Some people may be wondering why I am not writing about the new Cabinet. Basically I don't see the point, Iain, Guido and the Speccie Blog clearly have all that stuff covered, and frankly, I don't care that much (who am I kidding, Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary? Is he completely insane?). The thing is, whilst all this lovely "low skullduggery" is going on what about the other news? You know, the sort of stuff that gets, shall we say, "buried".
Well for a start, there is Tessa Jowell's parting news for James Purnell at the DCMS. Lovely old Jowelly agreed a new "memorandum of understanding" with Livingstone yesterday about the £675 million raid on the National Lottery to pay for the 2012 Olympics. Apparently the Government will be paying it all back. This is a good thing you might think. But the devil is always in the detail.
You see they are going to pay it back from the assumed profit they make after the games when they flog off all the assets. Things like the Olympic Village, the stadiums that sort of thing. So, in six years time or so the DCMS (assuming it still exists) has said it will pay back £675 million into the lottery fund. Sounds great, but there is no mention of inflation in the payback deal.
So yes, the DCMS has raided £675m, and the figure it will payback is £675m. The assumption it seems is that inflation will be, from now until then, 0%. Given we're talking about property sales though, where the inflation rate is way beyond the CPI, what we're actually talking about is a payback scheme that will, in effect, still be the equivalent of a raid on the lottery fund well above £100m whilst making it look like you're paying it all back.
Amazingly the former Culture Secretary said in her statement that the new deal should "give lottery distributors real confidence that the additional funding necessary for a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games will be re-paidproviding them and the whole country with a further 2012 dividend." What a load of bollocks.
But hey, who needs the arts?