If you can, take a look at episode three of the first series of Yes Minister. We seem to be repeating the experience of the 70s and 80s, perhaps this time as farce? The Prime Minister walks to the House of Commons and eschews outriders on trips in his official car. First class travel is to be cut back. It all sounds like ‘Operation Hair Shirt’ to me – personal concessions and cuts to set an example that are so painful in practice that it undermines the broader objective when those cuts are reversed.
While Jim Hacker had his Bureaucratic Watchdog Office, we have the more dynamic sounding Office for Budget Responsibility – create a Quango to catch a Quango.
Sir Humphrey must be chuckling in some elite Whitehall club, reminiscing with ‘Jumbo’ from the Foreign Office.