December 9th, 2010

Osborne and Darling’s Empty Budgets

The Chancellor has followed on from Dave by buttering up the Lobby and just as when the PM did his comedy turn,  riots raged outside. Apparently his jokes weren’t as good, but he did let the cat out the bag about those photo ops outside No. 11…

We already knew that  Gladstone’s red box, bought back by Alistair Darling, was having its final outing with George Osborne’s Emergency Budget, but what we learn today is that the scarlet leather box, made in the early 1860s, is in fact empty and the key was lost years ago. There must be a metaphor there somewhere…


  1. 1

    Genius. Love this post. So the economy really is an empty shell….that’s reassuring…..

  2. 2
    EdMiliband says:

    Is that where all my policies are?

  3. 3
    Margaret Beckett says:

    My leather box has been locked for years.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    Irrelevant point but that never stops anyone on here

    Why don’t we close all the Uni’s down and teach degrees in the same way that business’ teach apprenticeships

  5. 5
    David Minibanana says:

    Yup. just blank sheets of paper.

  6. 6
    Steve Miliband says:

    Just privatise them

  7. 7
    Engineer says:

    Can you imagine the devastation that would be caused to normal life by releasing all those academics into the community? They have to be kept somewhere secure for the safety and well-being of the general public, and ivory towers are as good a place as any for that.

  8. 8
    Liar Byrne, aka Baldemort says:

    There’s no money left – good luck.

  9. 9
    Tony Blair & David Blunkett says:

    We tried to

  10. 10
    South of the M4 says:

    It should be auctioned for the public purse with the lot entitled ” the collective,
    considered and positive policies proposed in the nations interest by Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1997 – 2007″.

  11. 11
    Major Eyeswater says:

    Laura K looking quite fetching. Grrr.. I’d like to visit her central lobby.

  12. 12
    Lembit Opik says:

    Never mind madge, I could soften it up a bit and get it open with a little bit of dubbin and massage.

  13. 13
    Engineer says:

    On Osbourne’s Red Box, do they seriously expect us to believe that with six million on the public payroll, not one of them had the initiative to phone a locksmith?

  14. 14
    Eureka ! says:

    We could modify the campuses to create more prison places.

  15. 15
    Thomas A'Beckett [c/o Canterbury] says:

    That’s why I threw away the key dear.

  16. 16
    SlashnBurn says:

    Maybe English Heritage stopped them…

  17. 17
    Anonymous says:

    Do you mean same as Osborne? Who’s only real job was to count the dead.

  18. 18
    Margaret Beckett says:

    Bring a crowbar, dear.

  19. 19
    Euro havin' a larf mate says:

    So, that’s something else that Gordon lost.

  20. 20
    Sir William Waad says:

    We must assume it’s unlocked. Otherwise they wouldn’t know that it was empty.

  21. 21
    Labourlisting says:

    One of operatives is missing. Last spotted trying to be funny on Order Order.

  22. 22
    Gordon Brown says:

    My budgets brought prosperity to the world.

  23. 23
    Anonymous says:

    We have billions for Ireland, Foreign Aid, EU, Chaffer driven Jag, FIFA, minters to fly around in private jets, etc.

  24. 24
    Sir William Waad says:

    P.S. ‘Osbourne’ is the one who bites the heads off live bats.

  25. 25
    Mike Hunt says:

    And failing miserably, bit like his/her party really – both in and out of government.

  26. 26
    Anonymous says:

    So are they just humouring them, when they keep referring to their so called work? Seems it is just a place to hide the academic types and keep them out of politics. Otherwise …

  27. 27
    Anonymous says:

    Ha Ha Ha, funny coming from conservative lackey.

  28. 28
    Righty Right Wing (Mrs) says:

    Same party, same policies, same red box.

    Blue Labour out.

  29. 29
    Steve Miliband says:

    By the look of it, a hairclip could be used to unlock it.

  30. 30
    Postlethwaite says:

    Maybe it is the same key as for WikiLeaks Insurance File

  31. 31
    Engineer says:

    They could have held it up to their ear and given it a good shake. Besides, if it was unlocked, it would make the locksmith’s job easier. All he’d need to do would be fit a new key – no breaking and entering required.

