Thursday, May 05, 2005

Back in the Conservative fold - because I recall the 1970s

I was there in the 1970's too. It was a humiliating time to be British. This article doesn't even mention Denis Healey and the IMF or the Winter of Discontent - just the grey quotidian reality of seemingly inevitable decline.

In some ways, New Labour is engineering an even worse situation than then. In their next term, beginning tomorrow, I predict they will reach a level of public sector employment as high as 1978. But those employees will be even more unproductive than those of 25 years ago.

One University vacation in the 70's, I "worked" in the nationalised British Steel plant at Shotton in North Wales. It was a Disneyland of Socialism - an entirely different world from the hard graft of the small business in which I grew up. Try as I would (and I was a student unaccustomed to hard work) I could not make my day's tasks last more than half an hour. It was shocking to spend time amongst tens of thousands of men and women acclimatised by the State to unproductive near-idleness. I shall never forget the trick shots with a golf ball into a Castella tin which the men in the office where I worked had honed to perfection in decades of uselessness.

The State employees of the 1970's were proudly inefficient and idle, but at least some of them sometimes produced something. Even the plant where I worked turned out the odd thousand tons of steel. New Labour's hired captive voters will be clipboard-carriers and tax-gatherers almost to a person. According to reports from within the police, 95% of officers' time is spent on bureaucracy, so only 5% of the police count as productive. Don't even get me started on the NHS - the second largest employer on the planet, surpassed only by the People's Liberation Army of China (and about as ideologically sound and medically-effective).

Buy the Guardian. Look at the government jobs on offer. Decide if that's where you want 40-50% of the national income to go. Then vote - and may your conscience go with you.

Telegraph | Opinion | Back in the Conservative fold - because I recall the 1970s

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