The OBR and Bank plan a Christmas tea party



Treasury, Bank and OBR officials organise a Christmas event


Well , said the Chairman of the working group, we need a party to brighten things up after so much talk of austerity. Are there any preliminary issues?


Yes, said the Treasury, we need to make sure it is within the spending rules so we can claim the costs.


Careful, said another, can we call it something other than a party. We do not want anyone outside saying we are having an unfunded party on the taxpayer, do we?


That cannot happen, said another. We have been quite clear in all our statements that the only thing that can be unfunded is a tax cut. We have never allowed any of the spending rises to be categorised as  unfunded.


We do need to be careful about parties after all the fuss over the lockdown ones, said a cautious official who did not  fancy being dragged before some future enquiry if things went wrong.


So how did the pandemic gatherings  work, said a recent joiner?


Well the Cabinet Office usually organised them and sent out the invites. They said they were work events. Treasury signed off on that basis. Then we got the Prime Minister to pop into the odd one telling him he just needed to encourage the officials for a few minutes so if anything went wrong he would be blamed. It worked very well.


So how can we make sure this one  is OK?  


We could theme it as  review of the year and send round a few graphs and charts to make it look more serious. Hardly any of the politicians understand how we do the numbers, and when one starts to probe we change them to make them unintelligible you know.


What if anyone took that bit seriously? It’s a bit of hostage to fortune. Have you seen how badly wrong the Bank was on inflation? It looks as if the Bank had the Mad Hatter’s watch.Their model never seems to tell the inflation right.


Pity they didn’t have a watch like his. His didn’t pretend to tell the time. That was too difficult. It just told the date. More chance of getting that right. Silly idea to try to forecast inflation.


Still didn’t work for the Mad Hatter  though. It got the date wrong anyway. Butter got in the works 


That’s a bit rich said the Bank. We have always made sure our watch does not forecast money  and credit in the way thise mad monetarists want. Far too difficult. Though we call our committee the Monetary Policy Committee we just forecast inflation by looking at expectations. As we manage expectations  by saying inflation will be 2% it should always come back to that.  I thought the OBR had the Mad Hatter’s watch to tell us the borrowing. How many times now have they overdone the gloom and told us it is going to be far bigger than it is?


Well, said the OBR,  the whole idea is to make sure the dreadful politicians never get their tax cut. It’s all in a good cause you know to have models that terrify them. We make the models say what we want them to say. They say there is No Headroom! No headroom! So when the politicians say there is headroom, or put in low spending figures to create headroom, the OBR always has some bad news in store so there is no headroom. 


Oh do stop this. No-one wants to be talking about all this once the event has started. It’s just cover for the invites which could otherwise  be spotted as a frivolous party.


Shouldn’t we just consider this issue of spending versus tax cuts? There is a lot of fuss about it and Ministers do not seem to be very happy.


The thing that works best is Headroom. We keep saying there is no headroom for tax cuts, and they keep repeating it.  So just tell any politicians who wants a tax cut there is no Headroom. The OBR did a great job showing a huge fall in migration which they say means less revenue,  and in saying all the increases in public spending were not real terms rises. 


The best wheeze is getting the politicians  to sign up to making our forecast of the deficit in five years time as the main control said the OBR . No-one can possibly know what it is, so we can make it anything we like. More to the point in five year’s time everyone with any luck will have forgotten what we said so we are never wrong.


But aren’t we meant to tell the truth?


Yes of course, but truth is in the eye of the beholder.

To us it is true that unfunded tax cuts are a  bad idea. We are so much better at spending people’s money than they are.  Some of them have too much money and spend it just on pleasure. That is not right.

It is true that more public spending must be a good idea. After all, we receive the benefits ourselves of the extra spending, and we can say we are helping the poor and needy. We also need to have plenty of money to carry on paying the EU and all those hotels for migrants.

