Wednesday, 23 June 2010

George Osborne cuts his salary by a quarter

George Osborne stepped forward to deliver his first budget speech. As usual the House was full.

“You are all aware” he began “of the enormous deficit, and of the need to reduce it as soon as is feasible. All parties are agreed that we need both to cut government spending, and to raise taxes. The question is what spending should be cut, what taxes should be raised. But whatever decisions are taken, all British citizens will lose some money.

“You will have already read of our intention to order each government department to cut their spending by a quarter.

“Those who aspire to leadership should never ask their followers to do what they themselves are not prepared to do. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and I wish to announce now that we are cutting our salaries by a quarter for the duration of this Parliament.”

It was as if waves rolled on to the House of Commons shore – waves of murmurings and mutterings, which subsided into astonished silence.

George Osborne continued: “We have asked our ministerial colleagues, the heads of every Civil Service department, the Governor of the Bank of England, the chief executives of the major banks, and the hundred top FTSE companies to follow our example. They have all agreed. Her Majesty the Queen has also volunteered to reduce the Civil List payment by a quarter.

“Of course this reduction in our salaries will not reduce the deficit. We admit it is a symbolic action. But we offer it as a token of our sincerity to the British people. I now invite you all, Members of Parliament, to join with us in cutting your salary by a quarter for the duration of this Parliament.”

With one accord, the entire House rose to its feet. With one accord, they all shouted “Aye.”

***

Why is this a piece of satire, and not a sober reporting of the news?

How dare our leaders, who have collectively made such disastrous mistakes, ask the people of Britain for ‘sacrifices’ they themselves are not prepared to make.

Those who aspire to leadership should never ask their followers to do what they themselves are not prepared to do.

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