A trivial gesture

The government (I suppose we must still call it that) has announced plans to make available the sum of £4 million, from the funds recovered from criminals, and make it available across the country for community projects.  It is inviting the public to propose suitable projects.  Several thoughts spring to mind.
 
First, the government must think it’s good value to spend £4 million (of what is essentially public money) to buy positive national press coverage and several minutes discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
 
Second, spread across the country and amongst dozens of community projects, £4 million is almost trivial.  It’s a drop in the ocean.
 
Third, given all the people who will be setting up web-sites, sending in ideas, analysing the ideas, and sending them up to the Home Office for adjudication and authorisation, the administrative costs of the exercise will far exceed the sum to be disbursed.  Come to think of it, that’s exactly how EU grant funding works.  Maybe the government got the idea from Brussels.
 
Fourthly, if this is the best sort of initiative that our fag-end government can think of, it’s yet further evidence that they’ve run out of steam, run out of ideas, and need to go to the country.
 
But in a positive and constructive spirit nonetheless, I have a suggestion of my own.  Given the disastrous and unprecedented deficit which the government has created, and the fact that our children and grandchildren will be saddled with Gordon Brown’s debt for decades, any spare money the government can lay hand on should be used for one purpose, and one purpose only.  It should be used to pay down debt.

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