  32. 32
    Engineer says:

    Fair cop – comes of typing without engaging brane.

  33. 33
    Prezza says:

    I’ll have you wetter than an otter’s pocket, Maggie my sweet…

    …you’ll have to hold my chips while I get to work, mind.

  34. 34
    Nancy Mitford says:

    George is non-U.

  35. 35
    Baby Banquets R us says:

    I spotted a mong!…do i win five pounds??.

  36. 36
    Postlethwaite says:

    You were right – way off topic

  37. 37
    Brown - the traitor who needs a sentence. says:

    I suggest they throw Gordon Brown into the crowd down at Parliament Sq and see how long he lasts.

    Perhaps the lottery winners this weekend could have the privilege of hanging the excrement?

  38. 38
    Anonymous says:

    Baby Banquets R us says:

    Look at the mirror and claim your £5.

  39. 39
    DikiLeaks says:

    You need to get out more *dribble*

  40. 40
    Backwoodsman says:

    No, thats mad hattie harperson.

  41. 41
    It wasn't me, guv. Nowt to do with me. I was right all along. says:

    Be warned. He smiles during this. But he also blinks in a sociopathic way that’ll remind you of Heath Ledger’s Joker, though nowhere near as charismatic.

  42. 42
    Anonymous says:

    If we had any industry that was concerned, at all, about available workforce then they would be funding the real University degrees.

    But since we have mainly foreign run companies, and those few home grown ones prefer to import all their workers from overseas, why have universities?

    Why ever employ a UK student. They will have to be paid higher as their taxes are higher. Why not just use the other workforce that are easier to hire and fire. Or better still take the company abroad and leave a few designers on temporary contracts in this country.

    UK, where politicians act like idiots and are rewarded.

  43. 43
    Handycock says:

    Who’d like to butter up my lobby?

  44. 44
    We, The British People says:

    I will only smile when he’s dangling at the end of the rope for his horrific crimes.

  45. 45
    Nurse Botha says:

    Yes, dear. Very funny. Now, are you going to scrape that plip plop off the floor or does Nursey have to do it again?

  46. 46
    Sir William Waad says:

    If it’s Gladstone’s old box, they might find the business cards of some of the ladies he used to visit. “LIZZIE will wind your watch for you. No hurry!” “Help MEG with her tight corsets” and so on.

  47. 47
    S.H. SW1 says:

    Can I do away with the foreplay and just bugger you?

  48. 48
    MIKE HANCOCK Perv Letch StalkerMP and part time SPY says:

    I also have a rather empty bag
    mine was all spent in Russians !

  49. 49
    Desperate Dan says:

    Gordon had a brand new shiny one made for himself and his petty criminal tendencies have led him to steal it. That’s why he keeps popping up airing his loony economic theories ). The poor sap thinks having the Red Box secreted in his underwear drawer means he’s still in charge.

  50. 50
    streamfisher says:

    The raiders of the lost ark and the scarlet box, the key to the mystery could lie in an old Scottish presbytery, that would explains Gordon’s feverish perusal of old manuscripts these last months, if only he could find the Globe, the last piece in the puzzle after the moral compass, then and only then will an incantation from a true son of the manse summon up: The New World Order (shiver).

  51. 51
    Hand Mikecock says:

    Oh, OK.

  52. 52
    Rat's arse says:

    Counting the dead is the sole responsibility of BLiar and McTw@t anonymous!

  53. 53
    Katia says:

    You were most shitski in bedski. Tiny cockski.

  54. 54
    Engineer says:

    Ah – so it could be one of those diplomatic key-losses.

    “We must protect the minister’s interests, Bernard.”

    “But, Sir Humphrey, this minister has been dead for a century.”

    “Nonetheless, Bernard, the duties of Her Majesty’s civil servants are clear. Kindly hand me that key. And if anybody asks, you haven’t seen it. Your promotion rides on this, Bernard.”

