Too many layers of government

The more government we have the worse it is. I have more government than I want, more government than I need and more government than I can afford.

It is great news we have got rid of the needless, prying, interventionist EU government . Too many place still have three layers of local government with County,  district and town or parish. There are then national quangos and regional quangos.

Wokingham has a Borough Unitary rather than County and District. That avoids disputes and confusions over which Council does what and saves a double overhead. I did with others successfully press to get rid of the regional Development Agency but we are now lumbered with a useless, annoying and expensive  LEP, though it is cheaper than the RDA.

Elected Mayors are prone to playing national politics in preference to doing the day job of improving and supervising local public services. Mayor Kahn has damaged London with his anti driver measures, his failure to control knife crime and his inability to run a good value strike free public transport system, The overlap with the London Boroughs causes tensions and extra cost, especially over planning.




  1. AncientPopeye
    May 5, 2024

    All true, but sorry Mate, it’s all down to Parliament, HoL, HoC, Quangos, Crime Commissioners, Mayors. In other words, You Lot. 13 years of Labour followed by 14 years of Conservative, a bloated HoL’s, most of which were Ted Heath’s scam of the EEC. Were I younger I’d be off to one of the ex-colonies.

    1. Ian wragg
      May 5, 2024

      And London has 4 more years of Khan no doubt kept in power by the postal voting system.
      The people voting for him generally don’t drive, don’t own property and ate on benefits. Of course they love him.

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 5, 2024

        and a hopeless invisible nobody ran against him! The Tories threw the towel in ages ago.

      2. Peter
        May 5, 2024

        ‘ The more government we have the worse it is. I have more government than I want, more government than I need and more government than I can afford.’

        True. However it offers great opportunities for chancers and cronies, who have never done a day’s work in their lives, to take home more money than they can ever get elsewhere.

        That’s why it will be extremely difficult to get rid of. The many spongers who benefit will fight it tooth and nail.

      3. Peter
        May 5, 2024

        We need boroughs to declare independence ‘Passport to Pimlico’ style.

        A Margaret Rutherford type at the helm leading the revolt.

      4. JoolsB
        May 5, 2024

        Postal voting is open to fraud which is the very reason Labour introduced it in the first place. The very fact this Consocialist Government haven’t bothered to put an end to it (except for those who genuinely can’t get down to the polling station) speaks volumes. Turns out Sunak didn’t even bother to vote for Susan Hall John. Either he and his team were ignorant to the fact he was eligible to vote for her as well as the Mayoral Candidate on his own patch which he did with a postal vote or he wanted Khan to win. Which is it?

    2. glen cullen
      May 5, 2024

      Very true

  2. Lifelogic
    May 5, 2024

    Exactly. Far too much government wasting public money often fighting against each other and the interest of the public. But who will stop this they are all on the gravy train?

    Mayor Kahn has indeed damaged London hugely with his anti driver measures, his failure to control knife crime and his inability to run a good value strike free public transport system. The policing of London is truly appalling almost non existent.

    Kahn is an appalling (evil in my view) disaster for London (where I lived for nearly 30 years). But the best the Tories could find to kick this sitting duck out was Susan Hall, sensible and pleasant enough but a total nonentity. Almost no one even knew her name. She promised to reverse the ULEZ expansion but Sunak clearly supports the ULEZ expansion as otherwise he could have stopped it. This totally undermined her promise.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 5, 2024

      and against the interests of the public I meant!

  3. Rod Evans
    May 5, 2024

    Ever more layers of social control results in ever more loss of freedom. That is the socialist playbook with the most damaging socialist/fascist in recent decades introducing Devolution to the UK. That added yet another layer of bureaucracy cost and control on to existing tiers of tax payer funded bureaucracy.
    It is sad to reflect, after 14 years of Tory administration we find none of these socialist impositions on freedom have been shut down. Even the people’s decision to remove themselves from the EU has been avidly resisted by Tory remainers blocking a clean and effective transition out of that pointless yet stifling bureaucratic nightmare.
    Your points are valid Sir John, so why has nothing been done about this? You were given the power by the electorate to change things.
    Why was nothing done?

