Brave new thoughts

Massive borrowing by the government may well have helped sort the banking crisis but I wonder if the penny has dropped in some parts of the labour party that borrowing is merely deferred taxation. It has to be repaid by huge hikes in taxes (rendering the country an unattractive place in which to earn a living or take risk and create jobs and wealth) or by big savings in what those taxes are also used for… the provision of public services and those associated costs. It is quite achievable to maintain all front line services in our schools and hospitals, in our armed services and prisons, regardless of what many politically-motivated people say, if immediate action is taken, with all the necessary courage and leadership that entails, to:

  1. Reform public sector pension provision. A popular move with many parts of the electorate but not the party donation cheque writers in the unions. It would also go a long way to end the growing apartheid and unhelpful bitter resentment festering between the private sector and those on fixed incomes on the one side and public sector with total job security and wonderful pension provision on the other.
  2. Change the system of delivery so that the “back office” needs hundreds of thousands fewer people. It is important to stress this is not about the quality of the good and decent people or their tremendous culture of public service… it is about the system that needs radical change.
  3. Move to a simplified business tax regime reducing hugely the numbers employed in the tax calculation and collection departments and (although back benchers bent on revenge will never accept it) increasing tax revenues.
  4. Stop the ridiculous “politically correct” job creation especially in local authorities such as “street naming executives” and “street football managers” which not only costs the tax payer but adds to the pension burden.

So why won’t these things happen?

Four hurdles:

  1. Vested interests will put the country’s needs behind their own.
  2. A media which always links public spending savings with fewer nurses and teachers making every politician run scared of tackling the issue.
  3. Political cowardice (understandable in democracies) but even if the penny drops and that is overcome the people who will be tasked with achieving the changes will be the very people who will suffer and…
  4. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas!