Since the onset of this current age of austerity we have been bombarded with statistics on deficits, historical and future, balance sheets real and virtual, etc etc etc…….enough to make political economists of all persuasions past turn in their graves and present pundits accountable for their views sometimes to their professional embarrassment. All such financial chicanery, one would have thought, rests on actual knowledge of how much this or previous governments actually spent and/or have budgeted to spend. One would appear to have been optimistic at least according to Jonathan Djanogly (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid), Justice; Huntingdon, Conservative).
In answer to a parliamentary question on June 13th he admitted that prior to the formation of the quango known as Her Majesty`s Courts and Tribunals Service the costs of running the country`s magistrates` courts were unknown. “The Ministry of Justice has no records relating to the costs of operating magistrates courts prior to the creation of Courts Service on 1 April 2005” Of course that does not preclude the disappearing numbers being in some basement in Whitehall in a dust covered folder marked “Not my fault” with an indecipherable signature in green ink. If anybody remembers Laurel and Hardy you`ll remember the catchphrase, “That`s another fine mess you`ve got us in”.