Mid morning. Second pot of coffee. Time for Iain Dale? Well, why not: it’s like the journeys to Bedlam that Matthew Shardlake makes.
And our Essex boy is in ranting Essex Man frothing form this bright day:
Here it is, in full:
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised but I am. Mark Serwotka, the leader of the PCS union has said today that not only should there be not a single job cut in the civil service, we need more civil servants and a larger public sector to get us out of the recession. I despair. I didn’t think that even on the hard left there was anyone that stupid. How naive of me.
It is the private sector, and in particualr SMEs which will get us out of this mess, not the public sector. And the main priority of the government should be to create the business climate in which SMEs can thrive and invest.
And to listen to Brendan Barber and Bob Crow this morning you’d think we were back in the 1970s with talk of constant strikes and civil disobedience. Crow and his ilk need to be crushed. There’s no compromise to be had with them.
That will go down well with Dale’s regulars. We shall doubtless hear so much more of the same, as this government retreats back to its Thatcherite roots, inventing “enemies within” to excuse its own failures.
How long before need to be crushed means police checkpoints again deployed on the A1, or citizens beaten to the ground, kicked and then charged with “damage to a policeman’s boot” (as at Orgreave)?
Yet, it’s from a parallel universe. It invents a mythology that isn’t there. The notion of mild, decent Brendan Barber, the very model of a Muswell Hillbilly, as some red-in-tooth-and-claw revolutionary is beyond the ludicrous.
At the risk of Godwin’s law being invoked, is there some paranoia latent in the vocabulary of the Right? The notion of trade unionists being untermenschen to be crushed and rolling back the frontiers has a faint whiff of the panzers firing up for Polenfeldzug.
In the real world
Dale and his ilk (to coin a phrase) may not like it, but a well-resourced, efficient public sector is no bad thing. What we are going to get, on the contrary, are public servants denounced, demoralised, defiled, debased simply for doing their jobs. And all for the sake of “rolling back the frontiers of the State”.
On the other hand, there is the cool, clear-headed work done on the topic by (for one instance) Paul O’Brien’s team at the Association for Public Service Excellence. There’s a source of facts, not the puffing and posturing of the “Taxpayers’ Alliance” and their ilk.
Another Malcolmian aside:
Brendan Barber, Paul O’Brian: how long before Iain Dale, or one of his cronies opens up the Hibernophobic second front? As Malcolm interposed in a recent Slugger O’Toole thread, appropriately enough about “respect”.
As APSE has demonstrated, for every £1 we invest in public services, 64p is generated in local community: much going to precisely those SMEs that Dale wishes to encourage. 29% of public sector expenditure goes directly into the private sector. The recent distress-sale and break-up of Connaught is an indicator of the whirlwind to come:
They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up.
Hosea (here 8,7) was obviously an economist of worth. When Bloggs and Co., your local builder and contractor, goes bust, it won’t appear on the BBC news, or the national press.
That Sound of Thunder
For many years Malcolm had to spend Monday mornings, or Friday afternoons in classrooms with “Ten Gorilla” (a technical term used among teaching staff across the country, a term which might be misunderstood among lay persons). A regular stand-by was Ray Bradbury’s short stories. One that generally worked was A Sound of Thunder. The central section is frequently extracted as Hunting a Dinosaur.
The premise of the unedited story is that small changes in the past accumulate into radical changes in the future. That is the basis of “chaos theory”, perhaps best known through the “butterfly effect” propounded by Edward Lorenz.
This ConDem coalition is set upon a Hosean path that Tony Travers defined in an article for the Financial Times:
Apart from the Big Society rhetoric, a period of Cameron government will leave Britain a different place – moving beyond an attempt to deliver Sweden’s public services with America’s tax levels to one more like Britain before 1945, but with free healthcare.
The combination of a recession and unusual election outcome has triggered a radical experiment in British government. If its logic is followed through, Britain (or at least England) will become much more like the US, with a reduced public sector but many more philanthropic and voluntary “good government” bodies. Whether it does will depend on whether the public really wants a smaller state to match its grudging willingness to pay tax. But if the era of Britain’s big government is truly to be over, another issue matters more: just how far the coalition’s liberal anarchists are willing to go.
Which will the great British People, including Tories, detest the more: the “liberalism” or the “anarchy”?
And, despite the misrepresentation of Dale and his ilk, they won’t be blaming the newly-redundant public servants.
Malcolm now returns to a world of ordered sanity, to Shardlake and what remains in that cafetière.