We can always say if we get asked that our forecasts would be  better if we spent more on them and had more people to help. It’s like time with the Mad Hatter. We can make it what we want it to be. 


So how will we pay if there is not enough tax revenue?

Well the Bank found  plenty of money down a money well a few years ago

That gave us £450 billion more to spend. It was great fun while it lasted.


Yes, but we cannot do that again now. The Bank says the money well has dried up.


But why doesn’t the Bank help us out? They  have a direct claim on the Treasury for anything they lose. Just automatic pay outs whenever  they want. Maybe we should ask the Bank to include the event as part of their losses, and say it is part of the costs of the  review into why they have got butter in the works of their inflation model.


Another bright official who was good at finding ways to do things said Why don’t we lose it as debt interest? One of the ways we are scaring the politicians into avoiding  too many tax cuts is to show them a huge debt interest figure. We doubled it by putting in all those non cash items and got away with it. So surely a small item of extra spending could be booked in there as dealing with the debt?


Careful said a senior. We have done so well with the debt interest adjustments , we don’t want a small thing triggering any suspicion by one of the few anoraks out there who insists on looking at it.


The meeting rambled on with everyone saying what they meant some of the time or meaning what they said some of the time. Was this event capital or running costs? Was it a review or a work meeting? How  did they get the drinks in  without causing any worries? 


They remembered that when the Bank was rumbled with too much inflation, they said it was merely transitory. That was such a good word, as some of the politicians did not know what it meant, and others wanted to repeat it because it sounded so grown up and technical. 


They talked so long they missed out on story time. Some missed the nostalgia over finding the money well and getting away with £450 bn from it before things went wrong. They had loved the £350 bn increase in annual public spending in just four years. It was even better they did not have to do anything extra  for all that money and could now work from home for much of the time. 


So they concluded that they could hold an event on the taxpayer. They would argue it was not unfunded. it would be dressed up as a review of the year just gone, accompanied by complex graphs. It would be seen as a one off transitory spend  that could come out of the contingency fund.


 If any Minister queried it, which was extremely unlikely, they would say it was in lieu of recruiting the extra forecasting staff they really needed to get the butter out of the works of their models. Best if a Minister was invited to pop in to launch it. Such a pity, they concluded, that the money well was closed. One day, perhaps in a couple of years time, they would be able to reopen it and live happily ever after.



  1. Javelin
    December 15, 2023

    The problem with the BofE is they use a committee to decide. Committees will always be late making decisions.

    A committee should be used to advise and a leader needs to decide. When I see an organisation making decisions later than needed I realise it is run by a technocracy rather than a leader. Late interest rate setting by the BofE is a solid example of slow coaches cause problems.

    Another good example are international treaties that were forged in the hubris of victory. The problem is those treaties are never perfect and can’t predict future situations. In those circumstances a true leader will not be afraid to drop out the treaty and tell the previous signatories the text of a new treaty they will now be following.

    1. formula57
      December 23, 2023

      @ Javelin – you mean leaders like our city mayors and police and crime commissioners?

      1. Javelin
        December 23, 2023

        If a leader is voted in and enacts a policy that was in their manifesto then your only complaint should be that YOU didn’t support the opposition enough.

        Other policies (like ULEZ) that have a significant effect on people’s lives should need to show significant harm is happening within the political term.

        The reason I am opposed to ULEZ is that the study over-egged the harm, didn’t need an action within a political term and could have gone to a ballot, and could have been implemented by phasing out polluting vehicles slowly.

        The political remediation with Khan’s procedurally suspect ULEZ policy lies with weak or biased regulators, but not with the principle that assertive leadership is sometimes needed.

        1. formula57
          December 23, 2023

          @ Javelin – recall city mayors with too extensive powers was another bad idea from Gordon Brown. Mayor Khan may well have failed to get his unnecessary ULEZ notions passed by a committee.

          1. glen cullen
            December 23, 2023

            This tory government could disband the role of city/regional mayors at any time ….they choice not too

      2. Ian Wraggg
        December 23, 2023

        Very funny John except it isn’t because it’s true.
        We are being lied too at every angle by these unelected Quangos
        The country is going down the pan whilst the great and good lecture us on our behaviour
        Marxist thinking on net zero, heat pumps and cars.
        You asked for our vote to get Brexit dine. You failed. Never again.

        1. Lemming
          December 23, 2023

          Well said, Ian. 13 years of Conservative government and JR asks us to believe the shambles is everybody’s fault except the Conservative government

          1. glen cullen
            December 23, 2023

            I suppose that in theory the government could disband the OBR, and control & instruct the BoE …..ha ha ha ….not a chance

      3. Peter
        December 23, 2023

        Meanwhile Charles Moore in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ discusses the promotion of so-called ‘assisted dying’ with never any articles on the case against.

        It is one step from this to the situation where governments actively encourage suicide for certain individuals. Canada being a prime example of this.

        It is also symptomatic of the decline in Christian beliefs.

        1. Mickey Taking
          December 24, 2023

          Although I am a great advocate of reducing numbers in the H of L, and indeed the H of C, I don’t think we should encourage them to do the honourable thing that way!

    2. Lifelogic
      December 23, 2023

      Gianni Agnelli, one time CEO of Fiat, said “The right number for a board of directors is an odd number less than five and it is not three.” Committees tend to suffer from deluded group think. We saw this with HS2, The Millennium dome, the ERM, the EURO, Net Zero, the net harm lockdown, the net harm new tech Covid vaccine still being pushed, the bombing of Libya, the vast size of the UK government which delivers so little of value…

      Governments indeed think they are “are so much better at spending people’s money than they are”. The complete reverse is almost always the case. People are far better at efficient spending and investment.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 23, 2023

        King Charles to knight Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby for his ‘personal service’ to the Crown in New Year Honours List I see.

        The new years honours list is always rather a sick joke with circa 80% totally undeserving (baroness Mone, Lord Cameron of Greensill/Libya types, political party “donors” mixed with perhaps just 20% truly worthy. So a deluded, highly political (very foolishly), hypocritical, climate alarmists, lover of quack medicine King rewards a deluded, political, hypocritical, climate alarmist Bishop. I suppose that at least Welby did not have to buy his honour with a “contribution” to any party funds or some Prince Charles “Charity”!

    3. miami.mode
      December 23, 2023

      Like the guy said “When did you ever see a statue of a committee?”.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 23, 2023


  2. Lifelogic
    December 15, 2023

    So will the Bank and OBR be demanding a move to a four day week but for five days pay like Defra? A 25% pay increase? Should do wonders for state sector productivity, if that is they do actually produce anything of much value. How are the private sector expected to be competitive when taxes and regulated to death. Public spending has risen from 35% to 46% in just twenty years with very little of value being delivered. That is the main cause of the economic problems.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 15, 2023

      Sunak yesterday “in January we are starting to cut people’s taxes as well”. Does Sunak know he is lying and not care, or is he just totally deluded and incompetent. Taxes are still rising. We had the £10TV tax increase and million of households face 15pc council tax rise as Labour councils warn of bankruptcy.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 15, 2023

      FCA trying to bring in active anti-white male racial discrimination too calling for “Complier Explain” surely pure evil. As Mogg pointed out on his excellent programme yesterday. Please can we have the best people for the job on merit that gives the best outcome. Boycott AVIVA perhaps anyway insurance is usually a waste of money as you just end up paying mainly for the insurance comp. profits, overheads and then others fraudulent claims. Plus you have the hassle of buying it snd claiming. Like lottery tickets it is usually a very bad deal.