  4. Lifelogic
    May 5, 2024

    As you say:- “The more government we have the worse it is. I have more government than I want, more government than I need and more government than I can afford.” Even worse not as thanks to Sunak dire policies they are nearly all Socials

    The government is endlessly demanding more productivity from industry. But too much government and unusually totally misdirected government (like Net Zero, HS2, lockdowns, net harm vaccines, vast over regulation and far to high levels of taxation are the main causes of low productivity.

    But we have a catch 22. The only people who could reduce this are the government and politicians and they and their crony capitalist mates are the ones mainly benefiting form this racket. How can we ever get these Turkeys to vote for christmas?

  5. Linda Brown
    May 5, 2024

    I think the set up of County Council, District Council and Town Council which places like Wyre Forest have is ridiculous. Solihull has a Borough Council and that is much better. However, I do not agree with Mayors which come from an EU idea (I think). This is another layer which needs reducing not extending. The problem with the three tier, as in Wyre Forest, is that you get the same councillors elected to all the councils in the main so that you get no new ideas or people. It is a good thing for the councillors who collect more allowances but no good for residents who might want a new face or party on board.

  6. Sakara Gold
    May 5, 2024

    This morning Sunak has presided over the loss of 470+ councillors and has lost control of 10 councils, while losing the Blackpool South by-election to Labour on a stonking swing of 26%

    Labour also won most of the mayoralities including York and North Yorkshire – in Sunak’s Richmond constituency. Despite all the hype, the deranged Reform anti-net zero landlords party only achieved two councillors. The pro-LTN Greens impressively achieved 181 members, an increase of 74 and nearly taking control of Bristol – winning 34 of the 70 seats – leaving Labour trailing a distant second with 21. In Wokingham, the Lib Dems came within a single councillor of taking control of the council.

    The electorate have decisively rejected the anti-net zero, soak-the-disabled stance of Sunak and the far-right of the party. There is now no chance whatsoever of a 2024 general election; Sunak will hang on until the last possible moment, Tuesday Jan 28 2025, when he will be even more severely punished by the electorate

    Reply The Greens continue to poll in single figures. In wokingham Lib Dems spent a fortune on a targeted campaign and failed to win. It is still no overall control with them as the largest party. Their local performance in government has been dire and there is plenty of criticism of them. Voters did not trust them to give them a majority.

    1. Hat man
      May 5, 2024

      ‘Pro-LTN Greens’, SG? I’ve just read the national Green Party 2024 manifesto, including its ‘political statement’, and its says nothing about low traffic neighbourhoods. Nor, in my area, does the Reading and Wokingham Green party manifesto 2024. Nor do their manifestos in Birmingham, Exeter, Southampton and Norwich, for example. This suggests to me that the LTN idea isn’t very popular and the Greens know it.

    2. Sakara Gold
      May 5, 2024

      @Sir John – reply

      Having now had time to digest the results of the local and mayoral elections – and the Blackpool South byelection – it is now obvious that Sunak should call the general election immediately, before some disastrous unforseen event(s) makes the situation worse.

      There is very little in the way of policy change that is going to persuade formerly Conservative voters to return to the fold; clearly those who bothered to go out and vote on a cold, wet Thursday last week voted Labour or Liberal Democrat. Hanging on until Jan 2025 in case something beneficial turns up is a high risk strategy, nobody can read the future…..

      Sunak should grasp the nettle and go to the country in June on a centrist manifesto of tax cuts, investment in the NHS and more renewable energy. The electorate may reward his bravery in doing so

      1. Bingle
        May 5, 2024

        As wind and solar energy are unreliable, perhaps you will finally tell us the other sources of ‘renewables’ you have found to replace fossil fuels?

        I am beginning to think you are a Spad for Mr Ed Miliband.

  7. Jude
    May 5, 2024

    At last a voice of reason in a sea of expensive & unnecessary beurocracy!

  8. Graham
    May 5, 2024

    Taking back control – at least you now know where the fault lines run and as far as mayor Khan goes the people have spoken and that’s democracy – you have only yourselves to blame

  9. Wanderer
    May 5, 2024

    All layers of government waste taxpayers’ money.

