How do you deliver competent government?

As someone who loves the dash of the new and who thinks the modern world is in many ways better than past decades, I hesitate to say that we should go back a past model. Better perhaps, is to say government needs to learn more from successful organisations in the private sector that do not have the luxury of getting away with mistakes.

It is true that the Blair model of government did a lot of damage. He and his immediate cronies believed that the prime task of government was to manage the media. They claimed that their task was uniquely difficult, because suddenly they lived in a world of 7 x 24 news, as if previous decades did not have to deal with an intrusive press quite capable of making out of hours calls if things were exciting enough. They had morning and evening papers and morning, daytime and evening radio broadcasts in the 1930s, whilst there has been plenty of late night and early morning tv in more recent times.

They damaged government by believing that a government can control all this media, and by thinking it is government’s unique job to entertain the media on a 7 x 24 basis. If government does not bother to entertain the media that regularly there are plenty of film stars, rock stars, footballers and other celebrities grateful to make fools of themselves sufficiently to boost their appearances.

Government should talk to the media when it has something to say. It has to accept it will be questioned when it has made a mistake. It should regard staying out of the media quite often as a success, as the media usually wants you in when you are on the ropes, not when you are succeeding. Government should concentrate on governing, and on saying enough so people know what it is trying to do and what it has achieved. Actiosn often speak lounder than words. A good economic recovery, and falling enegry prices, would be appreciated by voters even without a spin doctor to tell them about it.

Competent government needs to spend more time working out solutions to problems, seeking to proceed by trials and by careful policy implementation. It needs to spend plenty of time researching, testing and discussing, before rushing out a press release or statement. Mr Blair showed how dangerous and absurd government by press release could be, with items like his thugs to a cashpoint. This government needs to take an issue like high energy prices, analyse its causes properly, and then decide which of those causes it can and should tackle to get energy prices down. When it has a finalised version which should work, then is the time to tell peo[ple about it and to start its implementation.

In the case of energy the cost of customer subsidised electricity generation from dearer sources is a bigger cause of high energy prices than the margins of the main producers. The much lower energy prices in the US owe much to faster exploitation of shale gas technology.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

113 Comments

  1. Single Acts
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    With apologies for O/T

    Can it be right that we are forced pay cash to an organisation which it is alleged, paid, protected and enabled child sex abusers and continued to deny any wrongdoing until the weight of the evidence made denials no longer possible?

    The bill for my licence fee hit the mat yesterday and it is by far the most loathsome thing I have received this year.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Don’t pay it.
      I don’t – just don’t watch live tv and you don’t have to.

      Most things are available on demand slightly later anyway, which doesn’t require a licence.
      Unless you have a burning desire to watch Coronation Street at 20:00 instead of 21:00, it doesn’t make any difference.
      Only cost you may incur is some form of communication system from your computer to tv to allow you to stream, but it’s a one time capital outlay and not a recurring rip off.

      • Adam5x5
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        PS. To clarify, that’s not an encouragement to break the law and watch live tv without a licence. Just pointing out if you don’t watch live tv, you don’t need one.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      This is not ‘O/T’, Single Acts.

      In fact it strikes at the heart of why we no longer have a ‘competent’ Tory party.

      The BBC largely determines who is put forward and the limits of the manifesto. So much so that Mr Redwood has been called ‘far’ right.

      The BBC is the reason that Boris is such a force.

      It is not his right wing politics but his inginuity in evading the BBC sneer machine which makes him such an asset.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Much truth in that. JR’s views are surely just what most reasonable and intelligent people think (other than his minor aberration on capital punishment) then not really “extreme right”, whatever that is, at all. Just sensible and what would actually work best for all, on balance.

    • Vanessa
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      I have refused to pay my licence fee for 2 years now. The BBC should be abolished, there is no place for state run media in this country. I worked for the BBC in the 60s & 70s and was warned about Savile even then so it was well-known he was keen in teenage girls. I have copious amounts of correspondence with the BBC where I asked to pay Channel 4 or ITV as they call it a broadcasting licence but that is a misnomer because it goes ONLY to the BBC – disgusting.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        @Vanessa: The BBC is not “state run”. Also if you knew about Savile back in the 1970s why didn’t YOU inform the police, you are thus as much to fault as anyone else so please stop ranting.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      @Single Acts: What utter nonsense, just yet more “I hate the BBC” ranting and you should be ashamed to use the current sex abuse scandal to forward your personal dislike of a charge you don’t even need to pay, many poeple live quite happy lives without TV.

      Anyway, there are all sorts of charges and taxes that one is forced to pay that might have similar people employed within the military, NHS, VOSA/DfT, the Police or -even with the CRB checks- Teaching (both state and private) etc. Returning to broadcasting for a moment, how can you be so certain that no undetected/prosecuted sex offender has not or is not similar (alleged) offences whilst working for one of the commercial broadcasters, who we pay for, even those who have no TV, via the price of any product that use the broadcast medium to advertise the product or brand…

  2. Richard Evans
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    “Actiosn often speak lounder than words”

    In general I agree, but the media and especially the BBC are trying to create and magnify the omnishambles meme. To me this means the govt has to make frequent announcements, however when those announcements are made they have to ensure they are completeley watertight.

    I would also advise that Cameron calls in the Lib Dems and tells them that this campaign of whispering and spinning against the govt must end – a house divided against itself etc.

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Yes the US has seen electricity come down so that some high users are set to open factories again that had looked at Asia.
    But the US do not have the 2008 climate change act, that has targets to have is it 25% of our electricity from renewables by 2020 or the target to reduce CO2 emissions by80% by 2050 both part of this ACT put through by Ed Milliband,voted by all but a few MPs.
    With Germany now building coal fired power stations and Japan switching to gas from Nuclear,although CO2 continue to rise even the Met office states that the so called warming is and has been in a Pause for the last 16 YEARS.
    So lets forget about the 2008 climate change act and get the cheaper power we need to help our grandchildren pay off the dept we are leaving them!!!

    • Credible
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Brian, I don’t remember the Met Office saying that. Can you supply the quote?

