I recall, in 1997, having a real fear of what the incoming Labour government would do.
Eighteen years of the Conservatives meant that so much of the damage the previous Labour administration had done had been put right. Margaret Thatcher had stopped the nationalisation of industry and services, the dead hand of the all-powerful closed shop trades unions, the destruction of the economy, and the building up of the welfare dependent, shabby council estate syndrome, where a huge proportion of the people were in thrall to left-wing, dogma-driven local authorities. And John Major had continued this work from 1990 to 1992.
In the event, not a lot happened, and we were all lulled into a sense of warm security. Underneath, of course, Labour was changing things. One only had to read the job advertisements in the “heavies” to see that the number of public and publicly-funded appointments, whether in government, local government, quangos, or whatever, were multiplying. Now, it seems, most jobs are in that sector. And all these people are dependent on government for their livelihood, and are unlikely to do or say anything to disturb the status quo. Despite Prudence, public and private borrowing was spiralling, destroying the stable economy left by the Conservatives. Stealth taxes were increasing the amount of each individual’s/family’s compulsory contribution to the Treasury, and reducing the amount of money left to them to be spent as they wished.
How strange it seemed that this summer there was a 1997 feeling about Brown taking over. Blair, although heartily disliked and despised for what had happened on his watch, (Iraq, spin, cash for peerages, et al), seemed on the surface a reasonable middle class metrosexual, with no reds under the beds fear necessary.
But Brown, well that’s another matter. The son of the manse is a puritan, and seemed much more of an old type Labour leader. I confess that the fear came back.
Now the spin from the Brown government, (oh sorry, I forgot he doesn’t do spin, does he?), tries to convince us that he is wooing middle England, Worcester woman, and all the other buttons he must press if he is to retain the vote of those who had previously voted Conservative.
But look beneath that extremely thin veneer, and note the hints that have been coming out of Downing Street:- a return of a certain amount of power to trades unions; more council houses to be built for rent; more and more surveillance of the individual justified by “the war on terrorism”; a return to local government power over schools; identity cards; central databases of everyone’s medical records; central database of the details of every child; home inspectors interfering in the sale of houses and thereby building up information for future property tax changes; and more, and more.
Burning our Money puts it very well:-
Ten years of control freakery and huge splurges of our cash have left our public services entangled in a dense bureaucratic mangrove swamp. Police who can’t police, schools that can’t teach, and health services that we can’t access.
Yet all he could offer yesterday was more of the same: on his direct orders hospital wards are to be steam-cleaned, police hit squads are to target problem areas he has selected, teachers are to teach one-to-one as he’s decided, ten new “eco-towns” will go up where he wants, twenty fresh divisions are to be sent to the Eastern front, etc, etc.
Read the whole post at: http://www.burningourmoney.blogspot.com/
I think we do have more to worry about under Brown. I see my way of life threatened, and yours too.