufacturer of illusions.

    The Company, Browns from Scotland, had a history of such products and was found to now be now seeking independence in an effort to escape full UK Regulation.

    Given the above both Dave and George decided that they would not use this lamp again as it had proved useless in the past.
    Instead they pledged to design and manufacture a new lamp, but this time using only simple old technology which everyone could understand, with designers and manufacturers who had a proven track record of success.

    Unfortunately the plans for this lamp are still with the civil service, who have yet to complete a sensible and understandable bill of quantities for it to be put out to competitive tender.

    Only time will tell if the new lamp is eventually built.

    Reply: Thanks for responding in kind, and for all your contributions this year.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      John

      Many thanks for your daily postings, and for your unique insight into the world of politics and finance.

      What a shame for the country that your talent is not recognised by those who presently hold power.

      I wish you and yours (and all readers) a merry Christmas, and hope for all of our sakes, that next year will be a better year for us all.

      • Disaffected
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Well said.

      • Manof Kent
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Seconded!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Thirded.

      • Edward
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        I agree with all you say, Alan, your talent with words speak simply and well for many of us when you compliment the excellent Mr Redwood.

      • roger
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes well said. Thank you John. Happy Christmas to you, your family
        and your many excellent contributors.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Alan – No-one likes a teacher’s pet.

        • alan jutson
          Posted December 25, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          E K

          Note to self:

          Must remember to bring in the apples !.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    As there’s only one wish left, I would use it to arrange for all the members of the present Parliament to be visited by the Ghosts of Parliaments Past, Present and Future.

    That would be both the elected members in the Commons, and the appointed members in the Lords, almost all of whom need to be brought to repentance for their betrayal of our country, and its people, and its freedom and democracy.

    As Parliament is still sovereign, the supreme legal authority for our country, that single change would be enough to start the process of solving all other problems.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Nice one Dennis, and this without citing an authoritative source which makes your contributions apart and above many others. Happy Christmas.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        And Happy Christmas to you too!

        • Edward
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          Happy Christmas to you Denis and thank you for your excellent posts which contain so much interesting well researched detail about our relationship with the EU.
          I am so much better informed by regular readings of Mr Redwood’s articles and other contributions such as yours.
          Thank you to you all.

  17. bluedog
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Obviously I’m on the wrong track. For sometime it seemed the story would end with David and George getting married and living happily ever after, as all good ‘fairy’ stories do end.

    But no.

    John Redwood for Treasurer.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    However George has already decided what he wants – to stay in the EU, but only as part of the EU single market.

    And, yes, I know it’s very hard to credit, but he even came out with Hague’s tired old cliche, vintage 1997, about being “in Europe, not run by Europe”:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9764032/George-Osborne-wants-single-market-role-in-EU.html

    Obviously he and his colleagues haven’t read the small print on the lamp:

    “… they could ask for the very difficult but not for the impossible”.

  19. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Well I know one-trick parties are decried, but with only one wish left Dave and George are going to have to find something that defies precedent. Fortunately, such is available, and all they have to do is wish it to be so; plus a lot of hard work to bring it about, but they are used to that.

    So the final wish was to make the whole country Eurosceptic. This opened the door for Dave to announce a new policy of withdrawing from the EU, which made him very popular. Of course, the European genies did not like this one bit, but Dave dismissed them with a wave of his hand as now irrelevant.

    So with policy set the hard work of implementation began, but when they got down to it it turned out not to be nearly so hard as they had feared. Their master stroke was to plan the future around the British Commonwealth, which made a lot of people in the Commonwealth happy too. And in particular it made the Queen happy too – not Dave’s queen, you understand, but the Queen’s Dave, if you see what I mean.

    And they all lived happily ever after, including the Europeans who relished a new found freedom to get on uninhibited with their own plans.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      If instant eurosceptism is beyond the Genie’s powers, then how about a document written by Sir Ernest Gowers (author of “The Complete Plain Words” for the Civil Service) describing the realities of EU membership to which Dave and George put their names, circulated to all the people: it which would have the same effect.

  20. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    John, thanks for another stimulating year. Happy Christmas, and all the best for 2013.

