Friday, 9 November 2007

Our masters

Yesterday's Times carried a piece by the ever-worthy Matthew Parris – and I know whereof I speak as I have read his autobiography three times – highlighting a letter to his successor written by Tom Winsor on the occasion of his leaving the office of Rail Regulator in July 2004.

With retirement at hand, Winsor clearly no longer felt constrained by the demands of his official position. The resulting letter is the most striking insight into the workings of the present government I have ever seen.

It reveals a world where short-termism is not merely among the ruling principles of the government but, in effect, the only ruling principle. Policies are shaped exclusively with tomorrow's headlines in mind.

I can imagine no more devastating a critique of what increasingly feels like the inexorable decline of political life in Britain as we are all dragged into the gutter by New Labour.

You can find Parris's article here. It contains a link to Winsor's letter.

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