Updated: Jan 6
I went to an event earlier this week with a Shadow Minister. She was asked if she was enjoying the chaos in the Tory Government, and she said: “While politically this is very good for Labour, you can’t help thinking it’s dong no good for the country at large.”
As we prepare for the third Prime Minister of the autumn, being already on our fourth Chancellor of the Exchequer and third Home Secretary, we should also expect another reshuffle of the Cabinet and Junior Ministers. This is not good for anyone who is relying on a functioning government to plan for the future – which is pretty much every business in the country and the vast majority of the population.
We’ve already seen an ill thought out “Fiscal Event” (don’t call it a budget) nearly blow up the pensions industry. Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor (at time of writing) has said he will be looking for “efficiencies” from Government departments (i.e. cuts), which is a worry for people who are depending on public services in their day to day lives. And if you don’t believe that’s you, think again when you need a doctor, drive on a road, visit a park, are a victim of crime, collect your pension etc etc.
The supposedly “non-interventionist” Tory administration has become one of the most prescriptive governments in recent memory. I was told by a civil servant that departments have been told to go through all their regulations to see which ones come from the EU, so they can be ditched to “deliver Brexit”. Ask anyone who has spent the last half a dozen years adapting to the tech regulation GDPR if they want to unravel the changes, and you might get the sort of rude answer only normally heard on Channel 4 News. It is hard enough to sell into the EU in the post-Brexit world – it would be impossible if your goods and services don’t comply with EU regulations.
Another friend who had been working in Italy argues there is something to be said for creative chaos in Government. But after a time it become wearisome and counter-productive. In Italy things work despite the people in power, in the UK we like to have some form of direction coming from Westminster.
A time of rampant inflation and global economic uncertainty, the UK can only thrive (or indeed grow) with some sort of solidity at the centre of Government. This mess harms all of us.