      1. Christine
        December 23, 2023

        I will be boycotting AVIVA when my house insurance runs out in April. I can’t abide discrimination. It’s up to all of us to push back against this policy. If the masses vote with their wallet then the policy will be overturned. We owe this to our children and grandchildren. Nip it in the bud before other institutions try to follow suit. We have already seen this so-called positive discrimination with the BBC and charities.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 23, 2023


          Insurance in general is a very bad deal (most of the premium goes in 12% IPT tax, company overheads, profits, loads of fraudulent or exaggerated claims). If you legally have to insure often best to take a high excess and self insure for small claims. Unless that is you are a rather high risk but can get cover for a standard premium. Even when you do claim they often just claw it back in higher premiums after the claim.

        2. Ian Wraggg
          December 23, 2023

          Me too

  3. DOM
    December 23, 2023

    Tax cuts, the private sector, a smaller State, free speech are all evil, far right, misogynistic, racist and erm, I can’t think of any other slanders at present…oh and homophobic and chauvinistic. This repulsive politics based on Stalinist slander using false allegations and destructive pejoratives should be a civil offence.

    We are up against a subtle form of evil

    1. MFD
      December 23, 2023

      Agreed Dom, total communist evil!

  4. formula57
    December 23, 2023

    I was apprehensive about reading your Christmas diary after last year’s shock disclosure about Santa’s elves coming over all bolshie through working from home but this piece seems so true to life I am unfazed. Let them party I say, mindful as I am of Thomas Gray’s line “Alas, regardless of their doom, The little victims play”.

    A merry Christmas to you and a happy New Year. Thank you afresh for all your considerable efforts.

  5. Mark B
    December 23, 2023

    Good morning.

    There is only one ‘Tea Party’ that is what I want to see – A Bostonian type of ‘Tea Party’.

    Roll on next year.

    1. Donna
      December 23, 2023


  6. BOF
    December 23, 2023

    Happy Christmas to you and yours Sir John.

    May God help this benighted country in our hour of need.

    1. Atlas
      December 23, 2023

      Seconded by me – Have a good Christmas Sir J.

      1. MFD
        December 23, 2023

        And me! Its great to have a grown up conversation with no one trying to frighten the pants of me.
        The most used word last year was

        Do they really think we believe them!

        Happy Christmas every body😆👏

  7. Donna
    December 23, 2023

    I wonder if it would be possible for a party infiltrator to spike all their drinks and knock them out for the next year or so?

    Things might start to improve if the Wreckers are comatose.

  8. David Andrews
    December 23, 2023

    Thank you for your diary, a daily read for me. Happy Xmas and New Year.

  9. Denis Cooper
    December 23, 2023

    Dear Sir John, this will be my last Christmas offering comments on this blog, even it continues after the general election. So I will thank you for the comments that you published and regret the ones that you did not publish, but either way it never made any significant practical difference which could possibly have justified the time and effort expended, and it will make even less difference after the election when your party will no longer be in power, even if it still exists. In fact tidying up my files has been a profoundly depressing experience, it seems that nothing ever changes except to get worse and I think there is a strong case for just closing my eyes and ignoring it all.

    1. Timaction
      December 23, 2023

      Goodbye and good luck Denis. I agree with your sentiments but have learnt a great deal of facts from you. The rest of us need to keep chipping away at every opportunity, fund and support Reform.

    2. Mickey Taking
      December 24, 2023

      I won’t pry into your reasons, but regret the decision. At times you went on and on – but always had very pertinent points to make.
      Perhaps stopping the posts and not reading the blog any more will assist losing stress!
      Best wishes.

    3. Margaret
      December 24, 2023

      How do you know that you have not made a difference? You have made a difference to my life as your texts are organised and sensible and I feel a sense of relief in contrast to the aggressive bigotry of others here.
      In my profession every single individual is as important as the next and if I made a difference to just one,I would feel it was all worth it.

  10. glen cullen
    December 23, 2023

    Same for the many thousand quango’s

  11. Denis Cooper
    December 23, 2023

    The Telegraph has an interview with Sir James Dyson in which he says:

    “If you’ve got growth, a bit of inflation doesn’t matter. If you get inflation down and kill growth, I think you’re in trouble.”

