Caroline Flint

Legs eleven per cent deficit

I’ve written before about how many of our leading politicians have almost no experience of life outside politics. Another example leapt out at me as I stayed up far too late on Thursday night watching the results of the election; Caroline Flint.

Caroline Flint is particularly dislikeable. On the BBC in the early hours of Friday morning she parroted the usual lines about callous Tories pushing ideological cuts which are too fast and too deep whilst blithely ignoring the hideous fiscal mess her government left for the coalition to clean up and flatly denying the fact that her party had committed to spending cuts of 10.9% this year as opposed to the coalition’s 12%.

So what are the credentials of this vacuous, dishonest moron? She went to the University of East Anglia in 1980 where she graduated with a degree in American Literature and History combined with Film Studies. While here she went into student politics serving as Women’s Officer at the National Organisation of Labour Students between 1982 and 1984.

A life in the public sector beckoned. In 1984 she became a management trainee at the Inner London Education Authority moving up to the role of Policy Officer in 1985. In 1988 she moved to the National Union of Students to become head of their Women’s Unit. The following year Lambeth Council was the lucky recipient of her expertise when they appointed her Equal Opportunities Officer. In 1991 she became Welfare and Staff Development Officer and in 1994 she moved to the GMB trade union to take up the role as Senior Researcher and Political Officer where she stayed until her election to Parliament in 1997.

This career path of bouncing regularly from one cushy, politically correct, taxpayer funded public sector chin wag to the next remains, despite the best efforts of the last Labour government to put a majority of the country on the public payroll, quite rare. Most people, at some stage, have to worry about where their next job comes from; they have to go through the depressing ritual of visiting employment agency after employment agency with a folder full of photocopied CV’s. They have to scour their A to Z’s to find which unnamed road on the industrial estate in the middle of nowhere their job interview is. Quite simply most people in their professional lives do not it half as easy as Caroline Lucas had it.

But there is a deeper problem. Every single one of Caroline Lucas’ jobs has been about spending public money. Never, in her pre Parliamentary career, has she had to face the question of where this money comes from. And that question of how we return to economic growth, of how we generate more wealth, is the crucial one facing the UK today. Can we be surprised that a professional spender of public money like Caroline Lucas has nothing at all useful to say about it?

And you can see why we got into the mess we are in. Between 1997 and 2010 we had a government full of people like this, people who had spent their entire working lives in the public sector spending money. Perhaps, when they say a double digit deficit is nothing to worry about, they actually mean it?

A life in the public sector should not disqualify you from politics. But given how many of our current politicians spent their working lives insulated in this way from the worries affecting most other people is it any wonder they have so little to say about them? And given their job is to spend money is it any wonder that we ended up in the fiscal brown stuff?