Pushing water uphill:: the Portas delusion; why everything "they" tell you is wrong; and the Gospel of Less
Mark Twain said the principal task of each new administration is to make the last one look good.
But that's enough about Mr. Cameron. Let us turn instead - if we can without laughing - to his shopping "Czar" Mary Portas. She is the woman who calls herself the Queen of Shops - the one who's going to "regenerate the high street", remember?
Since this is impossible she has written a report. Like all these wretched people she has a vision. The vision will not help, because she cannot wave a wand and make three things vanish. They are the Internet, shopping malls and supermarkets.
I too have a vision, part of which came to me yesterday when I was walking down School Road - the high street in Sale, Manchester where I lived as a child. I remember walking down there on a sunny day, holding my mother's hand. I must have been about five.
Just past the station the road becomes Northenden Road - and 30 yards on there's a Wetherspoon's pub, the J. P. Joule. If you ever want to see a heart-warming selection of eager strumpets go there on a Thursday night. But I digress, because in the pub are old photographs showing Sale before it was decreed that shopping is good for you.
You'd never believe it, but there were far fewer shops. People used to live in houses on each side of these streets, and there was a rather agreeable serenity as a result. I do not think it will be a national disaster if this happens again.
Nor do I think it will be a disaster if people decide there is something better in life than working harder and harder in boring jobs to make more money to buy stuff you can probably manage without.
If I were a preacher I would preach the Gospel of Less.
I think we need fewer laws - the ones we have had for centuries if carefully applied will do just fine. I think we need less government and fewer ministers with silly titles like Minister for Sport and Minister for Culture. Shakespeare, Dickens and Stanley Matthews did just fine without some ass presiding.
We need fewer enquiries, committees, consultants and money wasted by government. Which reminds me: we would get by with fewer broken promises from people like Cameron - sorry to mention him again, but he is such fraud.
I am sure we need less tax and lower top rates. But equally sure that my old boss Martin Sorrell doesn't really need over £16 million a year to rub along.
I also keep thinking it must be possible to reorganise one thing that seems insane. One part of the nation is working like mad in what they used to call private enterprise to pay the other half who work in what they call the public sector.
Many of these people hate their jobs. Many of the jobs involve managing all the other needless stuff that's been foisted on us. Take our tax system. Did you know it's the most complicated in the world? An entire department is devoted to explaining it. Can working at something so stupid be satisfying in any way?
Maybe people trapped in such ghastly jobs would like to migrate to our side of the fence. There would be fewer of them to pay and more doing useful stuff - so we would all have to work far less.
It makes sense to me, but there you are.
Who first said "less is more"?
To my surprise I see the poet Browning wrote it in a poem about the painter Andrea del Sarto.
But I bet someone in Greece said it earlier.