Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cameron the recentraliser

Jonathan Freedland on David Cameron's spending plans (and the fact that he's leading them with a plan to cut the cost of politics by cutting down on the number of MPs):
"Of course, the public is right to be outraged by the money MPs lavished on themselves through dodgy expenses. But to link the deficit to ministers' pay was little more than cheap demagoguery, seeking to turn justifiable anger at greedy MPs into a generalised loathing for public spending. Yes, I know the argument Cameron was making: that cutting the cost of politics is merely a way of leading by example. But to devote a whole speech to what he insisted is a looming debt crisis – one measured in the hundreds of billions – to a set of measures which at most will save £120m, a drop in the ocean, was fundamentally unserious. It was gesture politics."
Now, seeing as Cameron is also planning a much more noble cull of the quangos (and I struggle to disagree with that much even from this Spectator article on the subject) one has to wonder if there will be less by way of decision-making by a Conservative government?

And if they are planning to actually do anything apart from winning the election and then sitting on their hands? Would they sooner that all decisions are made by the Conservative Party centre, in conjunction with new, more powerful (i.e. with fewer rivals) civil servants?

If Cameron believes that fewer politicians will result in a better quality of deliberation, one has to wonder if he has any respectable basis for his claim to be a decentraliser?

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