Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The daily round of despair

There are times when, contemplating the world from my French fastness, the world appears to consist only of utter, irredeemable stupidity. Here is a more or less random sample from the last week.

The government intends to tell the parents of fat children that their children are ... fat.

And there is this example of health fascism, if anything even more sinister.

At the same time, we learn that firemen are forbidden to take down bunting or put up Christmas lights on the inevitable grounds that it is too dangerous.

Meanwhile, here is another example of corrosive state interference.

And, guess what, it turns out that all the recommended limits for safe drinking were invented, conjured from the air, yet accepted as absolutes for 20 years.

And then there is the small matter of the EU Treaty. Has there ever been a more obviously dishonest act by any British government in the last 100 years, say? 150 years maybe? It is more than shameful.

If there is a common thread it is that all these acts of bone-headed cretinousness are generated by socialists of various ilks, all certain of their far-sightedness (and need to keep their jobs). Will they ever get the point? People do not want to be pushed around by self-appointed, self-important nonentities for the simple reasons that 1) it is none of their business; and 2) it never works. In fact, perhaps more than any other single factor it is the endless incompetence, invariably hideously expensive, that makes these golly-we-are-jolly-important-here's-another-wise-initiative-from-us twats so unbearable.

The same can't be said of this article by Rachel Sylvester in today's Telegraph. The degree to which the paper, much like the Daily Mail, appears to have nobbled lately by the Bottler has been fairly widely reported. But it seems the damage has gone even deeper than was feared.

She writes:

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, however, hints at a subtle but significant break with the Blair years. Two of the authors, Richard Brooks and Nick Pearce, have, since writing it, been hired as senior advisers by Mr Brown. Although the report advocates diversity in the providers of schools and hospitals, it warns that there are some situations in which "markets" in the public services are "likely to fail".

"As a narrative of reform, 'choice' has been particularly unsuccessful: it has alienated the workforce without capturing the imagination of the public," it concludes.

On education, it says that local education authorities (a bĂȘte noire for Mr Blair) must be responsible for allocating places in order to stop the best institutions "cream skimming" clever pupils in their area.

On health, it argues that the "use of quasi-markets" should switch from secondary care in hospitals to primary care and the management of long-term conditions. Instead of parents and patients having "choice", it says they should be given a louder "voice" – with more power over local priorities and greater personalisation of services.

In other words, schools and hospitals should be made more convenient for users, rather than being forced to compete for patients and parents. They should also be controlled locally, rather than from Whitehall. It is potentially as radical an approach as Mr Blair's, but it is different and Mr Brown needs to explain how.

I know I am often rather slow off the mark but can someone please explain to me how if 'choice' over schools and hospitals is ruled out, a louder 'voice' will compensate? Ditto, what does 'more convenient for users' mean if it is not 'choice'? It's gobbledegook, mere words, meaningless noise, the whole designed to demonstrate to us the Bottler's vision when it is perfectly obvious that his only vision is one rooted in early 70s student socialism: more and more taxes leading to more and more centrally directed 'investment', none of which works. In fact, not only is the money effectively just being hosed away, there seems good reason to believe that the Great Brown Boom was all an illusion anyway.

The only bright spark in this otherwise relentless gloom is the news that the Brown/Blair split was if anything even more poisonous than we all thought. And that Ed Balls is more of a total turd than even I imagined.

No comments: