Bob Crow, Ed Balls and Alex Salmond: what have this motley crew got in common? See if you can work it out from what follows.
Take Bob Crow, a throw-back to the Red Robbo days of the 1970s. You join the Tube today by paying with your Oyster card or bank card or buying a ticket from a cash dispenser: but Bob Crow still thinks 950 people should sit in old-style redundant ticket offices twiddling their thumbs waiting for someone to pay cash for a ticket. Meanwhile, retailers are lining up to pay rent to take over the newly available prime space.
Then up pops Ed Balls, the most aptly-named man in Parliament today. He thinks now is the time to raise Higher Rate Tax to 50 per cent, which with NI comes to tax at 62.4 per cent. Has he ever heard of the Laffer curve? And then he says it would help repay the national debt, the debt he built up at HM Treasury, which he thought, during the inevitable resulting recession, should be tackled by adding yet more debt. The man cannot even add up, and is nothing but an old Tax-and-Spend Labour Dinosaur, a species that the rest of us knew was rightly declared extinct by Tony Blair many years ago.
Finally, Alex Salmond wants to break up the UK, a successful trade and currency union for over 300 years, and land Scotland in exactly the same structural monetary mess as enjoyed by the EU. He has apparently not thought through any of the economic implications of his particular brand of stupidity: who will pay the £1,600 per claimant extra welfare payments the Scots currently receive above the UK average? Who will pay the current near £20 billion annual donation under the Barnet formula?
He wants to join the EU but not the euro; he wants to leave the UK but not lose the pound; he wants to be a republican but keep our Queen; he wants to get rid of the vital nuclear submarine defence base on the Clyde, and cause 6,000 direct unemployed and more indirect employment on top of that.
Then Governor Carney reminds him that he owns the Bank of Scotland and that he, Salmond, can only have it back on payment of £83 billion – or otherwise his new Scottish Soviet Socialist Republic won’t have a central bank at all, and no bank of last resort.
The man Salmond is a born-again Jacobite with an all-too-glib tongue. If he causes Scotland to secede, its people will have to pay higher taxes, and businesses will move to Newcastle, as the Labour Party is mothballed. Salmond is a scoundrel pursuing a scam, a scam whereby he and his Edinburgh flunkeys and hangers-on can go to Brussels and load up on tax-free salaries and pensions and endless expenses, and ‘control’ the money going to the rest of Scotland.
As for what they have in common – well, it’s not a calculator.