Thus spake Lord Myners (until recently a Labour finance minister) in Parliament yesterday. It's not the way of the Lords to cry "Bullshit!", so I am performing a service by doing it for them. I mean, has Lord Myners not heard of the public sector? Soldiers, nurses, teachers, civil servants, police officers, and all that jazz? Where does he imagine those jobs come from? Perhaps he thinks that the Government only "creates the environment" in which nurses will be needed - perhaps by making people feel ill - and then watches them magically precipitate? Or maybe it's like the way people put up nest boxes in the hope that a blue tit will make its home there. Imagine the excitement at the Department of Education: "Hey, remember that school we built in the centre of Dewsbury? I just checked the webcam, and we've got teachers!"
Actually, if Lord Myners wants to see an example of a job created very directly by government, he need look no further than Lord Myners. Paul Myners was given his job as Financial Services Secretary directly by the government of Gordon Brown, which also (because of course we don't bother with details such as democracy in New Labour) made him a life peer. It's a pretty good job, in fact. You can't be sacked, unless you commit a serious criminal offence; you can come in as often or as seldom as you like; you get rather impressive perks; there's no interview to go through; and, under current recommendations you are due a pay increase of over 24.5% this year, while many of us elsewhere in the public sector have enjoyed an increase of... [checks pay slips]... ah yes, nothing at all. How odd that Lord Myners didn't think of himself and all the other members of the House of Lords when he made that statement, considering where he made it.
Still, it's certainly a boost to the old morale to be told by someone like Lord Myners - whose own main claim to fame is that he approved Fred Goodwin's pension arrangments - that you don't exist, or that your job is not a real job because it's not directly generating wealth for UK PLC, or whatever else he might have meant. I expect plenty more of the same, though: public sector workers are clearly due to be demonized as parasites over the next few months. One comfort is that if this is an example of a Labour minister, the transition to the Tories will be barely perceptible.
On the other hand, I do blame him for last night's venal dream.