Government exists to facilitate

… that we live well – and of course that we live better than we could have done without government.

I trust it can be agreed that this is an uncontroversial statement. Yet I’m not at all sure that the current government passes that test.

The delivery method that government uses in order to facilitate is money, of which the government has complete and sole control, yet which is still somehow presumed to be in short supply – as Sunak mentioned as an aside, when he gave the recent Downing Street Coronovirus update:

Those currently in power, by belittling the government both literally and metaphorically, dissipate confidence in it . So we could all just volunteer for the NHS, as about 0.75 million are estimated to have done, and just let the also belittled but still largely competent, civil service run it.

The government has pretty much designed themselves out of society. They don’t consider themselves to be philosophically bound to offer a better life (or, of course in some cases, any life). We are supposedly all individuals now.

Unless, unfortunately for their philosophy, there is a communicable disease pandemic.

Having designed themselves out, response to any emergency is ignorant and panicky. Lockdown was eventually forced upon them because that is actually what many people themselves were deciding was best for them – yet at the time, the government had not deigned to fathom anything of the bigger picture.

In that respect there was an interesting paragraph in Johnson’s ‘ to all households’ letter – obviously written some time ago now. But it bears repeating:

I know many of you will be deeply worried about the financial impact on you and you family. The government will do whatever it takes to help you make ends meet and put food on the table.

I understand that the real Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, is still off with his version of the plague, so the rest of the government, even more adrift than usual, has only its ideology to fall back on. So we end up with Sunak using his former banking boss as a special advisor . Whereas the whole grand plan was of course that Cummings was going to provide the advisors and, I suggest, get rid of Treasury meddling, which I suggest again, as Cummings is not a Conservative, might well have been instrumental in a less money is short approach. Why else get rid of Javid?

I’m beginning to wonder if, in Johnson’s and Cummings’ absences, we might discover what they – or at least he – stood for and I’m fairly convinced that Cummings does believe that government can facilitate…

Otherwise the ‘Johnson/Cummings absentee government’ will quickly discover that in the end, if it cannot care for people, the economy is both senseless and worthless.

I think Johnson might perhaps now realise this.

Comments

  1. Richard Bond -

    The conservatives from Thatcher on have always thought of Govt an the economy as senseless and worthless, not because it cannot care for people, but because it stands in the way of the robust individual. Its only function is to facilitate transfer of money from the many to the few.

    You give far too much credit to Cummings here. Yes he’s thinks differently to the bankers, but if rumour/leaks are to be believed it was he who was willing to put business before people by pushing the herd immunity theory.

    Johnson/Cummings were always going to spend, albeit on vanity projects, but I can’t see them reversing Thatcherism and that’s what’s needed.

    1. Peter May -

      Good points
      I always thought they were going to roll-back Thatcherism, if not reverse it. CV has seen most of Thatcherism reversed – albeit, allegedly only temporarily. That’s why paying back is, worryingly, still there. may be being kind to Cummings, but I don’t see him as a fan of merchant bankers!

  2. Peter May -

    PS
    I understand it’s Cummings’ first day back today!

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