    Which reminded me of one of my many pointless comments, from August 2022:

    “The ECB or the MPC raising domestic interest rates will have a minimal effect on global commodity prices, under present circumstances the main cause of domestic inflation, but will potentially have a major effect on domestic economic activity. Putting the external value of your inanimate currency before the economic well being of your human population is in my view setting the wrong order of priorities. If the excess domestic inflation was being generated internally through an excessively high rate of economic growth then obviously that would be a different matter, but for the most part that is not the case.

    At least in the UK we can have this debate and our government can possibly adjust the remit of the MPC.”

    But they chose not to use that particular “Brexit freedom”, and now we are on the brink of recession.

    1. XY
      December 23, 2023

      I agree with your assessment of the flawed economics. However, it goes back to my own futile point, which I have raised at times here in the past: the “science” of economics itself is not advancing as it needs to.

      Just looking at the example of being “on the brink of recession”, the adjusted ONS figures are -0.1% growth last quarter. That is the smallest notch on their yardstick and if we see the same next quarter then we will also see much wailing and wringing of hands “Oh my God no, we’re in recession, we’re in recession!”.

      If we were seeing -7% growth I could understand the concern, but -0.1% is not even within the limits of accuracy of the ONS since we have seen them adjust their figures years later by as much as 1.7%.

      In the end, if we see two quarters of -0.1% then how much worse off are we than if it had been +0.1%? Or that two quarters of 0.0% (no growth + or -)? Nobody worries if growth drops from 2.4% to 2.2%, so why do we worry about breaching this technical threshold? But yet we will see businesses pulling n their horns, reducing recruiitment, laying people off, cost cutting – and all the other utterly dense things the so-call “captians of industry” do in such circumstances. It’s a circus. Economics is a tale told by an idiot, full of … well, you know the rest.

      Which is why I empathise with your views on the futility of trying to fix things via a blog where it is largely preaching to the converted. I am wondering the same – why bother?

      Reply This blog is read by many who are not of the same view!

  12. agricola
    December 23, 2023

    The political and financial constraits we are forced to live under, short of emmigration, are far too serious to be satirised. Thanks to this bunch of cowboys in Westminster we are now in recession. There is one plus, in all that they do, is that the electorate become increasingly aware and clear the swamp on the chosen day.
    Those currently in power largely and arrogantly thrive on power for powers sake. They must be replaced by those who would use power to enhance the UK and the lives of the British Citizens within it. A repetition of recent years is too appalling to contemplate.

  13. Berkshire Alan
    December 23, 2023

    Why am I left with a feeling that this tale may actually be true ?
    Probably because it is so near to the truth !

    Thanks for the daily postings John, always a first read in the morning over a cup tea.
    Wishing you and your family, and all contributors to this site, a happy Christmas.

    Good job I have my ICE car, as EV charging points, Trains, Buses, and Planes, look likely to be in short supply over the next few days for those who are travelling any distance.

  14. Christine
    December 23, 2023

    JR, bankers are clever and often devious people. Actions from the BoE and the treasury all point to the coming Great Reset which will wipe out the middle classes but preserve the wealth of the rich. For their wealth to be protected it has to be moved out of the banks. What safer harbour is there than government bonds, the last financial instruments to fall and one that will be protected until the bitter end, hence the reason the BoE is selling? Every seller needs a buyer. The major banks have been quietly changing their terms of condition to have ‘bail-ins’ whereby the depositors lose their investment. The BoE digital currency will be heralded as the saviour of the currency collapse but in their document and the speech by the deputy governor last week people will only be allowed to hold a maximum of 20k. So in one catastrophic moment, the debt of the major countries is wiped out and paid for by the little people. This is my Christmas fairy tale.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 23, 2023

      I don’t know why the Bank is selling gilts but I do know that the effect will be to take money out of the economy and return it to its original status of “Central Bank Money”, thus stifling the economic growth we seriously need with the tortuous Brexit process and the pandemic and the war in Ukraine – to put those three in chronological order rather than in order of their economic significance, which would put Brexit not first but last by a long way.