  21. NickW
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    David and George realised that the mess made by the failed King Gordon could not be cleaned up by the good fairy Democracy, because she was not allowed to do anything that the people would not like.

    So David and George went to the Genie and said; “We do not want to be Kings and Lords in 2015, for the future will bring only pain; Give us a policy that will make sure that we are not made King and Chancellor in 2015.” And they rubbed the lamp.

    And the genie gave them “Gay marriage”. Because he was bound to carry out their wishes, but in his heart the genie was filled with sorrow, because he knew that David and George needed only to have asked him for the courage to do what they knew to be right, and the wisdom to know what WAS right, for both these things they sorely lacked.

    Merry Christmas and Best wishes to all.

  22. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I’m in favour of a happy ending to this tale too John so George and David decide to form a suicide pact. They link arms and jump into the Thames never to be seen again.

    On a more cordial note, thank you for all of your excellent contributions throughout the year and I look forward to similar in 2013. A very merry Christmas to you.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Only one more wish! King David and George wondered aloud if their last wish could be to ask for five more wishes. On reflection they thought that was much too big a risk to take. They needed a wish that would reverse the nasty things their earlier wishes had brought about.

    “I know what we should wish for that will solve all our problems” said George. “What is that?” asked King David. “We should wish that we are sitting on the biggest and best shale gas field in the world!” cried George. “Then all our troubles will be over. Our coffers will be full of lovely money.” “But won`t the European genie be very, very unhappy if we do that?” asked King David. “Yes” replied George, “but lets do it anyway. Wishful thinking is something we are really good at!”

    A Happy Xmas and New Year to JR and all posters here.

  24. Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    According to the Russia Today oracle the next step will be the usual one for a right wing government….

    a war to distract people from the issues.
    http://rt.com/news/uk-military-nato-gulf-691/

  25. Ludwig
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, I wish you and all the posters on your blog (yes, even Bazman) a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Ludwig

      Guarantee if Bazman has a turkey, he will possibly

      “Ram it”

      But with stuffing. !

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    It was Christmas Eve and Dave invited George for a drink and a mince pie. They soon began to fret again about their unpopularity but didn’t have any ideas that they could offer to the genie. They wondered if there were any other aids to popularity in Downing Street so they decided to search the attic and see what they could find. They were just about to give up when, behind a lot of clutter, they came across a mirror on the wall . Underneath the mirror was a plaque which read: ” This mirror has magic properties and will tell you who is the most popular in the land”. Dave was excited to find this and quickly asked the mirror who was the most popular in the land. He gazed into the mirror and saw his own reflection fade away to be replaced by not one face, but two – Mayor Johnson of London and Baron Farage of UKIP. Dave cried out in dismay. His old friend Goerge decided he too would test the mirror’s magic. He pushed Dave to one side, stood in front of the mirror and asked who was the most popular in the land. For some time the mirror showed his own reflection with his rictus grin, but suddenly his face also began to fade away and a new face appeared – Baron Redwood of Wokingham!
    Merry Christmas John and all your readers.

  27. David Saunders
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Dave & George did not get married but ran away together to a far off land.

    Best wishes JR and thanks for Diary. always worth reading.

  28. merlin
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    My wand is raised and abracadabra, Great Britain is an independent Nation State once more and has left the nasty, horrible Euro genie land, and everyone in the Uk lives happily ever after.

    From Merlin, just having a break from the knights and king Arthur, wishing you all a very merry and magical Christmas, I’ll see if I can conjure up a spell so everyone can have an astounding 2013! Have to disappear Morgana Pendragon is using her crystal ball to locate me.

  29. Sue Doughty
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    they should use their last wish to suspend the carbon tax indefinitely

  30. Sue Doughty
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas John. More power to your elbow.

  31. forthurst
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    As the time for his subjects to reaffirm their fealty to their Lord and Master, King Dave the Right On, his Chancellor, George, was summoned before His presence to give his report on the state of the economy and that of his army of retainers in the country in order to decide His best use of the final wish to the genie of the lamp.

