Yesterday's Radio 4 programme, "David Cameron's Big Idea" (13h30 on 15/01/12: available for a week on the BBC's "Listen Again" website) claimed that one of the areas of Conservative/Liberal Democrat overlap which excited the negotiating teams which formed the coalition was a mutual desire to put an end to Westminster and Whitehall dictacts and devolve decision making to the lowest possible levels.
Alas this enthusiasms for trusting professionals and the people has been very short lived. The year is as yet not a month old and nurses have been ordered from the top to visit their patients every hour. Local councils have been told they can no longer fine people for mixing up their rubbish or putting it out on the wrong day; (this on top of last year's instruction that they must collect the rubbish every week). Schools have been told that the existing curriculum for computer studies is boring and inadequate but, rather than trusting the teachers to decide for themselves what is best for their pupils, a new prescription is to be issued.
So once again we have the mixture as before, and the "top down" management for which Labour was rightly criticised simply continues. Is it any wonder that the electorate lack trust in politicians and believe "you're all the same."?
After failing in the 1960s I'm now making a second and, so far more successful, attempt at reading Joseph Heller's "Catch 22". This quotation from pages 130/131 of the 50th anniversary edition resonates:
Without realising how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed, and shoved about all day long by one after the other.
For "combat men" read "nurses, teachers, councillors et at", for a"administrators" read central government.
Monday, 16 January 2012
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