Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Tory minister claims he does not understand inflation regarding flood defence spending

I was listening to BBC Radio 4's Any Questions earlier on and I could barely believe my ears.

Tory minister George Eustice was talking about the difference in spending on flood defences between 2010-14 (under the coalition) and 2006-10 (under Labour). The figures are £2.4bn for 2010-14 and £2.2bn for 2006-10. He thus said that in cash terms spending has increased.

Jonathan Dimbleby the host then challenged Eustice on this asking him about what this meant when inflation was taken into account though, and pointed out that it was actually a cut in real terms. Eustice then claimed that he did not know what "real terms" meant and reiterated that spending had increased on flood defences.

This very much reminded me of the famous Upton Sinclair quote:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

It is risible for a government minister to claim he does not understand the difference between real terms increases and cash increases.

The fact ministers are now resorting to this sort of mendacity shows how desperate they are to keep control of the political narrative on floods.

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