    ” The situation in the country is desperate; Wallace the Bolshie whom most believed was made of Plasticene and no threat to your continuous rule, transpires to have been making plausible speeches and has been plotting all along to infiltrate Your estate with supporters from abroad and directed them to all corners of Your realm and there to multiply and to sap the Treasury of all the gold therein to sustain their lives to standards to which they were unaccustomed in their own third world countries.

    There is now no gold left to create the ‘feelgood factor’ and motivate your troops to turn out to vote. Furthermore, many of your followers have become restive and have deserted in droves to the camp of Nige the Pretender who has promised to give them their own country back and more with no strings attched.”

    “This is even worse than I thought. Perhaps there is only one thing left for us to do; we need to ask the genie to save our miserable skins, so that when Wallace the Bolshie deploys his alien army to overthrow us and declare the new multiculti commonwealth of angry minorities, we will not be sent to the Tower together with all those who protected the old white order of closet racists.”

    Wallace the Bolshie duely came to power and his supporters rioted with pure joy as they celebrated the demise of the (nasty?ed) people whose reign of misrule finally had been overthrown. Meanwhile, the genie had been as good as his word and Dave and George were safely on their way to live out their banishment in the comfort of an Ivory Tower in Brussels.

  32. Alte Fritz
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    My prediction is that in 2015, someone will have to kiss a lot of frogs (and I don’t mean M Hollande) in order to find a prince then contract a gay marriage whilst working on the Abolition of Motor Vehicles (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill to preserve remaining fossil fuels for what remains of manufacturing industry.

  33. Vanessa
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with this idiotic fairy story is that is exactly what is happening – now and in the last government. The 4 people who supposedly make the rules in this country by which we all have to abide are so out of touch with ordinary people and who have never worked nor run any other kind of organisation that they are incapable of sitting on an idea and DEBATING it with honest, intelligent people. All the rubbish coming out of No.10 is so infantile and unbaked that the unintended consequences usually amount to a withdrawing of the rule (tax on hot pasties) and egg all over the cabinet’s faces. How we are ever to respect and abide by these rules dreamt up by nincompoos is beyond me. Bring on the election – you haven’t a hope!

  34. Barbara1
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, the lamp was oil-fired and therefore confiscated under COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 276/2010 of 31 March 2010, amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards Annex XVII (dichloromethane, lamp oils and grill lighter fluids and organostannic compounds).

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:086:0007:0012:en:PDF

    George and Dave slunk away, hoping no-one would notice that their one last chance had been removed by a body said to have no impact on UK sovereignty..

    Have a ‘fraccing’ good Christmas, everyone!

  35. Badger Bill
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    There are two new genies to join the EU genies, that of Romania and Croatia who will require their people to seek better treasure in the home of the Brittania genie and live off Brittania’s people. To be provided with the welfare that the DWP are now advertising in brochures so that new incomers can live as well as those who have worked all their lives. Yea, they will receive many benfits including houses and funds to keep them happy in Brittania.

    Thus spake the genie of the Daily Mail in today’s issue of wise words.

    Verily the people of Brittania will become more lumbered and more poor by the powerful and all ruling EU genies! The lesser genies of Brittania will be powerless to resist the new genies. Brittania’s people who will continue to bare any burden imposed upon them from all genies be they from the EU or within Brittania without any protest.

  36. Electro-Kevin
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    … and the great pantomime dame of Tory Christmasses past arrived stage right and declared to David “If you don’t stop being such a bad boy there won’t be an egg under the bonfire for you this Christmas.” before hitting him with her handbag.

    You were a beacon of sanity for me … until I read your meanderings on this excellent (but obviously sherry inspired) post.

    Happy Christmas to you and yours, Mr Redwood.

    Also to your readers (including the Lefties) And thank you for tolerating me.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      The genie (a thespian in reality) topped up his mascara and said to David “Some quid pro quo is in order. Perhaps we can do a deal on the EU thingy.

      I WANT MY WHITE WEDDING ! “

  37. william
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    5 November,2013?

