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The Best Laid Schemes Of Mice And Men


On Tuesday, we found out just how bad the UK’s economy is in Osborne’s Autumn Statement which turned out to be a mini-budget.

The structural deficit is apparently bigger than expected due to the boom followed by the bust being bigger than expected. This as well as the lack of growth in the economy means that Osborne and Danny won’t eliminate the structural deficit by the end of the parliament. The plan not going as expected reminded me of a Burns poem “To a Mouse” hence the title of this post.

For those not aware of the poem, To a Mouse is effectively Burns’ apology for ruining a mouse’s house whilst he was farming the land. Being winter there was nothing left in the landscape to build a new house from. It is apt at this moment because in the boom, we thought or at least Brown thought that it would go on forever, then the bust with the financial crisis came and in the words of Liam Byrne: “There is no money left” to build a new economy on top of the old.

With Osborne’s plan not going to er… plan, its proving Burns right that “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley” (Translation: The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft askew.) I want to quote the last two verses as I think they are apt at the moment both for the UK, the eurozone and of course the LibDem party.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

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