The bonfire that never was

There’s no shortage of bad unconservative things the Conservative government have failed to in the last decade. And no shortage of good conservative things they’ve failed to do. So it’s hard to decide what their worst, most damaging failure has been (but feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments).

But there is one that really sticks in my mind. It’s probably not the worst thing they’ve done, but to me it really crystallised the fact (which I had strongly suspected) that they really had no intention of halting the state’s shift to the left. And that is their failure to follow through on their promise to have a ‘bonfire of the quangos’. In fact, what we’ve had since then is more and more power shifting to quangos and other non-democratic quango-type organisations.

Robert Tombs gets this:

All across the democratic world, more and more power has shifted away from elected national governments towards non-elected bodies – international organisations, law courts, treaties, quangos. Governments have voluntarily surrendered their own authority. But in doing so, they have limited democratic choice: voters are told that there are things they cannot do, choices they cannot make.


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3 thoughts on “The bonfire that never was

  1. “We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. “

  2. A few years ago I was at an event in London and heard a former Cameron advisor speak (Alex Dean IIRC), and he said that one of his biggest failings was always trusting the civil servants and believing they gave honest advice. So whenever closing quango X was proposed, he’d hear “But Prime Minister, we can’t do that for reasons xyz”, and so he would cave in every time.

  3. He’d obviously never seen Yes, Minister.

    Indeed, it’s slightly suprising that the Service was still trying this stuff on, 30 years later. My guess would be that the Blair mob were a pushover (remember how they actually boasted that departmental staff were pleased to see them back in ’97, as if that was something to be proud of?), and let it slip back into old habits.

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