Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Labour - budget and strategy

The latest UK budget shows no sign that Labour's statism is being tempered in any way. A huge expansion of the state bureaucracy is a typical feature of many developing countries. In part it's a legacy of statist thinking from ex-Marxists, and more importantly, it allows corrupt governments to hand out favours, to build up constituencies of support from those who come to depend on the bureaucracy for jobs and support.

It's not about delivering services to the public. If it were then we'd not be creating non-jobs, handing out huge contracts to consultants and forever expanding the layers of management and control. The first rule of any bureaucracy is to defend it's existence and to expand as much as it can. That's what the state does. Despite Lenin's catchy slogan the state does not 'wither away' - ever.

Labour have got themselves a win-win strategy. If they expand the public sector then they hope that will buy them votes. If they lose the next election then any new government that tries to slim down the bureaucracy can be attacked for slashing public services. Either way, Labour come off as the defenders of public services. The unions and what remains of the Left will fall into line like sheep. No doubt the 'vote Labour with no illusions' slogan will be dusted off again...

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