  4. lifelogic
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    The modern world is in so very many ways much better than past decades. Indeed it is. Technology, medicine, IT, communications, transport, heating, food production, buildings and countless other areas have made a huge improvements. Against this however the malignant growth of government and much of the parasitic legal profession have swallowed so much of the advantages of these improvements. Population growth too has stretched the earth’s resources.

    The government and the EU’s obsession with absurd religions such are the Carbon on and enforced “equality” or “fairness” ones are merely ruses for more pointless government activity, as surely everyone now realises. The EU/BBC are at it again today on woman in board rooms.

    If woman are so good and so much cheaper as the BBC claim then clearly industry would snap them up to put in board rooms at the drop of a hat. A company than employed only these far cheaper, under utilised women, would clearly be at a huge competitive advantage to ones that employed the more expensive men. Why does not, one of these superwoman just do that and wipe the floor with the competition?

    If, as is clear, many woman simply do not want these high pressure jobs what role is it of government to force them into them? Any more than it is to force them, against most of their wills, to study say Physics. Most, as can be seen clearly from the huge gender variation in A level choices, simply do not want to do this.

    How do you deliver competent government? Make it small, have far less of it, make it non religious, do what works, forget equality, forget the Carbon exaggerations. Concentrate on defence, property rights and law and order and get tax down to less than 20% of GDP. Make the legal system serve the interests of the people not those of the lawyers as now.

    If you are not optimistic try Matt Ridley’s excellent book.

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      We want action start be firing the half the state sector that does nothing useful and reducing the pay+pensions package of the rest by 1/3 to make it level with the private sector.

      Few after all would notice any difference.

      • Credible
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        calm down, calm down

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Oh I am very calm, just saying what is clearly needed. I do not think it will happen alas, certainly not with the BBC, Lord Patten, Cameron and Clegg all pulling on the wrong side.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Term limit MP’s. Post-Churchill career politicians only favor the left; & most of the Tory lot are just sponging louts as well.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      LL you are not suggesting we take tips on being competent from the former chairman of Northern Rock are you?

  5. Mick Anderson
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    If a government is competent and reasonable, the news stories will look after themselves. The fact that they put so much effort into “spin” is de facto an admission of failure.

    Equally, when government considers addressing the problems that face the Country, they should not exclude themselves from the investigation. It’s no good castigating oil companies for the high cost of petrol when the taxes politicians demand represent two thirds of the price.

    They should learn what we know – all layers of Government are part of the problem and nothing to do with the solution.

  6. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Dead simple, competent people are placed in the relevant roles. If you have CVs such as Cameron and Osbornes i.e. no real life experience bar a few years working in TV, limited political experience as SpAds, what do you expect? What is even worse their likely replacements Johnson or Milliband or just as bad. Where the hell is Cromwell who is going to save us?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      The BBC have had too much influence over who is selected for office.

      The BBC determine the political agenda and the policy parameters in which issues are tackled. This has limited the levels of political competence somewhat.

      Hopefully this will change soon. Especially if leading Tories want it to.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        If the three main parties don’t want the BBC to set the agenda they shouldn’t have agreed to have a televised debate on the BBC. They should have done this on any of the other news channels.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

          Uanime5 – I agree with you entirely.

      • APL
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Electro-Kevin: “Especially if leading Tories want it to. ”

        Then it won’t change.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

  7. Pete the Bike
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The words competent and government do not belong together. Some governments appear better organized than others but really they are wholly destructive of the wealth of their tax slaves. A government cannot exist without the use of coercion, that is it’s purpose. That means it forces people to act against their own best interests with it’s regulation and threat of kidnapping or violence for transgressors. It removes money from citizens via taxes and inflation and spends it on things that no sane person would spend their own money on. That destroys wealth. How can you ever describe an organization that lives by coercion and theft as competent?

  8. Kazek Lokuciewski
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    An end to party politics. Candidates will still have their beliefs.

  9. Public Servant
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Agreed the government should look to the likes of BP, Natwest, News International for examples of disastrous news management.

  10. Public Servant
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    According to news yesterday the issue of housing costs is forcing ever more working people onto housing benefit. What thought out policy should be deployed to deal with that issue?

  11. ROGER THE PILOT
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Considering that the Conservative led Coalition Government is headed by an ex-PR man, it’s hard to believe their constant bad-press!
    You are quite right, Government should talk to the media when it has something to say, but it cannot be seen to surrender all the column inches to the opposition. It must also purge themselves of all those who are, or who have made major ‘blunders’ in their past or may do in the future. Everything must go through some sort of filtre (al la Alistor Campbell)

    Just take the actions/blunders of last week. What on earth was George Osborne thinking? Just as one pompous ass finally does the right thing by resigning over making inappropriate ‘class’ remarks to police officers on protection duty, up pops young Gideon and put’s his size ten, beautifully polished Berluti brogues, right back in it by travelling ‘first-class’ on a standard ticket!
    Whether or not the chancellor paid for the up-grade from ‘pleb’ class, (sorry not PC) standard to first is immaterial; he and the rest of the Government should remember that during the MPs’ expenses scandal the bad press that ex-tory MP for Macclesfield, Sir Nicholas Winterton suffered over his blustering remarks about MPs’ need to travel first-class. At the time, this was qualified by Sir Nicholas stating there was a “totally different type of people” in standard-class train carriages!
    One thing’s for certain; some members of the Tory party have learnt nothing; they still appear to be totally inept when it comes to dealing with the media.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes that is the really funny thing about Osborne. He really could give Labour a good going over following their problems with money and declare that just like Nelson Rockefeller he was not in politics for it but he even effs that one up as well even though the amounts involved are trivial.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Wise words regarding the obsession with media and PR but basic ability and experience on behalf of ministers would be a big help in delivering a competent government.

  13. David Jarman
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    You deliver competent government by banning politicians. Energy? FREE ENERGY was invented by Tesla in 1899 and more than 5000 patents for FREE ENERGY have been filed in the US alone never mind the rest of the planet but POLITICANS with big oil are happy to BURRY IT and prentend it doesnt exist. If people want an idea of how “incompetent” their governments are watch “Thrive – What on Earth will it take” on you tube –

    • uanime5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Pity all those people who invented free energy didn’t use it to power their homes and cars to demonstrate how effective it was. It’s almost as if these devices were somehow massively impractical.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 4:53 am | Permalink

      Oh dear.

  14. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    The more the world of spin is banished and we live with reality the more I will like it.

    Do we really want the early morning topical debate to be based on a press release of what will be said in a speech later that day, followed by inadequate debate of what was actually said?

    I would like to see better access of what was actually said. And in that vein I applaud JR’s inclusion in the Blog of his contributions to debates.

    I would like to be able to access an on-line video archive of all the proceeding of Parliament and Select Committees. This would have to be supported by a searchable index with time stamps so, for instance, it would be possible to readily find what your MP said on any particular topic.

    This will not, of itself, deliver competent government. But the more we can see who is speaking sensibly and knowledgeably the more we can see where competence lies.

    • zorro
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Try Parliamentary TV online, that has a searchable archive for select committees….

      zorro

  15. Mr. Frost
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    John, I agree with what you say. However, how does the Government deal with the fact that the Opposition WILL be feeding stories and lines to the Press, that, if unrefuted will damage…

    • Adam5x5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Of course they will – the opposition doesn’t have the pesky business of “running” the country to contend with. Though if the press is doing it’s job properly, it should be presenting a reasonably balanced appraisal of what the government is doing.

  16. stred
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The DT reported recently that, following earlier promises and reductions, government spending on advertising had now grown again and exceeded the previous levels, via another spending column.

    This squares with my own observations of the number of health and tax adverts on TV and radio. In the case of health, our pharmacist told me that they have been inundated with patients who thought they had lung cancer following prolonged chest infections caused by a peristent virus. Now there is a bowel cancer initiative so doctors can expect queues of patients with piles to be calling.

  17. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    How to deliver competent government.

    Scrapping the BBC would be a good start seeing as it dedicates so much of itself to misrepresenting the Tory party.

    It also sets the impossible (for Tories) political agenda and language of debate – especially Radio 4 (the broadcast wing of The Guardian)

    The BBC is politically biased

    The BBC has fallen foul by repeatedly rigging audience participated competitions

    The BBC’s drama and comedy has slumped in quality and the American (privately funded) stations show how to deliver superior shows

    But worst of all

    The BBC went into overdrive about Rupert Murdoch’s men phone tapping children’s voicemails – a newspaper was closed down and jobs lost as a result.

    Yet the BBC’s men are accused of far FAR worse. Of (sexual offences-ed) and all done under the noses of BBC officials. This organisation seriously expects to survive ?

    We don’t need it and its existence is inimical to the existence of a competent Tory government because it is the BBC that determines what ‘nice’ is. This is what has caused the Tory Party more grief than anything and is why Mr Cameron was selected as the Tory leader – he was acceptable to the BBC.

    Now is the ideal time to put it in its place.

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      You make many good points, reinforced by the poor performance of Mr Entwhistle, the BBC`s Director General, before the Culture and Media Ctte this morning. For once, I took the time to watch this. For once the MPs asked many pertinent questions for which few good answers were offered.

      Apart from the specific issues of the circumstances of the dropped Newsnight programme on Savile, I was struck by the power execised by BBC editors. They seem to be a law unto themselves. It is easy to see how this cadre becomes a self selecting, self regarding elite apparently accountable to no one. The DG himself seemed to think his job was to float above the fray; indeed it was difficult to understand what his purpose in life was other than to provide a security blanket for the programme editors. Unless, that is, and until one was found out as in the Savile case when he dropped the Newsnight editor into the turd.

      This is, I believe, an issue that desrves consideration apart from the Savile case. Editors have the power of choice over the topics they broadcast, the line to take, the people to interview and whether that is a soft or hard line. The cultural implications of their collective mindset is as significant to issues like the politics of the day or the EU (money accepted by the BBC) or global warming (Bishop Hill has published evidence that some BBC correspondents (may-ed) have benefitted financially) as it is the child sex abuse.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 24, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        Spot on and that is why it is such a biased organisation ripe for change and ripe for public funding to be withdrawn. Let them sink or swim on private funding.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      It might sound excessive to some, but I really do think the absurd BBC line always taken – pro EU, big government, high tax, enforced “equality”, expensive green energy, over regulation of everything up to and including breathing, Polly Toynbee “think” – is hugely damaging to the political debate in the UK.

      Every discussion is framed, in an absurd, state sector think way. After all 80% work for the wealth creating sector paid (with pensions 33% less than the state sector). The absurd, malignant, tail is wagging the dog and the BBC is making sure it continues and has done so for 30 years.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Do companies such as Starbucks count as wealth creating since they didn’t make any profits in the UK?

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          They are wealth sapping companies, Uanime5 (as far as the UK is concerned)

          Our economy can run perfectly well without their hot-water dispensaries (coffee ???) Even at the best of times they add little to our economy. A crowded market and yet they are still able to set prices at nearly three quid a cup.

          Worse

          They refuse to employ our people.

          They demand that we take in immigrants to run their shops and contribute nothing to those costs and the added pressures that it causes to the rest of our population.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic – Unfortunately the State – after a certain point, 20% of employment perhaps – becomes greater than the sum of its parts and generates much of the work in the private sector.

        Few of the private sector employees I know (I include myself) contribute to the wealth of this nation – most of us are beneficieries of money cascaded down from the state sector, whether we serve police officers in our restaurants, drive teachers around in our cabs, build extensions on doctors’ houses …

        Of my wide circle only two work in manufacturing in the UK – both are top engineers. Proctor and Gamble, Jaguar. In fact one of those is involved mainly in out-shifting factories from the UK to Poland, Brazil, China and India.

  18. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    We would be better governed if we were less governed. The assumption is now that government has a legitimate interest in everything and is responsible for everything. I do not know which is the chicken and which the egg.

    The other point closely linked to observations about news management is that there is an assumption that every measure can show quick results. No one who has managed anything would believe that. So, for example, we need to get on with shale gas now and should have got on with more nukes years back. You don’t need the brains of an Archbishop to work that one out.

  19. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Ah! Mr Redwood, if only it could be so. Sigh!

    To be serious however, there are two unfolding issues, of vital constitutional and national importance which must be worked through. There is need to mention the EU, but I want to raise the other, which I trust the EU issue will not push to the sidelines.