    “But what do we tell the minister, Sir Humphrey?”

    “Bernard, he’s been dead for a century. We’d need an oija board to tell him anything.”

    “No, the current minister.”

    “Normal procedure, Bernard. Tell him nothing.”

    “Ah. Of course.”

  55. 55
    TATS MUM says:

    empty vessels make most noise

  56. 56
    rictus smile says:

    Truly the stuff of nightmares.

  57. 57
    Sarah says:

    Gordon doesn’t know what to do with a red box. Heaven knows, I’ve tried. Thank God for turkey basters.

  58. 58
    Anonymous says:

    What about Ed

  59. 59
    Anon E Mouse says:

    Ok I’ll start – my bid’s the same as the price of Brown’s book.

  60. 60
    Archer Karcher says:

    Plus nearly £19 billion a year for forty years for the Climate Change Bill. A bigger waste of money you could not invent.

  61. 61
    Liar Byrne, aka Baldemort says:

    You callin’ me a liar ????

  62. 62
    Liar Byrne, aka Baldemort says:

    Huh !! Peanuts !! Gordon left you with a nice NINE TRILLION POUND National Debt. More than TRIPLE the level in 1997.

    Sort that out !!!!!

  63. 63
    Liar Byrne, aka Baldemort says:

  64. 64
    Reality says:

    I was reading an article the other day, that the deficit is here is stay! We are going to be in debt for what feels like eternity. Labour should be deported! Hunt the Hunts down!

  65. 65
    Righty Right Wing (Mrs) says:

    McMental looks ghastly.

    Could it be that the full horror of what he has foisted onto the yet born British taxpayer dawning on him?

    Or is he struggling between his socialist principles & the fact that he is a multi millionaire?

    Possibly a final realisation that the politics of the left are evil & anti-humanity?

    No matter, it is truly warming to see that awful tyrant, the great ruiner, the man who signed his countrys freedom away & spent the earnings of citizens yet born looking so near complete mental breakdown.

  66. 66
    nell says:

    The student riot is turning nasty again with kids throwing flares and missiles at police.

    Why they can’t turn a water cannon on them I don’t know.

    And why students think their unacceptable violence is going to win the public over to the view that they are worthy of funding in any shape or form I can’t imagine.

  67. 67
    BetPaddy says:

    33 – 1 Skycopter to take out BBC chopper.

  68. 68
    Simon says:

    It won’t gain me any popularity, but I’ll try to answer seriously.

    (1) I refer to the way that degrees are taught properly, in subjects that have real meaning. Thus no meeja studies etc – as far as I’m concerned they can rot – and no ‘competence-based’ awards (similar to NVQs – they rot the brain and are simply invitations to cheat the system ever more ingeniously).
    (2) The distinction between training and education occupies ground long contested. No space here to explore it fully.
    (3) I believe that we need to get the uni sector back to the size where about 10% of the population attends, ensuring that the shrinkage is accounted for by the duff institutions and stupid courses.

    Apprenticeships, and indeed any other kind of skills training, have a specific focus which is the only function they have. Nothing wrong with that; indeed, it’s admirable. It’s a system that gave the UK world leadership in engineering 150 years ago and today Germany its impressive base of trained technicians.

    As well as excellent technicians, it is important for there to be people in society who can (a) be sceptical, (b) ask the questions that penetrate flim-flam and (c) make links between different areas of knowledge, (d) understand the contingent nature of most knowledge in the social arena (which is, after all, where we live our lives) and (e) create coherent, relevant plans to deal with problems. Preferably they will also have knowledge in depth of one or more fields of serious study. So far the only way we’ve managed to do this is by putting bright young people next to sage older people who have spent a lifetime studying the issues, getting the youngsters to make fools of themselves and learn from their elders’ reproofs. That’s not quite the same as an apprenticeship and makes different demands on teacher and learner alike.

    That said, academia is managed badly, mostly by people whose primary interest in life is internal politics and whose eyes are thus permanently averted from their industry’s main aim. It’s also financed idiotically, with money going to good research at the expense of good teaching. That produces perverse incentives for staff to direct their efforts towards research and away from students.