      If you look at this letter from Alistair Darling to Mervyn King dated March 3 2009:

      you will see that Darling authorised the use of “Central Bank Money” for the purchase of assets including gilts, and indemnified the Bank against any losses, and made it clear that the Treasury’s Debt Management Office would continue to sell new gilts to fund the budget deficit while the Bank bought up previously issued gilts – a
      clever trick that became known here and elsewhere as the “money-go-round”.

      And because in essence the Bank and its subsidiary were rigging the gilts market in favour of the Treasury, before it started up a single piece of secondary legislation was rushed through without any debate in Parliament, let alone a vote, an order to exempt these operations from the normal regulatory scrutiny by the FSA:

      “Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Exemption) (Amendment) Order 2009”,

      which had been rushed through on January 29 2009.

  15. Cynic
    December 23, 2023

    Thank you for providing your excellent, informative, diary. I am grateful that you are so generous with your time; and that you allow so many diverse comments. Reading some of them myself, I feel your pain. Merry Xmas.

  16. Cortona
    December 23, 2023

    Would love to know John Redwood’s views on the story of Julius Caesar?
    Managed to watch BBC 3 hour documentary this week and was seismic viewing to learn the story properly. I think it helps me understand why some get so obsessed with opposing Boris and Trump as populists who have the people behind them can bring the whole system down is the lesson of Caesar. Rome was a republic for 500 years and their system lasted longer than our democracy has but one populist destroyed it forever.
    Why the will of the people can’t be implemented without a dangerous populist is my new question. My friend in Japan says that their politicians do what the people want there and it makes their politics very dull by comparison so that tells me it can be done and that if you have ‘grown ups’ in the room they don’t have to oppose common sense and risk populists rising…
    Would love it if you could share your analysis on this in 2024 as learning the details of this story was a penny drop moment for me and my political understanding.
    Merry Christmas to Sir John and his regular readers here.

    1. forthurst
      December 23, 2023

      As a young man, Caesar was locked up by Sulla. Sulla has the distinction of being the first Roman in the history of the Republic to seize power by force of arms and appoint himself dictator.
      Caesar spent most of career as a warrior, campaigning abroad to increase the size of the Roman Empire and thereby increase the wealth of the known world appropriated by Rome. He did publicise his exploits by sending back dispatches, much to the chagrin of later schoolboys who were required to translate these into English.
      The BBC is an unreliable source of information.

    2. R.Grange
      December 24, 2023

      It was a good series, though I could certainly have done without Rory Stewart pontificating as he does. The BBC now seems very reluctant to screen history programmes compared with years ago, and only seemed willing to do so with the Julius Caesar programmes if they could be used to put across a contemporary moral tale. You could see the BBC is running scared of Trump winning again.

  17. Tahir Maher
    December 23, 2023


  18. Denis Cooper
    December 23, 2023

    While looking back to comments posted during that period sixteen months ago I also came across this:

    “Oh, and we should stop the war in Ukraine immediately. Tell Zelensky that he will have to accept partition of the existing territory of Ukraine, partition that he and his Russophobic faction internally, and the EU/NATO/US troika externally, have actually made inevitable. There should be an armistice, negotiations, and partition.”

    That would be a good Christmas present for all of us, especially those directly suffering from the war.

    1. XY
      December 23, 2023

      On this, you were wrong then and you are wrong now.

      Imagine it were a sector of this country that were being annexed by russia – one where where your relatives happpen to live – how would you feel about it then? Empathy is a useful ability.

