Wokingham News

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.

Who would have thought that 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 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.

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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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