The never never

It must be great to be a Dutch government minister, knowing you can leave any difficult decisions to the next lot to take office.

What a very clever solution they have come up with for dealing with the crisis over the JSF. The cabinet is split over the issue with Labour MPs against buying two test versions of the new fighter jet and the two Christian parties staunchly in favour.
Yet again those stick-in-the-mud Labour MPs have refused to accept what their elders – the ministers who are part of the coalition government – have agreed. They say they are not convinced the JSF represents the best value for money for the taxpayer.
But, once again, a cabinet crisis has been averted by the simple method of deciding not to take a decision. Instead it will be up to the next government to decide whether to spend billions of euros on dozens of jet fighters.
The one thing nobody seems to be asking in all this is why we need quite so many jet fighters anyway? Seems like an awful lot of aircraft when the threat of war is so very far away. But then that is another issue.
And this decision is not the only unpopular idea the current government has shelved until a more convenient moment.
Take the plans to cut the budget deficit which is on the rise thanks to cabinet’s ‘buy now and pay later’ policy on the recession. Decisions on where to make spending cuts will not be taken until 2011 – just in time for the election.
Ah – perhaps that is it. Ministers will be able to kill two birds very neatly with one stone. On one hand they can scrap spending on the JSF, saving the treasury billions. And on the other, the ‘savings’ can be used to reduce government spending, cleverly averting the need to slash public services at the start of a new cabinet period.

Robin Pascoe is a founder of

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