Britain has become one of the most centralised countries in the developed world with a top down, target driven, box ticking and surveillance obsessed government that has consistently placed its faith in laws rather than people.
The Queen’s Speech which we have now finished debating in the House of Lords confirms that this veracious appetite to legislate, meddle and regulate shows no sign of abating:
The speech states ‘The government are going to work to build trust in democratic institutions’ and yet there are now 1,152 quangos in the UK responsible to unelected boards rather than democratically accountable institutions’.
Local government represents 25% of government expenditure but 81% of central targets. The responsibility to report is not the same as the responsibility to act, which has been taken away.
We have now overtaken India as the country with the longest tax code in history. In 1997, Tolley’s yellow Tax Hand book ran to 5000 pages, which was the culmination of nearly two centuries of tax legislation. By 2009, the ‘handbook’ ran to 11,500 pages. More of a van-book than a handbook.
Over the past 12 months, while 900,000 jobs have been lost in the private sector, 289,000 jobs have been created in the public sector.
The speech states ‘that the government will Legislate to introduce guarantees for pupils and parents to raise educational standards ‘ and yet after twelve wasted years this only half of the students leaving state schools managed to attain just 5 decent GCSE passes and we have plummeted in international league tables in maths and science.
The speech also said that the government will ‘Enshrine into law its commitment to abolish child poverty by 2020′ when over the past 10 years the numbers have fallen by only 10% and that was before the recession. So how are supposed to take seriously that legislation will eradicate the remaining 90% in the next ten. Slogans have become a substitute for action.
The speech states there will be legislation to narrow the gap between rich and poor and yet The Guardian no less states ‘Britain under Gordon Brown is a more unequal country than at any time since modern records began in the early 1960s… As a result, income inequality at the end of Labour’s 11th year in power was higher than at any time during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. [The Guardian 8th May 2009].’
This government are all about complexity and control. Good legislation empowers the individual. Bad legislation empowers the state. Good government promotes enterprise and celebrates creativity and diversity. Bad government promotes dependency and demand conformity.
This big brother government, which has lived by a tick box culture, will hopefully soon die by the ultimate box tick.