What the government failed to tell us

The government did not tell us that it was going to be so cold with all this global warming.

Nor did they tell us at the last budget they would be charging us more than 70p a litre in tax on unleaded with a pump price of 110p.

They did not say that within a few months into Gordon Brown’s premiership the main Forties pipeline would be closed down owing to an industrial dispute that stems from his taxation of pension funds and the consequent closure of many funds to new members.
The more the government says “Don’t panic” the more people worry that the government is not in charge and there may be shortages at the pumps. You can feel the authority draining away from the government by the hour.

The government did not tell us when first elected in 1997 that they would want to damage our liberties in the name of security. They did not stand for election as the party that would give us more surveillance cameras than a communist state, nor did they campaign strenuously for much longer detention without charge or trial, yet that is now their stock in trade.

The government did not tell us in 1997 that putting education first meant changing the exams system into a succession of short term cramming exercises to get through modules so schools could hit their targets. Never before have children been so often examined, in so many different exams, to so little purpose.

The government did not tell us in 1997 that they would spend unparalleled sums of money on public services, spending so much on spin doctors, glossy brochures, management consultants and extra administrative staff. Can the Prime Minister really need £2 million a year of spin doctors as recently reported? Wouldn’t spending more time on sorting out the underlying problems be a better way?

They did not tell us that their anti poverty programme would entail large armies of officials to take tax off many people, and more large armies of officials to give some of it back in the form of tax credits.

They did not tell us they would give away so much power to Brussels, claiming each time an unpopular law came in from the EU that Britain was winning the argument.

They did not tell us that lop sided devolution for Scotland would fuel English nationalism, creating resentment at the better financial deal many English people now think Scotland gets from the Union.

They did not tell us their idea of local government devolution was to seek to create uniformity of policy and approach through hundreds of rules, regulations and guidance notes, and a star system to grade the results as if the electors had no role in judging.

They did not tell us they would face headlines in papers complaining of fraud and error in our electoral systems.

They did not tell us that government to them meant a continuous conversation with the media, rather than seriously trying to identify and solve economic and social problems that government can tackle.


  1. tim holden
    April 28, 2008

    They do have an excuse for not telling us what they were doing – they did not know what they were doing.

  2. Letters From A Tory
    April 28, 2008

    They also failed to tell us how they would take advantage of the Honours system to give their buddies a nice reward, nor did they tell us they would create such a high tax burden. Actually, there's quite a lot of things they forgot to mention.

  3. Tony Makara
    April 28, 2008

    The Labour government did not tell us that the poorest people in our society would lose access to NHS dentistry and that their flagship 3.4 Billion, New Deal programme would do nothing to stop youth unemployment increasing by 20%. The Labour government also did not tell us that they were going to sell our gold 'cut-price' and move the goalposts when it came to measuring inflation.

  4. Deborah
    April 28, 2008

    a) They did not tell us their tax and benefit arrangements would be set up to encourage family breakdown
    b) They did not tell us they would open our borders and encourage uncontrolled immigration.
    c) They did not tell us their planning policies would encourage backyard development, replacing traditional houses with dense blocks of flats and concreting over our greenfields – to build extra homes to cater for a) and b).

  5. Mark Wadsworth
    April 28, 2008

    Excellent list, good additions 1 to 3 below. In fact, it'd probably be quicker listing what they did tell us. I struggle to think of much on that list.

  6. Bazman
    April 28, 2008

    Most importantly they did not tell the Conservative voters the value of their house or houses would triple in ten years and how much money they have 'made' would be their main topic of dinner party conversation. Pity.

  7. Ian Evans
    April 28, 2008

    It all sounds like Leonard Cohen lyrics. Equally depressing too!

  8. GeoffH
    April 28, 2008

    They did tell us that they were "the political arm of the British people as a whole", which summed up their arrogance quite neatly. And the danger they posed. (That 'Demon Eyes' poster was quite justified and certainly prophetic).

    No-one should have been surprised at their tinkering with the constitution, electoral system etc after that – and all designed to maintain a permanent presence in power.

    One more fiddle – PR with the LibDems – and they'd have achieved the coup d'etat they so earnestly desired.

    We have one last chance to foil them.

  9. John
    April 28, 2008

    Well, wouldn't you have kept quiet about such apalling governance too?

  10. Matthew Reynolds
    April 28, 2008

    Labour are not incompetent – rather they had dark & sinister motives right from the start . Mass immigartion , welfare dependency and 800,000 more people working for the public sector are Labour's way of creating a client state designed to be left wing in orientation so that Labour keep winning general elections by virtue of the said people relying on the state and so voting for a pro- big government Labour Party . Rather than just bleating about Labour's policies the Tories need to offer a positive alternative . If high taxes & big government are making our economy less competitive while poverty is rising then could it be I wonder that lower taxes and a smaller state sector could be the solution ? Ronald Reagan went for tax cuts rather than redistribution and it worked both in terms of falling poverty rates and a prolonged economic boom . Does one really have to say more ?

  11. d
    April 28, 2008

    Labour didn't tell us that they wanted to keep more and more of our personal data on computers, accessible by any Tom, Dick or Harriet in public service – or by someone picking up CDs or DVDs in the street.

    Labour didn't tell us that they had made the client state more and more difficult to unpick by future governments (although one Gordon Brown has probably come to realise that he can't unpick his clever tax band/tax credit nightmare either).

    They didn't tell us that we would be committed to open-ended wars on doubtful evidence.

    They didn't tell us that our homes are no longer our castles – but drop in centres for the State's minions.

    Labour didn't tell us that their local government funding policies would lead to additional charges or increased 'fines' for services that were once included in 'the rates'.

    Labour didn't tell us that the law abiding subjects would feel threatened by every yob and criminal and unable to do anything about it because of a disinterested police 'service'.

  12. mikestallard
    April 29, 2008

    In with a bang – out with a whimper – and very soon too, I hope.

  13. David Eyles
    April 29, 2008

    Matthew Reynolds has reminded me that Simon Heffer has also made the point that Labour are not so much incompetent as having deliberately set about destroying so much that is good about this nation. In particular, the formation of the client state and the continual, piecemeal loss of our liberty in order to maintain themselves permanently in power.

    Its an interesting question and one which can only be looked at by rigorous historical analysis. If Matthew's proposition is correct, then who was the architect of this and how was it disseminated?
    (Sentence left out -ed)
    For such widespread destruction of our country to have been the product of deliberate policy by the Labour party, then there must be indicators of the kind I have mentioned. If there are no definite indicators, then it is merely incompetence on a trully epic scale. What an interesting PhD thesis for someone to undertake.

  14. Miller 2.0
    April 29, 2008

    "The government did not tell us when first elected in 1997 that they would want to damage our liberties in the name of security. "

    John, you can't really be telling me that if you get into government, you would do things any differently?

    the last time you lot were in, you were pretty darned authoritarian.

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