John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
  Groundhog Day
For those who are not aware of the Film the plot is basically that someone continues living the same day time after time (34 times in the film).

With the ejection of Ken Clarke from the Tory leadership contest we are essentially at the same position. Even pseudo wet David Cameron goes on about reducing taxes.

The problem is that, although the Labour Party have made a mess of running public services, a substantial majority of people - particularly those living in urban areas - depend on public services. Public services do need revenue to run.

The Conservatives, therefore, are guaranteed to continue to issue a message that they are not a political party aiming to represent the interests of the financially weaker members of society.

There is also a difficulty in developing a type of politics which is not in any way dependent upon convictions and beliefs. There is always the difficulty that politics is a bit like an ocean where some ships drift aimlessly, others steam purposely in a direction and have others following in their wake.

A leader needs to lead. David Davis, give him his due, is likely to lead - off a cliff, but he will lead. David Cameron is likely to drift aimlessly and leave the tory party becalmed.

Blair's real problem is an almost total inability to actually deliver. There is constitutional change which was politically driven. The war in Iraq was started to keep George's big donors happy. However, the rest of his agenda tends to be driven by the Civil Service.

The Civil Service tend to get obsessed with managerialism. Well meaning, bright, but inexperienced people in Whitehall sit down and write a load of rules that others throughout the country are forced to follow. Things still happen, but it all ends up rather chaotic.

Labour were in part lucky that they came into office with a strong economic position (mainly caused by the low price of oil). They then stuck to very tight financial controls. Then they turned the throttle of public spending from idle to full blast.

In the mean time some really silly deals were done. If people want to look at an effective Trades Union they should look at the BMA. The BMA have done some amazing deals with the government which is part of the reason why the health service is creaking. Bright young things in Whitehall have also changed the financial relationships in the health services such that it is teetering on a financial brink. Labour's failing in all of this is that they have not actually kept an eye on what the Civil Servants have been doing.

This has put them into an unsustainable situation. The overall government finances are in a mess. They are refusing to provide the assumptions behind the budget. I am pleased that the Information Commissioner has taken this issue and put it to the top of his pile of investigations. I can understand that they feel that they can cope with a large deficit as the national debt is relatively low. However, there is a big problem if they don't start looking at the issues seriously.

What happens when there is a lot of free resources available is that they start being wasted. I can identify tens of millions of pounds of money that the government have basically spent on froth. The mass of resources that go into ineffectual strategies and paperwork is another aspect as are the vast consultancy bills.

The problem when we hit famine rather than glut is that there tends to be a cut overall. Rather than cut out the candyfloss, core services get cuts as well. Gershon is being implemented almost without a debate - which in itself shows the flaws in the way parliament has been operating.

Governments tend to lose elections rather than opposition parties winning them. That is because it is the actions of governments that make people vote against them. The tory leadership election yesterday is saying that the Conservatives will not offer a mainstream alternative to Labour. That, of course, is our opportunity.
 
Comments:
Sorry this is off-topic, but I was just wondering where you were for the ID Cards vote yesterday? You know - the one the government only won by 25 votes. The one your party (rightly) opposes.

Any indication of more important commitments than protecting individual liberty against the encroaching power of the state would be much appreciated. Ta.
 
What he said.

You managed a blog post yesterday, but not a vote on perhaps one of the most significant pieces of legislation for a goodly while.
 
At the time I was in hospital.
 
Incidentally I did attend all the votes at the second reading and will (health issues permitting) attend all subsequent votes.
 
In which case please accept my apologies and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Nothing too serious, I hope?
 
"...the Conservatives will not offer a mainstream alternative to Labour. That, of course, is our opportunity."

That is, unless you are in coalition with them, of course, in which case you will suck up to them and offer no criticism at all.
 
Hehe. That's quite funny. Not that you were in hospital, but that we just made arses of ourselves.

Keep it up.
 
Sam, Nosemonkey, John didn't say he was ill. Perhaps he would like to explain what he was doing at the hospital.
 
It was, after all, in the Mail on Sunday today and quite a few people guessed.

I was at the birth of my 4th child.
 
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