Back to the future: The Cabinet papers of 2011
Amid the row over the Cabinet papers of 1981, Matt Finnegan goes back to the future to imagine what the Cabinet papers from 2011 might reveal....
Secret Government papers from 2011 reveal that David Cameron's Cabinet sat on their hands as unemployment worsened and Britain headed towards a depression, we can exclusively reveal.
In one telling extract from the papers, there was complete and utter silence around the Cabinet table at No 10 when there were reports of rioting all over the country as unemployment soared.
In an exclusive extract for this week's North of England Echo celebrity magazine, we can reveal that the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, was heard to mutter: "we're all doomed."
Mr Clegg, who was subsequently made a peer in the now abolished House of Lords, later went on to total political obscurity, appearing only as a judge in a few TV talent shows on the now defunct BBC after his Lib Dem party were wiped out in the General Election of 2015.
The Cabinet papers for 2011, released today under the 30-year rule, show that Mr Cameron's cabinet had no other policy for the recession-hit British economy apart from cutting public spending and letting the banker's off the hook.
At one point during a Cabinet discussion on mounting unemployment and zero growth, Chancellor George Osborne lit a large cigar and told colleagues: "These people on the dole must buck their ideas up and go and find work - and anyway, none of them went to Eton with me."
His colleague, Michael Gove, who went on to run a successful chutney making business in the Cotswolds, advised colleagues: "We will do what we always do: blame the unions! Don't worry, the Daily Mail will do our propaganda for us!"
Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was knighted in King William's first-ever Honours List at the dissolution of Parliament in 2015, had complained that the Government was giving people the impression that there was no alternative to austerity.
But he was shouted down by Cabinet colleagues when he began advocating a Robin Hood tax, a fairer tax system, a tax on bankers bonuses and policies which "brought real growth, not put people on the dole."
Sir Vince of Charlatan then apologised to Mr Cameron for his 'uncharacteristic outburst' and promised that he would 'say no more'.
Sir Vince then became the first Cabinet Minister in history to never again make a speech, interview or any other form of public utterance. This three-year-long period is now known by historians as "The Shameful Silence".
There was consternation about the 'hacking' scandal, which later led to the jailing of former No 10 Communications chief Andy Coulson, but Mr Cameron promised that he would 'phone Rupe' and "sort it all out."
Meanwhile the Cabinet papers reveal how there was mounting panic within the Coalition Government at Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's plans for what was then known as the 'National Health Service'.
This was an outmoded concept of the time, by which people were treated on the basis of their health needs, not how much money they had. It led on occasion, to someone unimportant, like a care worker for example, receivi ng hospital treatment before a captain of industry!
Mr Lansley, who was later given a £20million a year job with a major drug company, assured Cabinet colleagues that he would force the legislation through without anyone noticing.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, responded: "Thar must be puddled, lad."
According to the Cabinet papers, there was also much discussion about the new Labour leader Ed Miliband, who later went on to a successful career as a Professor of Divinity at Harvard.
Mr Cameron expressed relief that Mr Miliband's brother David, who later became British Ambassador to China, was still languishing on the backbenches.
"Phew, that was a frightfully lucky escape for us," he remarked to Mr Clegg, with a knowing wink as he applied an extra layer of make-up for an important TV interview.
The Cabinet also spent some time planning the 2012 Olympics, which Francis Maude had described as "a huge and extremely welcome distraction", before voting to send a letter of congratulation to Lord Coe.
Not surprisingly, there was no discussion around the Cabinet table about Liverpool, or indeed any of the other once great Northern cities, which then virtually disappeared in the Great Depression of 2013.
*Any resemblance to actual events is entirely co-incidental.