Well, yes, obviously

Hamish McRae: Do fewer things but do them better

That clearly is how to deal with the deficit, government spending, taxation rates and all the rest. However Hamish doesn\’t really go far enough.

It isn\’t that we should simply be looking at what we already do and vow to do perhaps a little less of it or do it a little better.

We should be looking at what government does and deciding whether these things should be done at all.

Should we be spending £500 million a year subsidising the luvvies through the Arts Council? Nah, abolish it.

Should we be sending £14 billion a year to be wasted by that damp rag in Brussels? Nah, get out of the EU.

Should we be paying the Food Standards Agency to advise on the size of potatoe wedges at chippies in Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland? Should we even be paying them to insist that carrots are, for the purposes of jam making (and, please note, extra jams, jellies and extra jellies but not, importantly, marmalades) fruit? Naaaah….

Should each and every department be running a PR operation larger than the staffing of a local newspaper (even a regional one in some cases)? Should we perhaps decide that the bringing to us of the news might be better done by people paid to do so privately? You know, journalists?

We can all make our own little lists of things which currently are done by government which in a sensible world would not be done by anyone. Or at least should be done by those contributing voluntarily, not by the use of force.

The real task of whoever gets the poisoned chalice at the next election is exactly that: to work out which things the government shouldn\’t be doing and then stop doing them.

Sadly, no one likely to gain power seems to have any intention at all of doing that.

5 thoughts on “Well, yes, obviously”

  1. The problem with this is T.Worstall’s list of things government should not be doing is not everyone’s. Hence the democratic process, presumably, and that you can stand as a candidate for this party if you wish (as you admittedly often point out). Trident and the two aircraft carriers seem another obvious one, but I know lots of people disagree.

  2. Governments are not the best at giving us what we want for three reasons.
    1. Without the panic of market forces nipping at their subconscious (as it does in the private sector) they have a poor sense of cost control, and end up charging you too much (through taxes)
    2. they tend to have unfair advantages over enthusiastic individuals who’d like to have a crack at it themselves, thus they create monopolies
    3. they have a history of either wasting money or screwing things up.
    4. they tend to spend money on things that don’t need it.
    okay, that’s four.

    The problem with this is T.Worstall’s list of things government should not be doing is not everyone’s.

    .
    Well, yes obviously. you could post similar insights about every single blog in existence.

  3. It’s not an insight into blogging, it’s an insight into why this sort of statement:

    The real task of whoever gets the poisoned chalice at the next election is exactly that: to work out which things the government shouldn’t be doing and then stop doing them.

    is meaningless when one person’s sensible use of government spending is another s project that should be scrapped.

    Tim adds: But we’re not even getting the question “what should government be doing?”. All we are getting is “but cutting government would mean Tories eating babies in the streets!”.

  4. …..The problem with this is T.Worstall’s list of things government should not be doing is not everyone’s……

    Matthew, find us one voter that thinks that this is a good use of their tax.

    ……Should each and every department be running a PR operation larger than the staffing of a local newspaper ……

    We can all disagree on many things, but I bet that there are substantial saving to be made in areas where 90% of the electorate would agree, yet continue despite our democratic system.

  5. “Hence the democratic process,”

    That’s the process by which you decide that the government should give a large proportion of what I earn to other people. It’s simply mob rule. Churchill said that democracy is the worst system except for all of the others. He was wrong; it’s the worst except for most of the others. For details, see the United States during the 19th century.

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