“The commonest big mistake the individual outside politics makes about the people inside is to suppose they have a plan”. This is a quote from former MP Matthew Parris writing in the Times.
Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery warned the most dangerous individual is the industrious fool. I think we may have the worst of all possible worlds, a coalition full of industrious fools with no plan.
Michael Gove clearly has no plan. He has made so many cock-ups it’s embarrassing, but he ploughs on: using his vast inexperience and elitist zeal he appears intent not to reform our education system, but to take it back to the dark ages.
Andrew Lansley has an idea for the NHS, but it’s on the back of a fag packet. He is determined to force his ‘idea’ on the NHS with very little considered thought. Yet again the NHS is being subjected to more political meddling. The NHS may be in need of change, but the change he is proposing is so radical that there is a every chance it will sink the whole operation.
There is no question that the welfare system needs fundamental reform, but Iain Duncan Smith’s ideas are being implemented with very little consideration. The consequences of what he is proposing are far reaching and utterly devastating to hundreds of thousands of people. Welfare reform has to be accompanied by a plan to improve the position of the beneficiaries, not to punish them. No such plan exists.
George Osborne believes the deficit has to be reduced, nobody would argue with that, but the way he is approaching the problem will condemn Britain – unnecessarily – to years of austerity and misery. He appears to have a ‘cut at any cost’ approach and to take pride in delivering pain on others. Worse still he has no plan to create growth and jobs. He is trusting that the private sector will, as if by magic, conjure up jobs for the millions of public sector workers who are just about to join the ranks of the unemployed. It won’t.
Both Cameron and Osborne have no ‘big ideas’, no plan. For example, they have no plans to make labour less expensive by reducing income tax so that Britain can attract more inward investment. No plans to mitigate the effect of the cuts. Instead the ‘dynamic duo’ continue to tax people into poverty and increase the burden on an already overstretched and costly welfare system.
As for Cameron, he is turning out not to be a leader, but an ‘events’ politician. In other words he reacts to events rather than making things happen. With no big ideas and no plans he’s destined just to preside over events. The best we can hope for is piecemeal policies, muddle and confusion.
Vince Cable is right when he says that much of what the coalition is doing is Maoist: Maoist in that the Conservative element is doggedly pursuing its own political doctrine, but they’re not really Maoist. Why? Because Mao had a plan!