Eric has covered off last week's budget well, so I had thought of writing a parody of the reaction of different interest groups, in the spirit of Fred Dagg's farmers' lament about the lack of a black-singlet subsidy or a gorse retention scheme in one of Muldoon's budgets. But this sort of response is already self-parody, so what is the point?
So instead I am going to put in a plea for better media coverage of future budgets. Here are some suggestions:
- Don't publish any press releases from interest groups; instead, interview the spokespeople and ask each one two questions: First, "please comment on those parts of the budget that did not relate to your sector"; and second, if you had to put the same total resources into your sector as in this budget, how would you have allocated it differently?".
- Don't publish any press releases from opposition parties; instead, interview the leaders or finance spokespeople and ask each one, "please state the areas in which you would have spent less money".
- In a one-marshmellow-now, two-marshmellows-later exercise, promise to give twice as much coverage to anyone whose response is "I haven't had time to fully digest the information yet, let me get back to you tomorrow with a more considered response".
- Simply refuse to quote any statement with the words "bold", "imaginative" or "Titanic" in it. (To be fair, on the last of these, I didn't see a deckchairs cliché this year, but it will be back.)