Governance of Britain


Labour’s democratic credentials have also proved to be nonexistent. Our second chamber, the House of Lords, is largely appointed.  (Brown’s death-bed conversion to an elected second chamber echoes a similar pledge by Blair in 1997 and can be dismissed as short-term electioneering).  Following  devolution, the only say English MPs have in Scottish domestic affairs is on tax levels which apply to the whole of the United Kingdom. However Scots MPs continue to vote every week on purely English affairs. Postal voting has been extended in a manner calculated to increase Labour’s vote and which has led directly to election fraud. A new layer of Government in England, the Regional Assemblies which contain no elected members, has been inserted between central and local government with responsibility for producing and executing Regional Plans.  Local Councils, already vulnerable to central pressure due to their reliance on central funding for three quarters of their expenditure, are assessed by a politicised Audit Commission on the basis of their fulfilment of government policies, not their constituents’ wishes.  In effect, Councils are now little more than the Government’s instruments in its programme of controlling the lives of the public and imposing an ever-tightening strait-jacket through their equality laws.

Labour can take credit for granting independence to the Bank of England, the Freedom of Information Act and the institution of an independent statistical service, changes which have not always operated to their political advantage. However, these improvements are counterbalanced by the creation of a bloated bureaucracy throughout Government, including a monstrous array of quangos, accountable to no one but with substantial powers. These include extensive rights, shared with Council officers, to enter and search private home.


Labour’s ‘ethical’ foreign policy has consisted largely of preaching to other countries, often to the detriment of our relations and hence our interests. In Europe, they gave away a large proportion of our rebate in return for worthless promises. They also broke a firm pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on the totally dishonest pretext that the Treaty was purely technical and contained no substantive changes. As for the special relationship with the US, they interpreted this to require a posture of utter servility to whoever happened to occupy the White House at the time. (The current lack of US support for our position on the Falklands demonstrates the futility of this subservience). This policy led us into the Iraq war, justified by a dishonestly exaggerated threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction which proved to be non-existent. Labour’s lavish spending priorities did not extend to providing adequate equipment for our troops, either in Iraq or Afghanistan), causing continuing and unnecessary loss of life to our armed forces.


‘Education, education and education’, intoned T Blair at the start of his premiership, and education expenditure rose from £38bn in 1998 to £82 bn, totalling £680bn over 12 years in all. This spending has improved schools infrastructure but achieved little else. The number of teachers rose from 399,200 to 432,800, teaching assistants from 60,600 to 181,600 and other administrative staff from 72,900 to 157,300. But productivity declined (the 2003 workforce agreement saw a reduction in time spent in the classroom by teachers, considerable pay increases and a massive expansion in the number of teaching assistants) as did academic standards. At the primary stage, only 2% of pupils leave at the age of 11 having attained ‘Level 4’ (the level at which they are deemed capable of succeeding at secondary school) in all three key subjects, English, Maths and Science.  25% leave without having attained this level in both English and Maths.  At secondary level, 1 in 6 school leavers failed to obtain a single worthwhile qualification in 2008. The past 12 years have been marked by a continuous process of Government inspired ‘dumbing down’ – lowering of pass marks in national school tests (to allow ministers to point to ‘improvement’) easing of A-level standards, fostering subjects of little intellectual ballast, explosion of third-rate universities with high drop-out rates (attributable to Blair’s target of sending 50% of leavers to universities),  crude pressure on elite institutions to lower bar for pupils from failing state schools. Classroom disruption through indiscipline remains widespread, not helped by Labour’s requirement that for every pupil expelled, another disruptive pupil has to be admitted. There have also been spiteful attempts to remove independent schools’ charitable status and clear hostility to home education. Many schools have been overwhelmed by Labour’s culture of targets and by a flood of incoherent initiatives (16 between September 09 and January 10. OFSTED, once a guarantor of academic excellence, has become an instrument of oppression across- the-board. According to the Public Accounts Committee, more than 5m people were illiterate and nearly 7m innumerate in 2009.


Labour’s strong tendency towards social engineering has been most marked in its policies towards children and parental responsibility for their upbringing.  Lessons on ‘social’ subjects, such as ‘relationships’ and sex education are to be introduced. The latter, for which there is to be no parental opt-out, will start at four, with more intensive sexualisation introduced at seven. The removal of children from their parents and their placement for adoption has also become more dictatorial under Labour.  Social workers active in this area have always been unaccountable but bullying intrusions into family life on the flimsiest of grounds are on the increase. One of these, of recent origin, is ’emotional abuse’, a term which apparently means ‘any conduct on the part of a parent of which a social worker may disapprove.’  Where adoption is involved, family ties apparently count for very little with social services who may give children to strangers before grandparents’ claims are even considered. Jack Straw has made a laudable attempt to open up adoption hearings in the family courts to greater public scrutiny but the outcome has been feeble. On the other side of the coin, social services often seem to miss appalling cases of child abuse where physical evidence and witness testimony is available. Here, however, some justification for their errors exists. There is a confusing nexus of Agencies involved in such cases, and lines of responsibility are often blurred. According to their Association, social workers spend 80% of their time on paperwork to satisfy government requirements. The responsible minister, Ed Balls, however, refuses to cut bureaucracy and targets.

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