      But this is about geopolitics. If Putin is not stopped and Ukraine returned to its 1991 borders then he will not stop there. We will, at best, be in another very expensive cold war for a long time to come. That is where our self-interest lies, as well as the moral imperative.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 23, 2023

        Try applying your empathy to the Russian speakers in the east. Maybe their ancestors should not have been put there in the first place but they were, and those people are settled on that land, so do you want to remove them?

        I wonder what they feel about this:

        “Ukraine war: New Christmas date marks shift away from Russia”

        It could be that they’re not bothered about that part of Ukraine shifting away from Russia because they don’t expect their part to ever go along with it. I don’t know, but I doubt the Russians will ever agree to leave it.

        “If Putin is not stopped and Ukraine returned to its 1991 borders then he will not stop there.”

        So what would he do then? Invade one of the NATO members and start what could become a nuclear war?

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 23, 2023

          From August 24 2022:

          “Listening to Zelensky stating his war aims yesterday:

          it seems to me that the war will never end, because Russia will never withdraw from Crimea or the Donbass – “the contested Ukrainian territories” – and so maybe we will have to learn to live without Russian gas forever.”

      2. Hat man
        December 24, 2023

        XY: If Western powers believed there was a serious risk of Russia invading other countries after taking Ukraine, would they have so massively depleted their military stockpiles? “The bottom of the barrel is now visible,” Adm. Robert Bauer of the Netherlands, NATO’s most senior military official, said of the West’s ammunition stockpile recently. It will take US and European industry years to replenish the vast amounts of missiles and artillery ammunition used up in Ukraine. These are what are required in huge quantities in contemporary warfare, as the Ukraine war has shown. Leaving oneself short of vital requirements is a sign NATO isn’t that worried about having to repel a further Russian invasion, it seems to me.

        1. XY
          December 24, 2023

          Hatman, judging a situation by the West’s response is not a sensible measure.

          “The West” has been caught napping and is desperately trying to catch up, as you should be aware if you follow current affairs.

          Furthermore, the concern is not an *immediate* invasion which follows on from the Ukrainian one, once again we can see the modus operandi from history – they invade, they freeze, they normalise relations as far as possible, stock-pile weapons and cash (often from gullible Western countries buying their energy supplies)… then in a few years, they go again.

          We saw that pattern throughout the life of the USSR. Then we saw russia start in Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014, the rest of Ukraine in 2022. Six to eight year gaps. All the while, the utter twits in Germany were building pipelines to buy russian gas.

          This time it may take them a little longer to regroup since the Ukraine campaign has not gone well, but they intend to be back when they are ready. Any peace deal will be ignored in future on some nonsensical pretext or other (russian speakers being abused, a russian dog was kicked blah blah make up any nonsense of your own here)…

          But they will be back when they are ready. That much we know – or should know. Your post worries me in that it seems there are still some with their heads in the sand.

          1. Hat man
            December 24, 2023

            I do follow current affairs, XY, and perhaps more objectively than you do, e.g. I’m aware that the Georgia war in 2008 was started by Georgia, not by Russia, see:
            I also know that the 2015 peace deal intended to end the conflict in Donbas was ‘ignored’ not by Russia, but by Kiev and its Western backers. Hollande and Merkel, who signed the deal as guarantors, have now admitted that that the terms of the Minsk accords were disregarded so as to gain time and allow Kiev to fight better next time.
            I also know that Kiev and Moscow had reached agreement to end the present conflict in April 2022, but that NATO wanted to continue the war.
            I therefore respect NATO’s judgment that it doesn’t have to fear Russia having warlike intentions towards Europe, otherwise NATO would not have expended so much of its ammunition in Ukraine.

  19. Bloke
    December 23, 2023

    Treasury, Bank and OBR officials “organise” is a statement beyond their capability of doing anything good.

