Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Labour don't get it

The young Labour candidate for Speaker had some interesting ideas. But heaven help us whenever Labour try to turn ideas into policy.

First there is a committee. The committee passes its ideas to a commission. The commission takes 15 months to deliver a report that repeats the ideas of the committee.

A Tsar is appointed to oversee a quango. The quango is given an enormous budget. The quango recruits lots of young people just out of school. The quango issues a public consultation document. The quango takes 15 months to filter public responses. It issues recommendations for how it will implement policy.

The Cabinet receives the quangos recommendations and passes them to the Policy Committee. The Policy Committee eliminates controversial elements of the policy and passes it to the drafting department. The drafting department takes 12 months to issue a Draft Bill.

The Draft Bill is mentioned in a Queen's Speech. A four-year Parliament passes. The Draft Bill is mentioned in the next Queen's speech. Pressure arises for something to be done. The government removes more controversial clauses from the Bill and places it in the Lords for a reading. More clauses fall but a few good intentions remain. Eventually the Act is passed unnoticed on a Thursday afternoon, after a debate with a Minister, two supporters and two opposition members.

The quango begins to implement the policy up and down the country. It promises enormous funds to local authorities, supported by eager private finance. Two years later, news reports emerge that the quango has gone bust. Local authorities are left with scores of unfinished constructions and massive unpaid bills. Questions of litigation and compensation for taxpayers are raised.

The Tsar is called before a Parliamentary Committee. The Committee asks if implementation of the policy had really been thought through. Were expectations too high? Was financial management too weak? Why did he imagine he had available a bottomless pot of money?

The Tsar replies he was merely implementing government policy. He steps down from his post with a Treasury pension of £12 million.

The government announces it will completely reform its policy and it sets up a committee...

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