  38. Chris Rickard
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    If Dave wants to stay as “king” he should ask the genie for a new Treasurer. I like the implication of the article that the two together have one more chance before its curtains and, for George, it can’t come soon enough. Spending more in 5 years than Labour managed in 13 is tragic for this country. So much for austerity. As for economic growth, he’s done nothing. His policy seems to be tight fiscal policies but incredibly loose monetary policies. That hasn’t worked partly because his tight fiscal policies have been applied to capital not current sensing. It shoud be the other way around. We need lower current spending to finance lower tax; alternative forms of debt capital for businesses and investment in infrastructure. The sad part is, I think Dave would rather fail than part company with his Treasurer.

  39. Badger Bill
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    A merry Christmas to you and yours andall your followers and long may you continue to enliven and educate us with your writings!

    • Jon
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear!

  40. Jon
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    They should wish for a mandate referendum.

    Happy Christmas!

  41. Bert Young
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Very much enjoyed all this banter . Sorry that PvL has not yet been converted ; he may do better with a resolution for the New Year . I wish you Dr.JR and all your bloggers ” A very merry Christmas “.

  42. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Then along came the fairy godmother and changed perceptions of what true value was and all lived happily ever after ,except those spiteful creatures who kept cinders in the cellar whilst the ugly minded thought of nothing but show and brass.

  43. Mark W
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas John

    Thank you for the time you dedicate to this genuinely informative and unrestricted blog. It’s a breath of fresh air to see one who can meet opponents head on.

  44. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    If the genie gets fed up then he could always try the Fish.
    Oh Fish of the Sea come back to me for Alice(David) my wife , the bain of my life, has sent me to ask a boon of thee.

  45. Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    John, perhaps the moral of your fairy tale is that there are too many genies and too much smoke and mirrors.

    Margaret Thatcher had it right when she boiled it down to household economics. Throw away the magic lantern and let’s get the debt down.

    Wishing you and your family and all contributors here a happy and peaceful Christmas.

  46. uanime5
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Soon the UK was sprouting windmills everywhere. Energy prices went up to put people off creating so much carbon.

    Wait if the energy was coming from wind turbines, which don’t produce CO2, then why did energy prices need to go up?

    Will our duo use their last wish to get it right?

    Well if they wished for a general election then they wouldn’t be in charge and after a few years people would stop blaming them for everything that goes wrong.

  47. David Price
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    A merry Christmas and happy new year to you John, your readers and contributors. Thanks for a stimulating and educational blog.

  48. rd
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    No fairy story ends with gay marriage.

  49. Barbara
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The Genie had one last request to it’s master, “Stop lying to the people.” He said to the King, and to the treasurer he looked hard, “You too, should learn the heart of telling the truth, or you both will sink into the mire.”
    The King and the Treasurer had red faces, they thought they had another chance with the genie, but there were no other chances left, the people were hungry, out of work, and no money. Food banks helped a bit but didn’t really feed people well, the food was mostly out of date and unsavoury. The weather was cold and small children shivered from lack of warmth. The genie said, “You two are very rich so how do you know how the poor fair, the
    people are so poor now they are almost staving and have to rely on charity to survive, do you both realise the pain many are suffering, more importantly do you care?
    “We do care, they have welfare, yes, we’ve cut it severely but we had to, we had to give more to international aid some 15 billion, we can’t do it all.” The King said, looking guilty.
    The treasurer said nothing but was adding up his figures. “I will have to cut again soon as we hope to have more tax cuts for those who are working, they have to be rewarded first.”
    The genie smiled, I’m going to stop growth if this greed continues, then no one will be rewarded, what you should be doing is creating jobs, but protecting the poor much better while you do it, or we will all land in the mire.”
    “I’ll put you all on good measure until the new year, if improvements are forthcoming by then, I’ll go back into my bottle and wait for better days, for you both will not be worth helping anymore.”
    The King and the Treasurer were pale with fright, the thought of no growth filled them with fear; but the thought of the people being against them made them more fearful. They started a new process almost at once. A decree was issued; from the new year they would begin plans to withdraw from the EU, that would make the people happier. Promises can be broken later, like we’ve done before. The false sense of security reigned once more.

  50. forthurst
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Wrong address; correct address address terminates with an ‘I’ not a ‘1’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liQtluB877I

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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