I was just musing about an article I read a few days ago in the London Times newspaper. It was an opinion article about the supposed last days of Tony Blair in his job. Supposed, I say, because Tony Blair must secretly gloat over the vast number of obituaries written for him that were 'greatly exaggerated'. But in the center of this piece was the following hugely contentious statement, tossed out with inappropriate casualness 'On the fundamentals, Tony Blair has got pretty much everything right'.
Really? The fundamentals are defense of the nation from its enemies, keeping public order, avoiding harm to the economy, administering the machinery of government, running elections, maintaining the constitution and all legally constituted institutions of governance, collecting taxes and conducting relations with other states. So lets do a quick audit:
Defense: probably his biggest 'win' from an objective point of view. we have aligned ourselves unequivocally with the US, the only serious international player committed to free and just societies around the world. 1/1
Keeping public order: crime in Britain is rampant and getting worse. The Police are hog-tied and prevented by PC rules from acting strongly and effectively against criminals. Sentance lengths are stupidly short. Alternative punishments are non-existent. Habeas corpus and trial by jury have been undermined. 1/2
Avoiding harm to the economy: 7 million people in Britain work for the government. Taxes take 41% of GDP, the most EVER. The burden of bureaucratic nonsense on businesses is huge. The British economy is creaking under the strain of the huge welfare state edifice it has to support. 1/3
Running elections: For the first time in 150 years, electoral fraud is a problem in the UK. A number of elections in Birmingham were straighforwardly fraudulant. Postal voting is universal, rather than just for those who could not leave their houses. All because of a fictional 'voter deficit'. 1/4
Maintaining the Constitution, and the institutions of state: The house of lords has been gutted and now exclusively exists for party-political patronage. The position of Lord Chancellor has been dispensed with. Psuedo-parliaments have been created in Wales and Scotland, with ill-defined powers that compete with Westminster in some respects. 1/5
Collecting taxes: very successful. much too successful. 1/6
Conducting relations with foreign states: pretty successful. staunch ally to the US, annoyer of France and Germany, friend to all countries with equitable, free and open governance, and pretty hostile to tyrannies. 2/7
(Healthcare and Education): these are NOT fundamental functions of governments. And perhaps thats why this government does such a bad job with them. The healthcare systems in this country are chaotic, over-funded and utterly disorganised. Remember the Soviet economy? It ran on the same principles... Education- run by a huge and ever-increasing number of wonks who produce a fiat every day to pile on the 50,000 from last week. Also chaotic and very bad at doing its core tasks. 2/8
So by my reckoning, Tony Blairs record is abysmal. Its really only his strong line on foreign relations and going to war on our enemies that retrieves him somewhat.
But it just isn't enough. The wealth of this nation has been poured in a torrent into social security systems that breed sullen, depraved, anti-social wretches with never-ending requirements for more government hand-outs. The governing party have created hundreds of thousands of psuedo-jobs paid for out of taxes. The number of government employees minutely observing, statistically analysing and bureacratically handcuffing other people working will soon outnumber the people actually creating wealth. Rather than being the 'brain' of the civil 'body', the state has become a massive parasite on it, sucking its lifeblood at an unsustainable rate. And Tony Blair sat there and watched.
2/8 is not good enough, not by a country mile.