    Lots of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that it’s not their own money they are spending. Also the more they spend, the better it generally is for the politicians taking the budget allocation decisions and the bureaucrats doing the actual spending. It empowers them (personally, professionally) plus provides greater opportunity for corrupt practices.

    No-one in the system is truly accountable to the taxpayers. Politicians make dreadful decisions but then bounce around in power, or temporarily out of power in lucrative positions with quangos, NGOs, boardrooms, companies they’ve helped and other contacts they’ve made.

    The rot starts at the top. Westminster has too many fingers in too many pies. It can also print its own money. Reducing Westminster’s profligacies and bureaucratic reach is the place to start, as part of an overhaul of the system of our governments.

  10. Old Albion
    May 5, 2024

    Yes Kahn! a hopeless narrow-minded individual failing every pledge and robbing the motorist at every turn. And they vote him back in !!!
    Says a lot about the unknown non-entity the Conservatives stood.

    1. Dave Andrews
      May 5, 2024

      Prepare for more Londoners to abandon the place for a home in the country.

  11. Geoffrey Berg
    May 5, 2024

    While I agree the scope of local government is too large and should be decreased, I disagree that Unitary rather than District, or rather smaller district and County Council is a good model. The problems with Unitaries, especially in larger geographical areas are:
    1) They (Councillors and Officers) become too remote from most of the people they govern, so much so that one might as well be governed from Whitehall as the Town Hall.
    2) The Unitaries understandably concentrate on the big budget items such as Social Services, education support and massive development plans rather than the really very local, usually relatively low expenditure, matters such as keeping the roads, street signs and pavements in good order and litter free, bin collection and local environmental matters that most residents are most concerned about.
    The division between big items County Councils dealt with and very local matters the old, small (pre-1974) local Councils dealt with was a pragmatically sensible one.
    What could hugely improve the efficiency of all Councils would be imposing absolutely fixed (and lower) budgets so that the emphasis would change from trying to beat the budget and squeeze some more money here and there to getting better value and more bang (and more relevant bang) for the taxpayers’ buck!

  12. Bingle
    May 5, 2024

    Too much Government?

    Just wait until Sir Keir and his Marxist friends take over!

  13. Bloke
    May 5, 2024

    Devolution was another crazy mistake of government, overlaying opposition to good sense. MPs can decide what is best for the constituents electing them in their area. Neighbouring groups of MPs can deal with regional matters of common interest. Regional mayors are an added obstruction to doing what is best. Government does need effective opposition to be held to account, but multi-layers of added muddle and bungling increase only chaos and waste.

  14. BW
    May 5, 2024

    But is this not all on your watch? Who wanted Mayors. Who wanted police and Crime Commissioners. Apparently the 17% who voted for them originally was enough to call it a resounding mandate.
    40% turnout for the London Mayor. How many of those were the corruptible postal vote. Not a resounding mandate for the Mayor.
    The Tories need to take ownership of the disaster that is happening today.
    Unfortunately it is to late to put right.

  15. Kenneth
    May 5, 2024

    When MPs stopped carrying out the wishes of the electorate and followed the media instead (from John Major onwards), they found their decisions were becoming increasingly unpopular.

    Instead of doing the obvious thing and doing what their electorate wanted, they farmed out decision making to external bodies and newly created quangoes and new layers of government. This made things even worse and cost a fortune. It also damaged democracy and, of course, made the politicians even less popular.

    So, we now have a very unpopular government and this will soon be replaced with another unpopular government which will not last very long.

    It’s not rocket science: get rid of the swamp and do what the electorate want you to do.

