Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Purge The Treasury
The sudden departure of John Kingman, head of UKFI (the Treasury offshoot running all those bank shares we own), underlines a very important point: when he walks into HM Treasury next May, George is going to be a very busy boy.
Because as an experienced business turnaround specialist put it to Tyler recently, George can forget all about those mythical 100 days.
He's got 10.
He's got just 10 days to take The Big Bath, frame and trail the massive spending cuts to come in his June budget, and most of all, assemble a team around him that he can depend on.
Kingman clearly understands this. As one of the senior Treasury mandarins who thrived under Brown, he is quite capable of reading the score. And very sensibly, he's decided to take an early bath.
As we've blogged many times, Brown's politicisation of the Treasury has been comprehensive. Gone are the redoubtable fiscal conservatives of the Old Skool Tyler so admired when he worked there. In their place, Prog Con careerists whose advancement has been built entirely on serving the cause of Big Government NuLab.
Just last week, these very people cobbled together an entirely spurious figure of half-a-million jobs Brown/Darling have supposedly saved through their fiscal recklessness. Pure political spin.
George can't possibly succeed with a team like that. He needs to wield the axe as soon as he arrives. He needs his own team, who are committed to the cause, and in whom he can trust.
Yeah, sure, it would be great if we could go back to the traditional Northcote-Trevelyan service of apolitical incorruptible Oxbridge double-firsts. But we can't. We have to get real.
George doesn't have time to muck around. Our fiscal problems are pressing, and the financial markets are expecting early answers.
10 days, George.