Saturday, 13 September 2008

Acceptable Mistakes

Admit it! It did cross your mind when Gordon Brown made his announcement on Thursday, about the energy saving plan agreed with the big power companies, that it was too good to be true. Well, you know what they say about things appearing too good to be true – they mostly are and so was this one.

Mr Brown had said that all lower income and all pensioner households would be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation and other energy saving measures that could save them up to £300 a year in their bills. A lot of people aged 60 and over were very interested in this plan, but unfortunately were told by the government's helpline that Mr Brown had “made a mistake”.

In fact, only pensioners over 70 and some pensioners on benefits will be eligible for free cavity wall or loft insulation and there will be discounts for others. A lot of people aged 60 and over were then, understandably, very disappointed.

A Conservative spokesman has said that this is yet more evidence that the government has put out a rushed package that is not clear on even the most basic points, despite having months in which to prepare it.
He wonders if people might believe and accept that the Prime Minister made a mistake or whether he was deliberately trying to mislead people.
Either way, this cannot be acceptable for anyone in authority and certainly not by a prime minister. Facts need to be stated clearly and precisely and recorded as said at the time. Of course mistakes are made and prime minister or not, Gordon Brown is surely allowed to make a mistake now and then – and his mistakes could be accepted if they were more on a personal basis (perhaps he forgot to refill the petrol in his wife’s car when he knew she had to be out early the next day, or he sent a birthday card to someone on the wrong date).
“Mistakes” such as these incorrect announcements to the public are not acceptable. It’s definitely time for a change in leadership, as seems to be planned this morning. A whole change of cabinet might also be a good plan. Whether this will solve the problems with this government or not, remains to be seen.