Dave has just finished a speech laying out some of his big ideas for the oft-promised (by him) “Post-Bureaucratic Age”. He is advocating local control over schools, housing and policing with the right to initiate local and national referenda. More mayors; fewer quangos and open primaries for parliamentary candidates.
All good, but has he really got the revolutionary zeal of Margaret Thatcher needed to take on the entrenched bureaucracy?
Dave is promising something easily achievable, so long as he can change the secrecy culture in public life:
“Everything about our political process published online, all the time: the expenses, the spending, the lobbying, parliamentary proceedings, the lot.”
That is doable. Guido also wants to see every government contract published online, it is our money, we want to see where it is going. “Commercially sensitive” is code for sellers don’t like price competition, secrecy hinders open competition driving down costs. Publish what we pay.
Guido is even more sceptical about his plans to curb the power of the whips in parliament and the influence of spin doctors in government. It is not like he is without spin doctors in opposition.
He appears to be getting ideas from reading the right stuff. In the Guardian this morning Cameron said
“the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power: from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities; from the EU to Britain; … we must take power from the elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street.”
Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell obviously influenced the writer because in their “The Plan” they said
“We need a radical shift of power …. redistribute power back, from Brussels to Westminster, from Whitehall to town halls, from the state to the citizens. …. disperse power among communities, through localism and through referendums”.
“The Plan” is a huge hit, an Amazon bestseller and the all-time best-selling publish-on-demand publication ever sold by Amazon. Guido simply can’t recall a wonkish policy manifesto selling like this before. “The Road to Serfdom“ maybe back in the forties is the only equivalent that comes to mind. The internet is really, finally, starting to change how we do politics...