Spending, saving or cutting?
The Comprehensive Spending Review is an odd name for a periodic Government exercise to try to exercise control over the national budgets. The Government departments all lay out their spending plans for the coming period having gazed into crystal balls, tossed rune stones in the air or consulted mystics in order to build a picture of requirements in an uncertain world. Pet projects will be pushed with claims of extraordinary benefits. Empires will be protected. Arguments for good new ideas will be presented and kicked around and the odd meeting will probably have taken place scratching around for something to keep the budget as high as possible.
The trouble is that it is a cycle of spending that lacks strategy and focus. It doesn't feel like there is an overall plan because more often than not there simply isn't one. There are few organisations that would stay in business if they were run the way we run our country. But, it isn't easy to work out where to focus concerns. The politicians appear to be responsible for it all but they all know the failings of the current systems and successive Governments have failed to change things. Ths civil servants know that if they hold tight for long enough politics change...Governments change. The civil service knows how to endure difficult times and remain in place despite everything that appears to be going on around them.
So is it a Spending Review? Or, perhaps, a Cutting Budgets Review? Whatever it is it isn't what it ought to be.