As they say in the popular TV programme “Dragon´s Den” let me tell you where I am aton the topic of government. I don´t like it. I rather agree with Ronald Reagan who quipped that the scariest words in the English language were “I´m from the government and I´m here to help”. This is not a right vs left issue for me since I have a general distaste for government of any hue once it starts to do what is natural to it and start sticking it´s nose in my business. Am I the only one who feels like this?
You see my starting point in all matters politic is that the government is there to SERVE the people, not the other way around. And yet I am afraid to say that more often than not, it feels like we are here to pay homage and taxes to the political institutions that control our daily life. And that enrages me. The individual is capable of doing most things better than government and in particular regard is able to better direct where his (or her!) income is spend than sort anonymous bureaucrat. Of course the problem is that IF people were free to dispose of much more of their income than they currently do then we would need fewer bureaucrats, less quangos, less politicians – and that would never do, would it?
I have argued here before that you should never trust politicians. When they are standing for election they will promise you anything to gain power. Once in office, they will tell you why they can´t do what they said they would do before ascending to power. It´s the opposite of a virtuous circle, more of a vacuous one! I also don´t think it matters much these days whether they are conservative or liberal – they charade is the same. Here in the UK we witness how the likes of Labour grandee Peter Mandelson and Conservative wannabe Chancellor George Osbourne both had their fat snouts in the floating trough provided by a floating Russian Oliarch off the Corfu coast. Different shades, same colour. That´s one reason I am not a cheer-leader for British Conservatism as it exists currently – I see the same mendacity, the same arrogance, the same contempt for the ordinary people.
The idea that people enter politics to improve the well-being of their fellow-citizens is a lovely idea – a bit like thinking that Islam wants to be our friend. Problem is that even the more idealistic political figures soon become corrupted by the venality of power. As some of you know, I did spend a little time in party politics and was a freak insofar as I was entirely driven by a desire to help save the democracy in which I lived by ensuring that a politlcaldeal with bloodthirsty terrorists was not reached. I failed, of course, but during the process I had my eyes opened to what goes on behind closed doors and I felt like a fish out of water. One of the major problems is that politics PAYS too well! Don´t believe all this self serving hype from the political class that they earn a modest living!! I found people who in all fairness would struggle to qualify for a job as a public lavatory attendant suddenly assuming the air of statesmen. It would be a good thing if political wages were cut in half along with the ambitions of those who deign to tell us what is good for us.
I heard Senator Obama state that “we don´t need small or big government – but better government”. He´s lying. He means to rank up the size and interefence level of government to unprecedented levels but just won´t come out and say it. Bush was little better – he too has presided over the growth of big brother government. And it hurts me to say it but even under genuine political giants like Reagan and Thatcher, the scale of government increased.
To my way of thinking the role of government must be severely limited to just three core areas.
1. Ensure the safety of the people by having the necessary military resources that will act in the NATIONAL interest.
2. Ensure that the rule of law is enforced fairly and impartially and that all are made amenable to it.
3. Provide a minimal societal safety net for the physically and mentally infirm.
The rest is junk. I don´t want government thieving my income to fund its myriad projects and programmes. I utterly reject the Nanny State. I condemn the very concept of State Health Care and State Education. I resent government handicapping business and enterprise – and the bailing out the biggest failures as if this was a measure of success! Taxation is the key to all of this. Government by its very nature will always try to increase taxation on the majority so it can then re-distribute to it´s favoured courtier groups, so buying their loyalty. This is wrong. The best form of taxation is a flat rate applied to all at a very low level. Beyond that let us keep our money so we can buy the resources we want without government daring to tell us what we can and cannot do.
In the UK, these views are radical. Statism abounds here and gives every increase growing further. If we are unlucky enough to see President Obama in the White House, the US government will also surge and people will, by definition, enjoy less freedom. And in the final analysis, without freedom what have we become – serfs in State without limit?