A leaflet lands on my doormat from an unusual source - Hackney Liberal Democrats.
Long strangers to my front door, they are objecting to the series of fire station closures planned by Boris Johnson. I guess that gives the Lib Dems a position of instigating cuts nationally, with their Conservative partners, but opposing cuts locally from an elected Conservative Mayor. As a policy farce goes, that is as daft as any Carry On film.
I have not blogged much on cuts. As a libertartian, I want people to depend on themselves, not the state. Working in the public sector from 1993-2005 hardly gave me a great degree of respect for it - much of the work I did was routine, depressing and pointless. It paid well, but I got a lot more out of the Employment Service, Strategic Rail Authority or the Rail Passengers Council than their users ever did. The 'bonfire of the quangos' should have happened years ago.
Having known many people over the years who were pretending to be mentally ill, or alcoholics or depressed in order to be on the sick, I was hardly surprised by Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms. In many cases those I have known on long term sick were working in cash in hand jobs where the pay was deliberately set low as the employer knew full well the individual concerned was in some way signing on. They, and their employers, have both had a good run for their money.
The problem with cuts, is they do not go on getting rid of Trident submarines but are aimed all too often at services that are essential, and cannot or will not be be cost effectively provided by the private sector. I have supported the Coastguard SOS campaign for that reason, and hope to see the Mayor's Fire Brigade cuts defeated. I just don't have much hope that the Hackney Lib Dems can be a mobilising force on the issue.