Mark Daniels: Taking Responsibility for the Irresponsibility

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Related tags: Gordon brown, Prime minister of the united kingdom

He was preceded by Gordon Brown who, between bouts of sucking on his bottom lip, tried to make the fact that he was going to use taxpayers' money...

He was preceded by Gordon Brown who, between bouts of sucking on his bottom lip, tried to make the fact that he was going to use taxpayers' money once again to bail the banks out seem like the right idea.

The Government's method of selling their bailout plan to the public seems to rely on us believing that it's not their fault, and both Brown and Darling declared this morning that every country in the world is facing the same problem.

It's an argument I'm quite familiar with. Walk in to any pub and say "ooh, it's quiet in here," and the landlord's bristling response will be to say that almost every other pub in the land is quiet too.

Where Brown and Darling's plan seems to falter is on the basis that they need to borrow money from somewhere to get our own banking system back up and running again, but the problem is that if - as we're all aware - every other banking system in the world is up the creek without a paddle, there's only one place left to take the money from: the taxpayer.

The trouble is, many of us seem to be losing our jobs and are therefore not paying tax any more. The vast majority of those unemployed will also be turning to the state for benefits. The pot is very empty - there's almost nowhere left to borrow from. Very soon, Iceland's economy will actually be the strongest of the lot.

I was thinking this as Gordon Brown's words appeared in a byline across the bottom of my television screen: "I will not sit by and watch people go to the wall due to the irresponsible actions of others."

I almost choked on my malt loaf.

The wider picture shows that many businesses, small and large, are struggling to keep themselves afloat right now. They can't get the credit because the banking system is collapsing under the weight of its own greed and high street names that we've known and loved since we were children are no longer there. The last time I looked, I couldn't find my local Rumbelows...

But narrow it down to our own industry and the Prime Minister's words are risible.

His Government's approach to the alcohol industry, especially the on-trade, has been nothing short of irresponsible. Reckless legislation and draconian taxation in the past three years have done little to help the industry and a feckless policy of blaming pubs for an apparent nationwide drinking problem whilst turning a blind eye and a long arm to the deep pockets of those outlets who do supply alcohol cheaply and irresponsibly has all but secured the demise of what is a great and iconic trade.

The Great British Pub is a tourist attraction this country should be celebrating, not decimating, yet the Prime Minister's own idle irresponsibility seems to be ensuring that so many of them are closing their doors and going the way of the Norfolk Damselfly.

Perhaps, rather than trying to borrow money from a rapidly evaporating source, the Government should look to its own ineptitude and realise that its own spend-and-tax policies are causing a large amount of the financial pain businesses are feeling today and why, as just a small part of the country's great problems, so many good landlords will be going to the wall while he sits by and watches.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In this difficult start to 2009 it's wonderful to be able to announce a bright spark of future at the start of the year. I'd like to congratulate my brother and his wife, David & Sarah, on the arrival of their first child. On Friday 16th January 2009 they became parents to a baby boy, Connor Dawson Daniels.

Born eight weeks early, Connor is currently in a high dependency unit but all is well and the future looks good. I wish them all the best and would like to impart, as the father of two spawns of Satan, just a few words of wisdom:

You will spend the next twelve months trying to get him to walk and talk, and the following seventeen years trying to get him to damn well sit down and shut up!

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