I do not know who coined this definition of the stages of a project, but I have seen several variations.
Like all good jokes it works because we recognise its truth.
The stages are:
- Wild enthusiasm
- Search for the guilty
- Punishment of the innocent
- Promotion for the uninvolved
The book named the British politicians they blamed for the war. It was a huge best-seller.
If, like me, you are interested in history, you can go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guilty-Men-CATO/dp/0571270204/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329557712&sr=1-1 and learn about the book.
If you are not interested in history I can only quote George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
I wonder what write-up our present bunch will get. They seem startlingly unaware of what history teaches.
Ordinary folk, aware that they owe too much money, have learned their lesson, stopped spending and started paying back their debts.
Government, conversely, is pissing away more money than ever. They promised to cut back but the truth is a stranger to them, as to all politicians. As Merryn Somerset Webb pointed out recently, they (that's you and me) are paying interest on the interest they owe. And by printing billions they are punishing savers and transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.
One unquestionably guilty wretch is the Great Bloated Haggis Gordon Brown, who greatly reduced the incentive to save by stealing £5 billion a year from pensions to help fund a huge growth in unproductive public "service" drones.
To my horror I hear Osborne is thinking of removing even more tax-free benefits from savers. He has learned nothing from Brown's mistake, nor does he understand the inevitable consequences of his action.
First: fewer people will save for their old age. Second: those who do will save less. Third: he will therefore raise less money. Fourth: it will cost millions for the lumbering tax people to change things.
And in the end the state will end up having to support countless more people in their old age.
One thing that will save money - which is better than raising more tax - is to simplify the world's most complex tax system, freeing God knows how many people to do something more useful than filling in forms, checking forms, lying about tax or trying to catch people lying about tax.
Osborne has never had to worry about money in his life, and is thus supremely unfitted to understand it. The same applies to Cameron. How the hell they have the gall to suggest "we are all in this together" I cannot believe.
Worryingly, the alternative financial expert, Ed Balls-the-well-named, is a bigger liar than they are - and was Gordon Brown's financial adviser.
We are in shit. They are in clover. But guilty as sin.