What I would like for Christmas

There is something I want for Christmas.

It is a government which understands that people have seen through spin and are sick and tired of silly media games played by senior politicians.

We are fed up with consultations that are bogus, with promises that are not kept, with side stories that try to distract from the bigger issues and with Ministers who think legislation is just another press release to capture a headline.

We would like Ministers to spend more time in their offices sorting out the problems, and less time on the media telling us they are sorted, or trying to get us to look elsewhere when a disaster is all around them.

We would like Ministers to concentrate on the things where they can make a difference. We would like them to spend taxpayers money as carefully as they do their own. We would like them to find out what they can buy with extra cash before they put out a press release saying they are going to spend it.

We would like Ministers that had some commonsense. It seems stupid to penny pinch ?40 million over police pay, upsetting police officers, whilst asking Northern Rock how many noughts it needs on the latest cheque as the bill climbs higher than ?25,000 million of loans.

We would like Ministers who believe in their staff enough to ask them to do the work, rather than putting so many things out to management and other consultants so we pay twice to get it done.

We would like Ministers who wanted to tell Parliament first, rather than reaching for the spin doctor to brief things in advance. We would be grateful if when they say Parliament will decide something, Parliament holds a decent debate and has a vote before the Treaty is signed or the action taken.

We would like them to answer questions about their stewardship, instead of replying to every reasonable question about something the Conservatives said or did years ago.

We would like them sometimes to take their critics criticisms seriously, instead of trying each time to demolish the critic.

We want them to spend less on administration and spin, and more on the services on the ground. We want an end to regional government in England, an end to ID computers and cards, an end to so much extra regulation.

As we approach Christmas the country is weary of the lecturing and hectoring, the spin and the incompetence.

Could Ministers think long and hard over the holiday about why they are so unpopular? Could they come back refreshed in the New Year realising that people want more delivered for less. We want a government that likes us, not one which is always telling us we have to mend our ways, and that everything is our fault.

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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