What ifs and if onlys

As many of my dedicated readers know, I am but a lowly and
somewhat simple accountant who has seen fit over the years to
scratch a living out of several finance related businesses, some
reasonably successful and some a complete bloody disaster.

The disasters, resulting in cancelled orders for Aston Martins
and girlfriends re-appraising why they were dating someone with
less money than an Icelandic bank, normally came about because of
my over-enthusiasm and lack of financial planning. When I applied
basic economic principles – like don’t spend what you ain’t got, or
something like that, along with supply and demand and risk
assessment theory – I tended to be more successful.

But most important of all the theories was the theory of “What
If?” So I would consider my amazing new business idea, set my
budgets, then look at the ‘what if’ scenarios along with other
business colleagues and accountants.

After this tiresome but necessary exercise we tended to have
most situations covered, making sure that not only was the business
covered in the event I got run over by a red bus, but also if
Brighton suffered a tsunami or if I mysteriously felt the sudden
urge to fly the Atlantic whilst strapped to a balloon. So when
things were going incredibly well, one would assume that this
government would have all the various possibilities covered.

Bad planning

Think about the million laws passed each year by this government
as a result of their amazing “What If” analysis. For example, what
if a school has a fete and decides to have a coconut shy? What
happens if someone throws a ball that hits a coconut, bounces off,
then strikes a child in the eye, resulting in a claim against the
local authority for a squillion pounds? Aha, best create a new law
banning coconut shies and children at school fetes.

But what was Chancellor Brown, oops I mean Darling, doing when
setting budgets over the years? Wasn’t the Northern Rock fiasco a
bit of a warning as to what could happen? A bit of a “What If”
moment if ever I saw one – but where were Brown and Darling? Why
didn’t one of them suggest a “What If” analysis of the possible
economic changes that could lead to the failure of the UK and world
banking systems? Were they sitting there thinking, let’s do a
budget. Great idea! Shall we do some “What If” analysis or have a
cup of tea? Make mine an Earl Grey, Darling.

But best of all was not the fact that we had a well-rehearsed
plan in place to cover this particular “What If” banking scenario,
which we didn’t, but that we panicked and came up with a solution
that hasn’t made one iota of difference to the price of bread or
the ability of first time buyers to but a house. Bloody useless,
couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, not that it would be
allowed, as there’s probably a law banning it by now.