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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Minister for Reducing the Size of Government

Parties who aim at government promise that their spending commitments/tax cut can be funded out of "efficiency savings". We voters, having heard it before & knowing that words are much easier than actions tend to be sceptical. Moreover there is the risk that if we did believe them we would suspect they could only do it by making swingeing cuts in visible areas - as indeed opponents always claim.

In this regard I note this from John Redwood's wikipedia entry:

in 1995 he returned £100,000,000 of Wales' block grant to the UK treasury unspent following efficiency savings and cost-cutting measures

Wales is roughly 1/20th of Britain so that figure is equivalent to £2 billion for the UK then. I assume that for every £ returned to Westminster several £s were spent in Wales more sensibly (I'm guessing total savings at about 5 times greater). The budget has nearly doubled since 1997 (though inflation has only been 31%). This produces a minimum figure of £20 billion across the UK today.

The maximum credible would be £200 billion which is the extent spending has increased in real terms under this government.

The current Conservative opposition is suffering from a lack of credibility. It would be worthwhile to make a shadow ministry specifically for identifying savings & putting Redwood in charge of it. There could be no serious opposition claims that he could not produce such savings since he has a specific record of having done so in Wales equivalent to about £20 billion without swinging cuts in the number of nurses. His history clearly gives the Conservatives a unique opportunity to be credible in promising to run government more efficiently.

In my previous party I suggested that a (Scottish) Parliamentary Committee formed simply to identify possible expenditure cuts would work. I believe that politicians genuinely do wish to improve people's lives. It is human nature to think of things to do, rather than deciding the best thing you can do is nothing. This almost automatically costs money. By giving them a specific duty to identify savings their minds would be concentrated in what I consider a more useful direction. Irrespective of who takes the job of Minister for Reducing the Size of Government I think it would be a valuable one.

Considering we are in the middle of a bank crash directly attributable to the policies of Redwood and his ilk I would have thought you might have had pause for thought before arguing for more policies based on imbecilities.
You may, if you wish, deny that Mr Redwood & "his ilk" are not in power (or even in control of the opposition) & that Labour have been in power for 11 years. Your grasp on reality is tenuous, but then I suppose it would have to be.
Mr Redwood has been a prominent exponent of laissez faire economics, in particular the deregulation of business. He was urging a 'light touch' supervision of City institutions until very recently. In this country his political views stand in direct line to the economic libertarianism advocated by Keith Joseph under Thatcher. Products of Joseph's advice included the demutualisation of the building societies and the deregulation of the City under the Tories.

Internationally these policies have produced first the corporate fraud associated with a raft of companies such as Enron, then the crisis in the American sub-prime mortgage market and finally the collapse of international banking. In Britain too the banking sector has collapsed. This strand of economics stands completely discredited and shows Redwood to be a prattling fool.
It has also been argued that the fact that the US regulators insistence that loans reflected ethnic balance, thus leading to Mexican immigrants without assets getting approval for massive loans, on which many have now defaulted, played some part in the losses. A problem of government regulation not of its lack.

Redwood has answered your, & some Labourites allegations on this line by pointing out that he had specificly favoured some useful regulations.

In any case the point stands - neither he, nor Keith Joseph nor Margaret Thatcher have been in government for the last 11 years & the buck stops with their opponents who have.
Redwood is top man.

Which is your 'previous party'? Have you given up on the Lib Dems?
The previous party was indeed the LibDims & the link there was to the Enterprise motion I proposed (repeatedly) to party conference for the Scottish Parliament to seek power or agreement to cut Corporation Tax in Scotland.

Largely as a result I was expelled

Shortly thereafter the SNP adopted pretty much the same policy & subsequently won the Scottish election. The LudDims now, at least officially, consider cutting taxes to be liberal & are seeking for this power to be devolved.
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