Thursday, December 10, 2009

Budgets, booze and the Hamburglar

This time last year The Board sent himself into a state of purple apoplexy when he found himself, against every fibre of his being, agreeing with the Government and their Hamburglar budget.

"Fine. Take my cheese slice and limited edition Ben 10 figurine, Lenihan. Just get capital spending under control" - The Chalkboard, circa 2009.

Here we are 12 months later, balder, wiser and with torn ligaments in our thumb (thank you, UL Bohs), and we find that our opinions haven't changed.

What is Lenihan trying to do? Dull my fury about how this country has been run? He's going about it the right way.

With his perma-dour ties and sharp delivery, Lenihan is totally auditioning for the Fianna Fail leadership.
While Dermot Ahern turns white hurling copies of the Constitution at the GRA, Lenihan is becoming the Woman of Substance in Bertie's first wives club, aka the cabinet.

Wednesday was a mixed afternoon for The Board, who is not a public servant and must therefore contemplate every day the possibility of being sacked for one of his many indiscretions.

Petrol and alcohol are the fuel of my existence, so with one up and the other down, the next 12 months of The Chalky Brunel Experience will likely be revenue neutral.

Likewise, it was a mixed afternoon for the two causes he hoped would be spared the knife of fiscal responsibility - education spending and carer's allowance.

2010 will still see €579 million for the school building project, including that slippery €72 million that Batt just couldn't get rid of this year. Likewise, there'll be €12 million for 500 extra teachers over the next three years, and another €14 million for 600 primary and 330 post-primary teachers specifically for the school year beginning in September 2010.


Carer's benefit is down from €221.20 to €213, while carer's allowance is down from €220.50 to €212.


Whether it enraged or merely disappointed you, the Budget was at least decisive. It won't save Brian Cowen or Fianna Fail, who need, deserve and maybe even want a spell in the Opposition to reflect on the frivolous monster they became.

But when the party do decide to look for a leader who can embody the prudence and diligence that were anathema to Bertie Ahern, Budget 2010 may well become Brian Lenihan's job application.

On this evidence, I'd give it to him.

No comments: