Monday, January 24, 2011

Ten ideas for a crapper Britain

Komment Macht Frei carries a 10-point plan to make the UK even worse than it already is, from the notorious Will Hutton. They are in fairness not all totally wrong, but some of them are truly idiotic.

1. Break up the banks
I can live with this actually, in principle, but it would help if there was an acknowledgement that the ridiculously complicated regulatory environment has forced banks to become larger and larger in order to cover these costs and keep up with it all. Reduce the regulatory bureaucracy and barriers to entry and you would indeed improve the banking sector. Not convinced these are his motives.

2. Build Great Companies.
This is a stinker, and worth quoting in full:
Too few British firms have good owners. Two more important companies – Smith and Nephew, and De La Rue – are fighting to retain their independence from foreign takeovers. Their shareholders do not care about innovation, their staff or customers; their priority, and thus that of the directors, is only next month's share price. Increasingly Britain is a hollowed out economy for hire rather than a centre of business decision-making and wealth generation in its own right. There has to be root-and-branch overhaul of the framework for owning, directing and launching takeovers of Britain's companies.
So basically foreign ownership is bad, Will has no solutions, so we should start with roots and branches. Really, this is 6th-form stuff, blindly blaming shareholders. Shareholders do care about "innovation, their staff or customers" because that is what drives the share price. Shareholders tend to want their companies to be successful and well-run. That is why you invest in a company.

3. Bust the Monopolies

4 Abolish Redundancy Payments
Why do I sense in this some sort of increased state intervention coming up?

5 Livelihood Insurance
Whoooomph there it is! Surely this is a bit like National Insurance, except I guess everyone will still pay National Insurance, right?

6 A Citizen Grant of £50'000 for every 21-year-old
Oh no, sorry, whoooooooooooomph THERE it is. Now that is special. And where pray tell might this money come from? Oh, you planted some beans? Should be fine then.

7 Payback time for babyboomers
Some interesting thoughts here actually. Probably the least bad of his ideas.

8 An end to parents-pay education
Private schools should ... be compelled to admit, through competitive examination, children from households with less than £40,000 a year. Their fees would be paid by the government.
Ah yes, the problem is private schools, not the parlous state of the state school system. Why not just bring back grammar schools, if you want competitive examinations?

9 An Honest Media
I agree, but bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha good luck with that.

10 A written constitution along with proportional voting
I don't think this would make a blind bit of difference but there you are. This is instructive however:
In particular, there should be an entrenching of local government's power: it should have the constitutional right to raise up to half its revenue from local taxation.
That is the extent of Will's ability to imagine what local government power should look like - how much tax they can raise. Sad.

And to avoid accusations of being negative for the sake of it, here is my 3-point plan for a better Britain.

1. Get the fuck out of our lives, just stop bloody interfering and remember that you work for us.
2. Stop fighting pointless, never-ending wars to distract from what is going on at home.

Actually, that'll do for starters, there you go, a 2-point plan!

1 comment:

  1. "A Citizen Grant of £50'000 for every 21-year-old"

    Let us assume this in in place tomorrow. My step-daughter is 22, so would she automatically have missed out (by a few months) on this gift from the state?

    Or could I say she has missed out "by an accident of birth" due to the time her mother gave birth? Hmmm... I thought the left-dribblers were against this sort of thing?

    But then, if my step-daughter can get it, how about me and her mother? We were 21 once...

    I know, I know. Another not-very-well-thought-out idea bites the dust...