  16. glen cullen
    May 5, 2024

    Adding extra layers of government, with regional mayors and police commissioners is undemocratic

  17. Ian B
    May 5, 2024

    Everything and everyone in the UK has a budget. You earn a wage, then there are things that have to go out then you may have a surplus. Mrs T saw that, there were things you could afford and things you had to ‘earn’ more to be able to fund. It’s called having an economy, to have more to spend you ‘first’ have to earn it.
    This Socialist version of a Conservative Government is about personal, very personal self-esteem and self-gratification. If they have a pet personal project, they just do it then contrive way to raise tax to pay for it. That is not budgeting. To much empire building, most un-necessary most for ‘self’. The ‘entitled’ someone else must always pay.
    We have a much-heralded NATO target to spend 2.5% of GDP on defense, if that is a thing, why is there not a similar GDP figure for the State? If as much time that is spent on contriving new and more taxes was devoted to controlling expenditure this wouldn’t even be a question

  18. Richard1
    May 5, 2024

    I think we will de facto be getting the EU layer of govt back with Labour. After a couple of terms that may well be formalised with membership of the single market and maybe even the customs union. Rejoin would then be a short hop.

    Sunak is getting a lot of blame for all this, I think unfairly. Conservative support has at least stabilised after a limited recovery from the Truss trough. Boris Johnson squandered his PM-ship and the opportunities of the 2019 majority, and of course the subsequent choice of Truss was absurd. According to John Curtice the polling expert, all Labour have to do to win on the economy is utter the words “Liz Truss”. Unfair of course but that’s politics.

  19. Peter D Gardner
    May 5, 2024

    The swamp that is now London is under the control of a mayor who, on the basis of his track record, has just been voted back into office. One can conclude only that the majority of voters in London like their swamp and wish it to continue on this path. Who are these voters and which party brought them here and which party has done nothing to prevent the inevitable result?

  20. Ian B
    May 5, 2024

    The Liberal Democrats now have 521 Council seats, the Conservatives under Sunak have 513. The no hope Labour have 1140.
    The PM has a plan. For the Conservative Party better to fail than become Conservatives, better to fail than fight.

    Reply The parties have many more than that. Many seats were not up for election.

  21. Bert+Young
    May 5, 2024

    If things go wrong only those at the top are to blame . If the leadership anywhere is ineffective the system of control runs amok — exactly the state we are in today . Trust in management is essential whether it is running anything small or large – the results soon show . Conditions across the world are dominated by few individuals – some are deranged and some others have imbalanced priorities . The world is not a happy place .

  22. The Prangwizard
    May 5, 2024

    Maybe one day you may admit, but not act on, that people like Khan do and will continue to promote people like himself and their aims, and act and speak against those who are not.

    Who is going to speak up for the original people here and protect their way of life?
    Why are you almost all unwilling?

    Those who do speak are expelled by your select group.

  23. JayCee
    May 5, 2024

    John, you are my sort of Conservative.
    How do you coexist with the present leadership? They present an entirely different economic and political position to yourself.
    Big state, nanny knows best, high taxes, get rid of non-doms, more money for the NHS without productivity gains, more politicians less accountability. Where do we agree with anything this lot are doing?

  24. Bryan Harris
    May 5, 2024

    Too many layers of government


    Finances is another area where councils, and especially the mayor of London have failed miserably.
    In stead of pursuing a budget and being cost effective, they see the motorist as the money tree that never stops giving.

    After the great reset fails, we really must put our political house in order, which means getting shot of quangos, devolved parliaments and overlapping councils. We also need to standardize council responsibilities.

    With Kahn back in power as London mayor, we can look forward to our once proud city becoming another horrific example of how socialism destroys what was once noble. Nothing will be done about knife crime, but you can guarantee whites will be poorly served.
    How long before London becomes another Gaza?

  25. Derek
    May 5, 2024

    The re-election of the Labour London Mayor for the third time does not bode well for our capital city. His policies appear to be centred around self-interests rather than what the Council Tax and Business taxpayers want or is desired to create a better London for all.
    Given the penalties he has already laid upon ordinary working folk who live in the London area, Is something wrong with our electoral system, I wonder? Or do the majority really want more of the same? Possibly, even worse, now he has been given Carte Blanche to do so?

    1. Ian B
      May 5, 2024

      @Derek – he also knows how to blackmail this Conservative Government into handing over more taxpayer money.

  26. Lynn Atkinson
    May 5, 2024

    The way out of the ghetto is to represent the ghetto.
    We used to have no ghettos.

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