Instituted idiocy

Dr John Cameron (Letters, 24 February) asks if there is an exam that fire officers sit “to ensure they have the necessary level of stupidity to hold a promoted post”.

If so, it’s probably the same exam passed by the politicians and civil servants who drew up the policies or contracts for fire chiefs to retire at 50 for a vast pension and return a week later; for Holyrood to be designed by a Spaniard; for Edinburgh trams to be covered by a single contract rather than separately for below and above ground works; for bank bail-outs which did not bring pensions and bonuses under their control; for GPs to do less work for greatly increased pay and to be included in the NHS pension scheme, despite being self-employed contractors; for public sector pensions guaranteed for the next 25 years to be far superior than their private sector equivalents; for marginal tax rates to approach 100 per cent at certain low and medium income levels; for tax legislation so complicated that it requires armies of both HMRC and consultancy staff to administer (and even they find much of it incomprehensible); for the debauching of our currency and savings through inflation and quantitative easing; for our official national debt definition which excludes most of our biggest liabilities and for the mushrooming growth of myriad welfare benefits to levels well in excess of most wages.

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John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews