So now we know Clegg’s defining purpose in government, or at least one of them – he is in charge of an exercise inviting the public to nominate laws that should be scrapped. For example:
I’ve just discovered for instance, would you believe it, that there’s still an old law in the statute book that says it’s an offence if you don’t report a grey squirrel in your own back garden.
Scrapping that particular rule will save an absolute fortune for the Exchequer. Really. Because Whitehall phones never stop ringing as obedient members of the public report millions of squirrel sightings each day. Or maybe not.
UPDATE: Alex here. Just wondering whether Danny Alexander learned anything as press officer for the Cairngorms National park, a great safe haven for the red squirrel. Won’t Clegg’s love of the marauding grey put the red jewels of the Cairngorms at risk?
Jim asked Downing Street this morning how much the entire exercise cost Whitehall, with no success*. But we now know the red squirrel may be paying an existential price.
* Sue Cameron reminds readers of FT Notebook this morning of the classic Yes Minister episode where the civil servants save money by axeing the new Bureaucratic Watchdog Office.