Tuesday, 5 December 2006

What works? You wish...

'What matters is what works' Tony Blair once declared. I really believe that is true: sadly Tony doesn't, and I suspect never did. As Ann Clwyd is ejected from her position as Chairperson of the parlimentary labour party thanks to her support for Blair, it is worth highlighting five of the worse examples of Labour's doctrine pursuit of policies despite them obviously not working:
  • Iraq. No more need be said than that one word.
  • PFI. Wow, wouldn't it be really great to pay more for the same public services and lock the NHS, Transport for London and many other bodies into inflexible, long term contracts? Anyone who claims Gordon Brown is an economic genius should be forced to have 'PFI' branded on their forehead so they never forget the disasterous waste caused by this terrible idea.
  • Faith Schools. We want a more tolerant society with higher standards of education. So let's set up schools which exclude some faiths, enhance the sense of being special of others, suck up education resources that could be spent on improving ordinary schools, and give their governance to those verging on monomania.
  • Replacing Trident. We do not need to spend £25B on nuclear weapons now, honestly we don't. This is all about Labour appearing tough on defense: it has nothing to with what the country actually needs.
  • The Internal Market in the NHS. No one who had actually spent any time trading the financial markets would ever suggest they are efficient allocators of resources so why on earth does the government think the market will magically solve the problems of the NHS?
None of these policies was obviously unworkable at the beginning: foolish or misguided perhaps, but not obviously unworkable. They all subsequently have been proved not to work. Yet still the government sticks with them, demonstrating the dominance of ideology over efficacy in their thinking.

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