Whenever I talk about any project, this question invariably comes up.
If it’s a private project, it’s a fair question. But for a public project, it’s the wrong question. The proper question is, where are the resources – materials, energy and labour (including detailed design effort) – going to come from? If the resources exist*, and aren’t required for some more important purpose, there isn’t a problem. The money question is irrelevant – as politicians somehow always remember when they want to go to war!
Money is merely the means of exchange – bits of paper or numbers in computers, that can be created or destroyed at will. That are created and destroyed at will, by those with the power to do so. If that isn’t the government, then it damn well should be – if they’ve given the power away, they must take it back. Democracy is meaningless while such power lies in anyone’s hands other than the government’s.
There’s often another answer too, “Let’s do some arithmetic.”
At a hustings the other day, I was asked, “Where’s the eight billion extra for the NHS going to come from?”
Frankly, I was at a loss for words.
Let’s do some arithmetic.
There are about 64 million people in the UK. Eight billion divided by 64 million is 125. So we’re talking about £125 each. Since the eight billion was an annual figure, that’s £2.40p a week per person.
Not a trivial sum for someone on benefits, but not an alarming one even for them – and perhaps the wealthy could contribute a bit more, and let the poor contribute a bit less? †
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is stressing about £2.40p a week per person?
Can he do sums? Okay, okay, I know his degree is in Modern History, but this is primary school stuff...
* Within the country. If foreign exchange is involved, it’s a bit more complicated. But not much more complicated, really.
† Or a lot more and a lot less respectively. The disparity of wealth in the UK is astonishing. See Wealth in Great Britain (Office for National Statistics) – that’s a downloaded PDF from the WayBack Machine; somehow the government removed it from their own website sometime between June 27th and September 11th 2011. Odd, that...