A Hard Look at the Effectiveness of the UK’s Political Class? – John Gelmini

Yesterday, I reblogged a thoughtful and interesting article in the FT entitled “Britain ought to be thankful for its political class”. I received a strong response from John Gemini

United Kingdom: stamp

United Kingdom: stamp (Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

which I am reblogging below in the interests of wider public debate.

Personally, I tend to agree with the broad thrust of John’s argument but not necessarily all the individual points.

What about you, any thoughts?

A Hard Look at the Effectiveness of the UK’s Political Class? – John Gelmini


I think not.

Our political class is greedy, largely Arthur Daley like, secretive, untruthful, self-serving and far too large given that 75% of our laws are made in the EU, making anything more than 250 MPs completely unnecessary.

Then there are the so-called “devolved governments ” of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with all their associated costs under the Barnett Formula which are costing the taxpayers of England £35 billion gbp per year.

Then there are all the costs of translating things into Welsh, a language spoken by just 600,000 people who no-one else in the world uses and which is of no use for exporting.

The EU itself involves another layer of government, embodied in MEPs and the transfer of £12 billion gbp a year from the UK to the EC with about 1/3rd coming back to us.

For that we are supposedly “punching above our weight”, “maintaining influence in the world”, “ensuring that World War or war in Europe is less likely” and enjoying the benefits of a single market of 550 million people.

The reality is rather different, not a single nett new job has been created in 25 years, the major powers take notice of each other and Chancellor Merkel but not us and not the Prime Minister although he likes to imagine otherwise.

In addition, the accounts of the EU are inaccurate and the EU budget subject to massive and ongoing fraud about which nothing is ever done because those “wetting their beaks” are too high up the food chain or like to sack whistleblowers like Marta Andreeson on the grounds of “breach of confidence”.

The EU was not able to stop the Yugoslav War and in fact helped to cause it by allowing Chancellor Kohl to “recognize Bosnia” and secretly bankroll the Croats.

Our political class also consists of unelected quango heads trained by Common Purpose whose sole reason for being is to exercise power without scrutiny and enrich themselves in non jobs.

If the costs of Government/the Political Class were lower than there might be a case for leaving them as they are but the reality is we are 17th in the world for value per taxpayer pound and we deliver 1/3rd the value per £1 gbp as does Singapore.Thus they (Singapore) have good reason to celebrate their political class whereas we are infested with con artists and scoundrels, who would sell their own grandmothers. It’s about time that the UK political class was subjected to their own austerity medicine and downsized.

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Dr Alf’s Two Cents: Only the Poor Die Young by Johan P. Mackenbach – Project Syndicate

Chicken Tiki Masala - Work Social

Chicken Tiki Masala – Work Social (Photo credit: mangee)

This article by Prof. Mackenbach, published by Project Syndicate is WORTH A READ. Check it out!

via Only the Poor Die Young by Johan P. Mackenbach – Project Syndicate.

When I saw the title I was expecting the article to be about deaths from war; in wars, the largest share of the soldiers come from poor backgrounds. I was a little surprised that the article focused on effectiveness of postwar social policies in Europe. In particular, the article highlights that the poor, typically from less educated, lower income, social  lower classes, die younger; Mackenbach noted that this trend was also present in Scandinavia, often highlighted as the beacon for social policy. The author concluded that the solution was higher taxes that favored redistribution in favor of the poor.

I was particularly interested in the following comment:

Long-term time-series data indicate that the socioeconomic mortality gap narrowed before the 1950’s, but has grown substantially since then.

Personally, I am uncomfortable with the argument in favor of higher taxes designed to take from the rich and give to the poor, like in the current French model. Based on my political views, I favor lower taxes, a small state and a meritocracy that favors individualism.

In my mind, social policies have been increasingly abused by do-good politicians, inefficient bureaucrats, and ungrateful recipients. Austerity policies across Europe have helped to highlight the causes of the socioeconomic mortality gap, namely smoking, physical exercise, diet, and alcohol consumption.

For me, Germany provides a good model or benchmark for social policies, and France and the UK highlight ineffective policies.

This leads me to an emerging open question:

In austerity savaged Europe, what should policy-makers do about the socioeconomic mortality gap, i.e. poorer people die younger?

Any thoughts?

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