For some reason, I found myself wondering this morning why people got so angry about MPs expenses. I mean, I understand the indignation that people feel, but getting worked up about 55p bath plugs or £600 spent on a duck house is rather silly when you consider the vast sums of our money that the government wastes on their pet victim groups, various quangos and schemes.
In the end, the only conclusion I could reach was that it was conceptual. We can all relate to £600 here and there as they are sums we are all familiar with. We can even grasp the concept of a few hundred thousand or couple of million, but very few people can get their heads around the £130,000,000,000 we spend on quangos each year.
That's the problem. The sums of money which the government handle (and waste) have become so large that they've become utterly meaningless to us. We can understand a few hundred here and there or even several hundred thousand because we can relate to it - but once you get beyond a certain point there is no meaning to the money.
Furthermore, the figures become so oft repeated that you become desensitized to them. Even I can remember when a billion pounds was a rarely used figure that raised eyebrows. Today we barely even register a flicker at the mention of hundreds or thousands of billions.
I think it's time we had a redenomination of our money so that £10 becomes £1. It wouldn't completely solve the problem - £13,000,000,000 is still a bloody big sum of money - but at least we could bring back the pound note and have a decent night out for under a tenner!