    I refer to Scottish Independence. The question of the vote has been settled maybe, but we must not let things lapse. What are to be the terms of Independence should the vote go that way? Are they being worked on now? They must surely be agreed first. What kind of nonsense will we all face if the terms are negotiated after the vote?

    What about the currency for example, are we going to waive through an acceptance that England, and we must mention England now, will be the lender of last resort? It will surely be a mistake of monumental proportions. It will be grossly negligent not to insist on strict ‘terms of use’ in such a case. But that will lead to resentment and conflict – what is the point of Independence the Scots will say when we can’t be free to manage our own affairs? England cannot, and must not, agree. Scotland must find its own solution to this problem.

    The terms as a whole will affect the other nations, but especially England. How are the people of England to be consulted? The English have no parliament. Westminster MP’s are British MP’s, not English. PM Cameron has made a point of distancing himself from the English, and makes a big play of his Scottish links. How can any of this be done without the consent of the English people? It can’t be done in their name as things stand at present.

    There is an English question to answer.

  20. Disaffected
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    John, I totally agree with you.

    The other aspect is making sure his back room staff, including the civiil service, are fit for purpose- clearly they are not at this time. He needs a clear out ASAP. He also needs to have an agreed approach with the Lib Dems. It appears it is alright for them to openly criticise the Tories and the Tories remain silent. Yet he does appear to be able to take this stance on other occasions.

    They do not have to feed the beast in the way they do. They are scared that come election time they might lose out. Look at how disastrous Cameron’s media plan has been. He played with fire in the Murdoch empire and now it has turned against him. He should not be surprised. Best he left it alone and selectively appeared to promote/defend government policy.

    A lot of his wounds are self-inflicted. His poor judgement will be his downfall. Yesterday he still wanted to say his decision about Mitchell was right- he is wrong and it is indefensible. He should have let it go. HE is dragging out minor issues that should not be debated any further. I think it shows he does not like to be wrong or pointed out that he is wrong- this is a weakness and something he needs to address.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Your point on energy is also spot on. Once more, a department that is ripe for wholesale clear out. The green loony tunes have taken over the asylum DECC. The public are becoming aware that the mess is created by the Lib Dems and false EU targets.

      When the issue hits them in the pocket they wake up. Power stations cannot be built or financed quickly. Best divert the £32 billion from the high speed train fiasco to power stations ASAP.

      Heathrow means income it needs to be resolved ASAP. Air fares unacceptably high because of false loony green tune stuff from the Lib Dems, it will come back to bite them. It is costing the UK business and in tourism. The economy is meant to be the number 1 priority, do the ministers forget on a daily basis? Do they have attention deficit disorder problems? Perhaps a dose of ritalin would help the cabinet ministers instead of coffee.

  21. Geoff M
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Mr R
    This is from yesterday’s Hansard and the plebs will get the idea that the Tory party is going into the next general election by not offering a referendum on the EUSSR, bit of a gift to UKIP if that is the case-oh dear.

    The Prime Minister: I hate to disappoint the right hon. Gentleman, but we are not having an in-or-out referendum on the European Union tomorrow. I want us to achieve a new settlement between Britain—the

    22 Oct 2012 : Column 704

    United Kingdom—and the European Union and to put that new settlement to fresh consent. That is what should happen. I think that the idea of an in/out referendum is wrong, because I neither support the status quo nor think that leaving is the right answer.

  22. forthurst
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “As someone who loves the dash of the new and who thinks the modern world is in many ways better than past decades”

    If politicians believe for a moment that what is good about the modern world, the advances in science and engineering, most of which now no longer occur in this country, in part, as a result of the politicians themselves deliberately trashing our education system and allowing marxists to trash our engineering companies, they need to get a grip on reality. The good of the modern world is despite the endeavours of our politicians and in some places can still be enjoyed without those deficits which many of us have to live with without emigrating, that they, deliberately, but in many cases deviously and sneekily, have created.

    The presumption of this government, as with Blair’s, to be the central story of a national soap opera, is both tiresome and deeply worrying. How can politicians possibly be doing the jobs for which we pay them if they spend their time either creating or responding to a dialogue with the media, most of which put little gloss over the fact that they are in reality in the entertainment business.

    Everything that JR says about the how the government should conduct itself is reasonable, but why then did you select a PR man to direct you? Some Tory politicians, apparently admire Blair; such individuals should recognise now that his brand is as toxic now as that of JS. Conning the public is not what good government should be about.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      If there is anything that politicans need to take on board it is the fact that there is so much information on the web on matters on which they and their co-conspirators the MSM seek to mislead us through either their pig ignorance or malign intent, that they must start to consider the need to constrain their actions and utterances to those which are supported by a now revealed reality. When politicians drivel on about saving the planet or the noble purposes behind their campaigns of mass murder either through false flag terrorism or attacking petro-dollar refuseniks or ‘enemies’ of their favourite little country, they are revealed to the many as both fools and knaves.

    • Manof Kent
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget it was Cameron who led applause and clapping[most unusual] for Tony Blair when he left the House after his last appearance.

      I noticed that most Tory MPs were most reluctant to stand for the ovation but eventually supported their leader .

      That incident went far beyond normal courtesy and certainly stuck in my throat.
      My love affair with Cameron was certainly damaged that day.
      One PR man lauding his hero for being an even better PRman and subsequently worth copying.

  23. Neil Craig
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    For ANY mechanism, including social mechanisms, to work they need feedback systems to steer them when something is going wrong.

    In government winning elections is the normal feedback system since it is supposed to ensuire it retains majority support

    Unfortunately what we get is a system that requires only about 36% support once every 5 years. This also provides high barriers to entry to new parties and new ideas.

    I have some sympathy with Douglas carswell’s position of just going to an electronic democracy in which we can all vote immediately. Since this is such a novel position it might be better to make this a back-up government replacing the ridiculous Lords.

    We need PR & have done for a least a century. That we have not had it shows how vested interests rather than democracy really rules.

    I think we should have referenda like Switzerland and California – unlike the UKIP proposal I would limit referenda to reducing state power rather than increasing it. The great weakness of democracy is that it is possible to construct a majority willing to say that all our troubles are because some group (bankers, Jews, gays, pregnant women) aren’t repressed enough. I have suggested that there should be a constitutional limit on the proportion of GDP the government may spend which may only be raised or lowered by referendum.

    I would like either a federal Britain or more council independence. Such localism allows freedom to prosper & means that ideas can be tried out in part of the country & reversed if they don’t work.

    There is much to be said for electing 1/3rd of Parliament every year and a half rather than relying on throwing the electoral dice only every 5 years. Also for requiring a 2/3rds majority, or a simple majority spaced 5 years apart, for legislation that reduces freedom.

    Another problem is the state control of TV. Research internationally proves that such state control correlates with authoritarianism, corruption, poverty & government failure across the board even to poorer health outcomes. Such state control prevents the free interplay of ideas. Britain with 3 of the 4 channels that actually do news being state controlled is far down the path of such censorship as is obvious when we consider the way the BBC prpagandise, lie and censor on subjects as unrelated as the EU, the success of free enterprise economies, immigration, “catastrophic global warming”, which nations we should bomb next & indeed in censoring dissdent political parties (UKIP, BNP) or promoting ecofascist ones (Greens). In the same vein government funded “charities” & quangos existing only or largely to advertise/raise awareness for more regulation, tax and bureaucracy are an obvious scandal.

    There is also a place for positive feedback. I would support payment of Ministers & MPs by results. A 100% of salary bonus each year GDP growth exceeds the world average (5% now) 200% of it exceeds by 50% & so on.

    Whether it is even possible to reform the government without a wholesale removal of the present incumbents who will not allow even such reforms as PR and making the Lords accountable is an open question.

  24. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Maybe the Conservatives should go back to smoke filled rooms because I, like a lot of others, can hardly believe what we have ended up with as PM. The things he says are preposterous. No peep for instance from him or anyone else, including you John, in explanation of his gratuitously disparaging comment about Switzerland. And remember, if we were like Switzerland but with in addition the advantages of a border with the sea (which of course Switzerland doesn’t have) and the worldwide advantages we have of language, law and kith and kin we would be flying. There was one peep in the end yesterday on how Japan manages and I wonder if we ‘ll get one today explaining why our PM should so cavalierly dismiss the Swiss. I’m betting not for there is nothing that can possibly be said.

  25. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    One thing I and many of my friends feel very strongly is that we are not screening candidates for their ‘personal maturity’. There have certainly been times in history when we’ve done this better.

    We need a much bigger proportion of politicians who have really lived and achieved good things in society – in particular the direct respect of their peers.

    But it’s also essential that the general public take the time to get out there and check out and meet their politicians. They are so different in real life to how they are through media soundbites.

    I’d like to see MPs being encouraged to, say, visit each of the 6th forms in their area once every two years so that all people coming through 6th form meet their MP and get to see that they are real people who they should engage with in the future .

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes I had tea with Sir Keith Joseph who also gave us a quick tour of Westminster. He was a real gent and proved a point that being a toff does not disbar you from having a vision of the way ahead or being a competent minister either. I look at the current cabinet now and I just despair in comparison

    • uanime5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps prohibiting someone from standing as an MP until they’re 30 would reduce the number of MPs who lack real world experience.

  26. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Reading this it is clear that nothing will ever be done to make substantial reductions in the size & intrusiveness of government by the Tory party. Only UKIP truly wish to unshackle England. Even Redwood is just a hand-wringer that accepts the status quo: just another one of Slipery Dave’s political functionaries. Good on Europe but fundamentally a Nanny state praetorian.

  27. Bernard Juby
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    “The much lower energy prices in the US owe much to faster exploitation of shale gas technology”
    That MAY be so John but have to not seen the documentary where, by poisoning the water table, people living nearby are becoming ill, or where it is possible to light the water taps because of the amont of gas that’s in it?
    Fracking (where they pump highly toxic chemicals at very high pressure into deep shale) is contentious because of its harmful effects to the water tables. They have now banned it in France and good for them.

    • Muddyman
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      True, but the area of research now under way is to extract from undersea areas,
      this should resolve the problem with water tables.

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      You have made this comment previously. The director of the film which made these assertions also knew that the phenomenon of taps on fire was observed as long ago as 1936 – before fracking was invented.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        However if became more widespread after fracking started. Also the fracking companies did pay compensation to the people whose water was contaminated.

    • Mark
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      The documentary relates to a part of Pennsylvania where there was gas occurring in the water supply quite naturally – nothing whatever to do with any drilling activity. You may remember the Bible has a story about pillars of fire. That was flares on natural gas seeps in Babylon – modern day Iraq – long before anyone ever dreamt of drilling for hydrocarbons.

    • David Price
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Have a look at the Economist article “Sorting Frack from fiction” dated 14th July. It suggests that the reality is not really as contentious as simple sound bites make out. For example there have only been two attributable earth tremors, one in the UK and one on the US, despite the 20,000 fracking operations in the latter.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Rubbish! The experience in the US has been so positive that even NY State (as socialist/green namby-pamby as it gets in the US) will allow fracking the minute the election is done. France also raised tax rates to confiscatory levels. Do you also support that?

  28. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh and lower energy prices in the US are NOT due to exploration & production (though that certainly is helpful). Politicians in the US are given carte blanc to RAISE TAXES like Redwood & other career politicians do in the UK. Result: in the UK a litter of petrol is TAXED at well over 80%!!! This should result in the middle class shutting down the country; instead of allowing your MP (MAFIA of Parliment) another day of this assault on a basic freedom!!!

    • Mark
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Pre-tax prices for both oil and gas are lower in the US. That’s because of supplies of shale oil from Canada (which has no other outlet), and shale gas in the US itself. US inland oil prices are consistently around 20 $/bbl cheaper than North Sea prices for similar oil, before taxes are added.

      Prior to the development of shale gas, the US was looking at trying to develop fields in over a mile of water over 200 miles into the US Gulf. Those developments have been scaled back. Gas prices have fallen from well over 10 $/MMBtu at Henry Hub to as low as under 2$/MMBtu in recent times on the back of shale production: again before any taxes are added. UK price before taxes is currently 67p/therm, or well over $10/MMBtu.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        All, likely, to be accurate. Now what about the taxes, Mark? The US will be energy “independent” (the global market determines aspects of petrol/& related costs) by 2025. Why? Because green lunatics do not run the show.

  29. Ashley
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    To obtain competent government you could do a lot worse than avoiding a coalition with the Lib Dems, while effectively continuing with both the policies and style of New Labour. This country has lacked any real purpose or direction since the day Thatcher left 10 Downing street.

  30. Ted Greenhalgh
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I believe that we should be totally independent on overseas supplies of oil and gas. This is the only temporary argument for shale gas. If there is any truth in climate change due to CO2 then burning gas is stupid.

    We need tidal, wind, solar and nuclear generation of electricity. We need to be independent. This seems to me to be self evident

    • Manof Kent
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately for you there is little if any truth in ‘climate change’.
      The money would be better spent on adapting to any change in the future.

  31. peter davies
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, putting aside the more federalist leanings of the labour party and the fact that many left wing politicians are economically illiterate I often felt in the past that the only major difference between Blair’s labour government of the past and any other tory administration was that they were much better at managing/manipulating the media than anyone else.

    We saw with the Iraq war how certain media people positioned themselves and managed the press to cover up pure lies, yet the only people who lost their jobs were those in certain sections of the media for daring to speak against the govt – not the liars who went along with Bush, lied to parliament and instigated an illegal war – this one example shows how heavy emphasis on media management can be dangerous.

    Another thing that strikes me is that most people still naively think that having a change of government will make a huge difference in direction whilst the truth is all departments are run by the same civil servants (many of whom like many public sector employees are not up to the job) regardless of govt colours and policies are often only as good as those given the task of formulating them by their political masters.

    Couple that with the EU straight jacket making the govt an almost passive implementor of the many absurd red tape policies drawn up by failed politicos that have been sent to work in Brussells.

    I think you do need a govt that is singing from the same sheet whilst perhaps giving a bit more freedom on matters such as the EU because this issue in particular has now become a serious question of democracy and govt plus the likes of the BBC need to tell the truth and admit that the UK in no longer a sovereign state so many of their decisions are forced upon them from outside.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Given that the turnover of senior civil servants is higher than the turnover of ministers you can’t blame all the Government’s problems on the civil service’s leadership.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you most certainly can, even the high turnover. This is poor management and not getting a return on the investment of training.

  32. Atlas
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I agree with your post absolutely.

    I watched the Daily Politics’s discussion on Nuclear Power this lunchtime. Yet again the Greens were spouting their ‘pie in the sky’ view of the physical world and the way it works. We have had 30 years of energy efficiency moves – really there is little left that is cost-effective. Instead the Greens still witter on about ‘reliable energy like windpower’. Today there is not a breath of wind over the whole country. I would love to know exactly how much of our electrical usage tis day was being met by windpower. 0% I suspect.

    If we have cold winter in 2015 then the lights start going out. Political spin cannot avoid what will happen – it will merely be the result of the laws of Physics in action.

    • Barbara
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Atlas

      If you are interested in this, I recommend
      http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

      It shows ‘UK national grid status’ (ie how much energy is being produced by which means), throughout the day. As you suggest, windpower produces tiny amounts.

      • Atlas
        Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Barbara,

        Thank you for the link. Most informative, especially concerning the miniscule input wind is making at the moment.

  33. Pleb
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    We could restart coal mining to provide jobs and electricity.
    With five nuclear power stations along the north coast of France we might as well build some of our own. Once again jobs and electricity.
    Use nuclear power to get hydrogen from sea water. Once again jobs and fuel.
    These ideas seem to be self evident to me. Why are leaders so short sighted.

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Part of the problem is the personality of the Prime Minister. He likes to busy and to be seen to be busy, in other words to be “doing something”. People in the Cabinet should quietly take him to one side and suggest that getting energy policy right deserves more of his attention than interfering with energy prices or pronouncing on Jimmy Savile.

    • Geoff M
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay, agree with you completely; so he should be making himself busy by seeing through the repeal of the Climate Change Act which has to be Millitwit’s most damaging piece of legislation ever inflicted on this nation.

  35. Credible
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I noticed that in my local supermarket all the tills are owned by the supermarket. This is anti-competative, and because all the tills are the same, it reduces choice for the customer. We need to allow different companies to run the tills.
    This will mean the customer can decide what sort of till they want to pay at. Of course there will be an additional charge but that can be kept down if we take advantage of special offers and change tills every time we shop. Deciding which till to choose will add a bit of time to the shopping, especially if the tarifs and offers are complicated, and it may be that the till with a reduced charge for processing fruit and vegetables doesn’t turn out to be cheaper after all because of the complicated additional charge for other items.
    If time is an issue, there are the fast tills, where you are guaranteed not to queue or your money back – but this level of service has to come at a cost. Alternatively, there is the cheap till, which involves a very long queueing experience that is specifically suited for the plebs.
    Don’t get upset if the prices suddenly go up, it’s caused by a global shortage of till role. Once supply is back to normal the prices will stay exactly where they are.

    On leaving the supermarket I noticed that the parking spaces were all owned by the supermarket ….

  36. oldtimer
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    One critical role of the government is to put in place the conditions to enable the nation to provide for itself security, shelter, food, water, energy and prosperity beyond these essentials. This will not be achieved by the adoption of policies which make their provision too costly and uncompetitive with the costs of competing nations. Energy policy is one such example. The political governing class has revealed itself to be utterly incompetent on this issue – as it has on so many others in the post WW2 years.

  37. merlin
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The largest media corporation in the country is the BBC it is state funded and it is not impartial and tries to brainwash people with left wing nonsense, it should be privatised as soon as possible, I honestly believe that this is will what happen eventually anyway because it will not be affordable in the future. I deliberately try to avoid it’s news coverage which I know is biassed and not impartial. Again ,if you do not watch it why should you have to pay the licence fee?
    On the energy point, shale gas and shale oil is the future and the uk is dragging its feet when it comes to implementing the extraction of both oil and gas which would go along way in solving the UK’s energy problems. As usual it’s the green nonsense that is preventing this country becoming energy independant.

  38. merlin
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Shale gas is

    1) Cheap

    2) Abundant

    3) More environmentally friendly than solar or wind.

    4) Safe

    Shale gas and shale oil are the future for energy independant Graet Britain.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      1) Compared to what? Coal mining?

      2) Compared to what? Coal? Uranium? it’s definitely not more abundant than sunlight, water, or wind.

      3) No it isn’t. Solar panels and wind turbines are far more environmentally friendly than drilling.

      4) No it isn’t. Pumping large volumes of chemicals underground isn’t safe as there’s a risk of contaminating the water supply. There’s also the dangers caused by earthquakes and gas leaks.

  39. Antisthenes
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “How do you deliver competent government?”

    The short answer of course it is you cannot. Government by the mere fact that it is a monopoly of sorts and is run by politicians paid by the people under the threat of force does not deliver the incentives for government to be competent or efficient. The counter balance is democracy and the ballot box but they have serious flaws as democracy is grossly undermined by wily politicians and the party system and the ballot box by the ignorance and prejudices of the bulk of the voters. What can be done however is to have the least incompetent government and that can be arrived at by implementing the following.

    1) Allow governments to actually do very little internal and external security excepted.
    2) Never allow left wing politicians or Greens anywhere near government as time after time they have proved to be the most incompetent at government. (a forlorn hope of course)
    3) Perhaps the best solution is to do away with all politicians and have apolitical constituency representatives who only articulate in parliament that which their constituents approve. That approval to be sort under continuous rolling constituency referenda. Also to have an elected apolitical Prime Minister to run the country on a day to day basis. (perhaps too radical and idealistic but for all that I put it forward as a genuine idea to improve competence and even more so democracy)

    There are many well meaning and competent politicians yourself and Douglas Carswell to name just two who work hard for the people but there efforts are mostly thwarted by the system that does not like radical or non conformist views and actions.

  40. merlin
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Just noticed headline

    William Hague hint at EU walk out.

    Contributors ignore this nonsense the Conservtive party are a savishly pro european party and will never leave the EUSSR or negotiate any powers back. William Hague is one of the biggest disappointments of any Conservative Minister and trying tricks like the above only serve to cause me distrust him even more, the man who used to wear a save the pound badge as well. No wonder the membership of the Conservative party is on the decline and UKIP has the fastest growing membership of any party in the UK.

    • APL
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Merlin: “William Hague hint at EU walk out.”

      Not a cats chance in hell of this happening.

      Don’t forget the Tory party is increasingly conscious that a general election is looming. This will be just like the infamous ‘cast iron promise’ and all that jaz.

  41. merlin
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The GDP of the UK is 150 billion 10% of which goes to the EUSSR that is 15 billion, or 50 million a day, think how much better off this country would be if we left now.I rest my case.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      In 2011 the GDP of the UK was £1500 billion, not £150 billion. So only 1% of GDP went to the EU, not 10%.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_Kingdom

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      The GDP of the UK is not £150 billion. Annual UK govt. expenditure alone is more than 4 times that amount. The facts are bad enough without inventing your own to make it appear worse.

  42. a-tracy
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to read the educational background of the cabinet and shadow cabinet for that matter.

    Would all of the members have taken a similar EBacc type GCSE/O level curriculum selection?

    How many of them are creative, technological or science biased?

    How many of them went on to take A levels, which A levels did they choose?

    Those that didn’t take A levels, what further study and in what subjects?

    How many of our EU MEPs selected can speak at least two foreign languages?

    If you choose a team to run a business you don’t have too many people that have the same skill set, you have a variety and I wonder how wide and deep the cabinet knowledge is?

  43. merlin
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    This piece is worth reading

    http://www.eureferendum.com/

    No wonder people are leaving the Conservative Party in droves.

  44. Derek Emery
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Here are several priorities for the UK by Mckinsey http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/productivity_competitiveness_and_growth/from_austerity_to_prosperity_seven_priorities_for_uk
    None of the top figures in any party seem prepared to admit the financial problems the UK faces and what this means. Labour is in complete denial and pretends that further spending is the solution.
    I can’t imagine the UK civil service ever acting as an agent for change with ideas of how to cope with the UK’s problems only in an alternate reality on the other side of the universe. Their ethos means they are far more likely to oppose change and see all the negatives of any situation and none of the positives. They will never be solutions providers to any government. The West Coast bid evaluation was a debacle because there was no audit done and it has been said they could not afford the cost of a private audit. Why is government employing civil servants that are not up to doing audits themselves?

    This means they are a waste of time as far as dealing with today’s problems are concerned. Government has to look to the private sector for ideas and put up with opposition from the civil service.

    It would be great to think that government would take decisions based on the scientific method with trials before roll out but how likely is this to happen?

    At heart UK government of all parties are ditherers full of indecision. New Labour knew that North Sea oil and gas was bound to run out in about 10 years back in 2000. What was their answer – do nothing . They also new that old power stations would have to be replaced including nuclear a they reached end of life or failed to meet EU rules. Their answer to this was to do nothing. It has been known for several years that there is is likely to be danger of power cuts in around 2015-6 from closure of power stations but again nothing has been done. The quickest to build are gas powered but even in the US these take 2-3 years to build. It will take much longer in the UK. Cuts must be on the menu.

    The difference in price of natural gas in the US and here is not just due to shale gas but to the markets for natural gas. See Market Liberalization in the European Natural Gas Market at http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/1186170.PDF
    In this paper economic theory predicts that liberalization will not produce lower prices, but is rather likely to be associated with higher prices.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      In New Labour’s defence there was a lot of public opposition whenever they tried to build a nuclear power plant or the Severn Barrage dam.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severn_Barrage

    • sm
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Just keep all the existing coal plants running.and prepare them for working as reserve/peaking plants…until we have a proper plan in place. After all we are currently waiting politely, before being allowed to officially leave the EU.

  45. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    That might be true for those in comfortable leafy areas with money to shield them from the negative aspects of modern Britain. ..But please spare a thought for working men and women who find it harder to get a job or put there children into their school of choice in this increasingly overcrowded country. What about those encouraged to feel sorry for themselves by our sick benefit culture – instead of being encouraged to find some self respect and get off their a____ and find a job.?
    And are we really better off with 200 tv channels instead of just 5…when the majority of the tv on these days is charmless rubbish ?

    There is much to despise about modern Britain…..
    Nagging mobile phones, overcrowded roads and trains, the feeling of being a stranger in your own country, being told your a ‘bigot’ for disagreeing with mass immigration, political correctness everywhere, nanny state government, record levels of crime and disorder,the normalisation of fatherless families, Police that call themselves a ‘service’ and not a ‘force’, that is more interested in diversity than removing bad people from the streets , green buffoonery, the slow motion destruction of what is held dear by every true Englishman, the feminisation of the teaching profession, the sinking feeling when you realise once great British company’s are now in foreign hands, not being able to buy anything made in Britain anymore, houses that cost the earth, a Conservative party no longer wishes to be conservative…………….

    I have the feeling that most politicians agree with John Redwood and prefer modern Britain to the old – perhaps this is this reckless generation have caused so much damage in such a short amount of time.

    • Graham
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      How true.

  46. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    We have an abundance of coal in this country and we should exploit it; there are facilities for cleaning burning coal these days. We cannot afford to ignore what we have naturally within our own land. We should also look for more gas fields round our coasts, combined with wind farms we could become selfsufficient. Nothing should be off limits. Nuclear energy is expensive to set up but is cheap to run, but to set up takes years. The country cannot depend upon wind for total energy, it failed in Germany leaving the people with not energy levels at all. That should be a warning to us all. Energy needs to be debated and sorted out with level heads, and obscene profits should be looked at too. We are now in a cycle of expensive heating and lighting, and many people this winter will be in fuel poverty, and many with children. We can blame consecutive governments for this and lack of action.

  47. Bert Young
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Sorry , did not get your blog until 7 pm. Now far too late for any comment .

  48. Jon
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    There are many black holes, energy being one. I think because the then government spent too much time leaking ideas and shying away from doing anything from the response they received. That wasn’t a government, hope this one doesn’t go down that route. There is a lot of catching up to do from what was kicked into the long grass from that period.

  49. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    On the question of competant government, well we’ve see enough bad ones of late, that’s why most people are fed up and don’t bother to vote. This coalition appears to me to be onesided, in favour of Lib Dems, who block anything they don’t like. Has they have the less seats I often wonder at their gall. I do understand the Tory’s cannot have a clear lead without their support, but their support is appearing as mostly blackmail as days go by. I cannot understand why Cameron is not more desisive when dealing with Clegg, after all he wouldn’t have been in government at all without a coalition being set up. If Cameron wants to put his foot down he should, after all, if the Lib Dems create problems he could go to the country. They know full well what their outcome will be, they are the most unpopular party in the land. Cameron needs to assert himself and his party and lead from the front for once, they have the most seats but not enough for control, this is restrictive, but we all know the Lib Dems will quiver at the mention of a general election. Its time for Cameron to stand tall, stop lecturing us, and give us action on the things we want. Or his time will soon be over, as much as Clegg’s.

  50. uanime5
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I’d also say that having sensible policies that have been researched before being announced would greatly help a Government. The current system whereby a policy is announced without any consideration of those who may oppose it has lead to over 30 u-turns in 2 years. So many u-turns on policies supported by senior ministers just makes the Government look badly managed and out of touch.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/governments-32-u-turns-in-two-years-853386

  51. Trevor Butler
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I see the government is standing up for UK interests again

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/oct/23/tories-bow-to-europe-prisoner-voting-rights

  52. sm
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    We could exercise our sovereignty for a change!

    Ensure power,responsibility and accountability sit close to each other.

    We could have a system of government which is ran to faithfully represent the electorate and is demonstrably so. (Some recall powers, referenda at a local level to stiffen the spine of some less representative MP’s and limit the power of the parties, executive and whips on non-manifesto promises, legally binding manifesto etc). Perhaps a revolution in technology to hold MP’s more accountable to the local electorate between parliaments.

    We could start by linking the (senior) pay and perks of parliament to performance (failure & success) of the overall cycle of the economy, capping defined pensions and removing inflation protection for anyone above say £40k.

  53. Vanessa
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    This cabinet thinks it has celebrity status. As the EU makes all our laws through its Directives there is very little the ministers have to do but chatter to the media and make up stories. Blair had the same problem. It is worse with this lot because they are all so young and inexperienced any stupid idea they have, they tell the media first with no debate or discussion first. This government also seems to think it is ruling a communist country so it thinks it can control the markets, the price of things we want to pay for, what we can and cannot put in our homes (loft insulation and smart metres) it is all to take control of our lives. Smart metres are able to be controlled and watched by the supplier and it will not be long before they are able to switch on or off appliances we do not want to use and government will soon take control of all suppliers. God help this country.

  54. Max Dunbar
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the question is flawed.
    We could forgive the government a certain amount of incompetence if we truly believed that they were acting in our best interests.

  55. Jerry
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Competent government, competent politics, starts and stops in Downing Street and the wider Westminster bubble, if the politicos didn’t feed the media then the media would not be able to do as they do. The political class should stop blaming the messengers for their own failings and mixed/confused messages.

  56. David Langley
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    A good night at the UKIP branch meeting last night. Feeling energised by the enthusiasm from the Chair, Louise Bours. Members old and new realising that we are capable of getting lots of local councillors on board either new or defecting. The bubble has really burst regarding the old style of politics. We have to use the old methods true of gaining a party but so much of our policies are making sense. The problem is how can the Conservative government make sense when they are just holding onto power not using it properly to defend out country and its values earned so hardly over the last 100 years. I am ashamed of my government and its weakness when faced with challenges. Sorry John but your Government is the weakest link, do your best while a real UKIP local and then National government can show you what competency is.

  57. David Langley
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Today we learn that Hague the vague went to Berlin, Hmmmm. Now who do we know runs the EU in Germany? Went for his latest briefings and being told what to do, I wonder if he packed his long pants. Its an education really, but its hard to watch. He is banking on being able to kick all the EU thing into the long grass at the next election then come up with a cunning wheeze to hold off action for someone else to do the dirty work which hopefully will be UKIP Yay. I see we are being stuffed on EU subscriptions, and the Tories are flagging that if we get a small discount for being good we will be able to agree the 7 year increase to cement a minimum of £17Billions as well. That gives the EU project a Trillion to burn. You know people have gone to war for less.

  58. Iain Gill
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    How do you deliver competent government?

    You select and elect MP’s who have done proper jobs and seen the real world before going into politics

    Thats basically it

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page