Have you ever been overdrawn? Have you agreed an overdraft with your bank which legitimises being in the red? If or when you overreach that limit does your bank charge you?
It's not a pleasant feeling, knowing that you are incurring the displeasure of your bank manager. Actually it's more likely to be a computer that clocks the fact that you've overspent again and then a human is alerted and sends you a standard letter.
Well, imagine how Gordon Brown must be feeling. That huge piggy bank called the Treasury is empty; more than that it is overdrawn to the tune of around £17.5 billion. That's £17.5 billion. Time to pull in the horns, tighten the belt, hold on to the purse strings, count every penny, make £1 do the work of two and all those other useless and overdue bits of folk wisdom.
As Chancellor of the Exchequer GB was doing a grand job, or so we were told repeatedly by Tony Blair. Perhaps he knew the mess canny Gordon was getting into and maliciously allowed him to continue knowing that he'd get his just rewards once he became the unelected successor to the Prime Minister. Maybe he didn't know. Possibly he didn't care.
Whatever the circumstances of the downslide the net result is that Great Britain Limited is severely strapped. Don't worry though, GB – that's the man, not the country – will pull something out of the hat just as he has before, but it will undoubtedly be a short-term remedy to try and drag his government out of the mire and spray them with rosewater before the General Election.
Meanwhile the Civil Service has been guaranteed huge pensions that are on average six times the size of pensions of people in industry. Unlike industry pensions which are already funded by employees paying into their funds, Civil Service pensions are not already financed but are funded later on through tax revenues. Add to the equation the fact that Civil Servants can retire early, even at the age of fifty, on full pension. This creates an enormous problem for the country in years to come.
Gordon Brown has made matters worse by raiding funds in the private sector; he has taxed pension accounts leaving a problem for industry which faces reduced pensions. In not too many years from now there will be a very large aged poor population and how will they be supported?