  20. Ian B
    December 23, 2023

    Good morning, Sir John
    You have just about summed up the practices and arrogance of those whose personal ego says they are our rulers and part of the UK’s problem – then the refusal of Parliament and this Conservative to ‘manage’ and serve those that empowered them
    Wishing you a Happy Christmas and hoping that 2024 sees the end of this conceited self-centered Government. It is to much to hope to live in a Democracy, but to get rid of the first problem, the fakes, would be a starting point.

  21. Bert+Young
    December 23, 2023

    There was a chap with a beard invited to the ” party ” speaking with a strong accent ; one of the guests challenged him and said ” Where are you from ? , how did you get here ? ” , ” Well I do not want to reveal my arrival method because it was silent and in the dark ” he replied . At this point the bearded chap was surrounded and asked for documents proving his identity and origin ; ” That’s none of your business he said ; I am here not because I was invited but because I paid someone for my transport ; I am going to rely on the generosity and goodwill of the people to take care of me for as long as I want ” . He then walked out and through the door andf was taken to a 5 star hotel for dinner . A few moments later the party organiser joked , raised his glass of champagne and chortled – ” I think he’s gone to join his reindeer “; everyone laughed .

  22. XY
    December 23, 2023

    Satire, Yes Minister style – yes, satire is useful, since buy holding something up to ridicule we can see how it holds up nnd the current instiututions look as ridiculous as we’d expect.

    But then, the politics section of the media has looked like a long-running episode of Yes Minister for the last few years so it’s no surprise to those of us cursed with paying attention to the slowly-unfolding demise of Western democracy.

    It is interesting as a way of our host communicating that he understands the charade that goes on without actually needing to say it directly.

  23. agricola
    December 23, 2023

    For 2024 how about:-
    Government spending considerably less.
    Government taxwise, encouraging individuals and businesses to invest and expand their activities. Currently we are long past the Laffer tax tipping point and into a growing recession.
    Government to end the great legal immigrant lie.
    Government with the help of professional management and an eye to what works in Europe, reorganise the NHS, currently a limping 1947 pensioner.
    Government to tell the rail unions that we have learnt to live without them and close them down for six months.
    Government to cancel the artificial leeming like programme to nett zero while maintaining the aim that it be achieved by market acceptability.
    Government to charge its myriad ministries with the resolution of all the anti population problems they have allowed to grow through historic inaction. Sewage and potholes for example.
    Government to tell the EU that current and future actions by them designed to piss us about will be countered by direct action against their car and food exporters, like closing the door.
    Government to rewrite the contract of employment of our Civil Service.

    That would be a government I would vote for.

  24. iain gill
    December 23, 2023

    Well John I have had cause to drive up and down the M1 the last few days.
    Interestingly the speed limit signs which were previously set at 60 mph with the message that the lower limit was to reduce pollution… which you previously mentioned to the government whips and got a promise that this would be stopped. It didn’t stop and I pointed out several times the same speed limits and reason were still in place.
    Well now the same speed limits are in place by the reason on the signs is “debris on the road reported”… clearly there was no such debris having driven though these sections several times now. But the reduced speed limits and reason are still there.
    So, to cynical old me it looks like the public sector in control of the speed limits there are determined to implement permanent 60 limits, as part of their anti-car agenda… they have presumably been told by the politicians to stop saying its to reduce pollution, and instead now they fraudulently claim its in response to a supposed report of debris in the road.
    It’s a public sector that thinks it knows best, in so many ways large and small, and ignores rules and does whatever it wants regardless of the supposed democratic control.
    So, it looks like we are stuck with permanent 60 limits on parts of the M1, implemented using temporary speed limit signs, using any old random excuse they can come up with.
    A broken society where a woke public sector control our lives in so many ways.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 24, 2023

      I witnessed that a few months ago on the M4 headed towards London. The signs said ‘reported debris on road’ with reduced speed sign. Of course no sign whatsoever of anything …I wonder how long that remained in force.

  25. Barbara Ramskill
    December 24, 2023

    Very funny if it wasn’t so true.😡

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