Sunday, May 24, 2009

Beneath a British Scandal, Deeper Furies -

Beneath a British Scandal, Deeper Furies -

LONDON — To speak of a “political revolution” in Britain would seem chimerical were it not for the number of times the possibility has been raised these days, in precisely those terms, by politicians and the London-based commentariat. Suddenly, the talk is of a political system grown petrified, and in urgent need of a root-and-branch overhaul that restores the accountability of politicians — and of the government — to the people.

John Burns is one the best NY Times reporters, and this piece, slightly removed because it's by a sympathetic but well informed non-Brit, deserves reading.

I think he is very right about the "high-handedness" of the operations of power here in the UK.

My experience in the US was that, although "first contact" government officials could be either charming or sullen, the higher up the chain of command you went, the more commitment one found to a deliberate ethic of public service.

Here in the UK, for example in an area I have expressed an interest in, dealing with local managerial level NHS administrators is a nightmare, where "they know best" and "consultations" are permitted after decisions have already been made.

I do not believe in revolutions, but I do not find that after twelve years of Labour government, any real improvements. Indeed the notions of a social-work jargon speaking so-called meritocratic elite, and their obsessions with "aspiration" and "market efficiencies" seem to have infected many areas of life, and, truth be told, many "Third Sector" charities.

What we need to do is gradually, and on a "provisionally good enough" basis, is to remove this class of people from power.

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