    I know nothing of U Buckingham, but its completion of a first degree in two years is very interesting. If, as one suspects, much of the extra year in most unis is taken up with drink’n’drugs, it might be teaching, inter alia, the vital skill of time management. I’d be surprised if many institutions don’t seek to follow its example in the near future.

  69. 69
    A spokesman for 100,000 dead working class Iraqis says:

    You leave Blair alone! He made us what we are today, bless ‘im.

  70. 70
    I wouldn't want these people working in my office says:

    Your last paragraph sums it up. Higher education and (possibly) a degree is wasted on these ‘students’, as their behaviour makes it clear that none of them should ever be considered for employment by any reputable organisation.

  71. 71
    Enjineer says:

    To be fair, we borrowed the money for Ireland at about 3% and are lending it to them at 6ish%

    My only real complaint is that we could have probably got away with charging them more than that.

  72. 72
    Up sh1t creek says:

    What does it matter anyway, we leaked the entire budget to the Indy, Times, Mail, Sun, Mirror and the rest of them days before the budget is actually read out in parliament.

  73. 73
    Up sh1t creek says:

    Tune in to Sky News HD to watch the action in High Definition!

  74. 74
    Worthless Lib Dem pledge says:

    Cameron and Clegg have loaned Ireland £7 billion as well as Ireland loosing their sovereignty rather than take Guido’s advice and let the bond markets take the hit. Today Anglo Irish paid 40 million Euros in bonuses to bankers. We bailed out our banks (and continue to pay huge bonuses to those responsible), now we bail out Irish banks while they continue to give bonuses to those who made them broke. The two Oxbridge twins have lost the plot already. They might have received a good free education, but they could not be described as intelligent. They are making the revolting Gordon look good.

  75. 75
    One of Guido's Balanced Contributors says:

    Much as I enjoy the fun side of this blog, it is refreshing to get more considered responses. Particularly ones containing common sense like this.

  76. 76
    Wisdom of the crowd. says:

    Students. Thick or what? They do not truly understand that the fee paying reforms are actually progressive. I blame the preferential bias being used by the NUS to further their left wing ideology. Dumb kids!

  77. 77
    Dame Celia Molestrangler says:

    How predictable. Labour can’t cope at the ballot box, so gets the pimply adolescents out instead to do their dirty work.

    Love quote by Osborne.

  78. 78
    We are Anonymous says:

    Empty box, empty words or possibly the poor darlings would find a full box too heavy.

  79. 79
    Nick2 says:

    Yeah, but the rate that the UK’s charging Ireland must to some degree reflect the higher risk of Ireland defaulting (that the UK will, at present at least).

    Can’t understand why HMG charges Ireland 6% whereas the markets were demanding over 9%. Well, I can, it’s the economics of the EU madhouse…

  80. 80
    Nick2 says:

    Chancellors waving Gladstone’s dispatch box is part of the political theatre.

    To be honest, the entire thing is pretty pointless. Although Chancellors set ‘The Budget’ annually (or more frequently if Labour/run out of money), the March/November announcements usually seem to reflect changes in direct/indirect taxation. The spending commitments that scupper the economy/national finances are made throughout the year, usually with no indication as to how they are to be funded/financed/afforded/allocated amongst the taxpayers.

  81. 81
    Simon says:

    You are very kind, Sir. I am available for hire. (Well, my pen is, anyway.)

  82. 82
    National Elf says:

    Santa only comes once a year but when he does he always leaves a sackful.

  83. 83
    Cronos says:

    this is an old story. I thought most people knew it was just a prop.

  84. 84

    Actually we have not borrowed it yet as we have not made the loan. Oh as the chances of it being fully repaid considering Ireland’s circumstances are not that high it is a very risky move.

    Booking profits now and declaring a profit whilst the balance sheet gets worse……Where did I hear that before?

  85. 85
    wikiwankileaks says:

    fuck osbornes budgets the best sight of the year was old cammy cumming in the back of trhat old roller

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