NYeve2012I wrote the above post almost exactly a year ago today. The piece looks odd today in some respects, but the prediction and the question remain: they’re going to steal from us, and if they do, who will consume with sufficient enthusiasm to keep the show on the road?

There are times when each year feels like another twelve months lying face-up beneath Madame la Guillotine, watching the razor-sharp blade head towards one’s neck. But in many ways, 2013 consisted of a sort of grudging, anger-inducing admiration (on my part anyway) for the myriad scams these people invented in order to soften us up for The Final Heist. And today, another of them has been uncovered.

It’s been revealed that millions of people are being ripped off by government agencies forcing them to use premium rate phone lines. Currently, a third of customer telephone lines across Central Government use higher rate numbers with half of those lines serving the poorest people. More than 130 million calls from the public are being charged at a rate of up to 45p per minute at an estimated total cost of £56 million a year.

Such “ideas” for making money are rarely thought up by politicians, because they don’t do detail, and they don’t have ideas. This little number will have been dreamed up by some sociopathic twannock in the Treasury…or more likely, one of the many consultants they overpay to make suggestions free of any content or ethics. No, this time – for once – we have the legislative Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to thank for telling Whitehall to stop it immediately.

The worst offenders were the DWP, the HMRC, Victim Support (a government-funded charity), the Student Loans Company (a privatisation) and the Bereavement Service. Amazing: are you unemployed, destitute, behind on your taxes, a rape victim, a penuried student or a grieving widow? Excellent! Call us now – and while you’re distracted, we’ll steal the pennies from your eyes.

The Civil Service (which alone represents 53% of Britain’s future liabilities) thus devised a way of screwing yet more money out of people in the sh*t thanks to their illegally gained pension emoluments doubling after 2006. What is the point of Name And Shame if the Sir Humphrey’s do not have shame anywhere in their lexicon of emotions?

“We will squeeze then until the pips squeak,” said Lloyd George in 1918. Except that he was referring to the Germans…and that mindset led to hyperinflation and Hitler.

They never learn. They just never f**king learn.

Earlier at The Slog: Research, statistics and interpretation are the fathers of invention