14 September 2009

Shrinking the state popular in the UK

The Sunday Times reports a poll that says 60% of voters want government spending cut to shrink the size of the state to plug the £175 billion budget deficit.

That should give the Conservatives the testicular fortitude to be tough if they win, to abolish regional development agencies, cut countless programmes, scrap grand projects like high speed railways and stop funding expansion of housing in a dud market.

Only 21% of voters would prefer tax increases over spending cuts. So much for more socialism.

Yet Gordon Brown continues with the lie that Labour will "protect core spending" against "Tory cuts", when he knows that he wont be PM after the election, knows he wont need to cut spending, so can pretend that when the Tories actually DO have to cut heavily, he "told you so". It's vile, and fortunately against exactly what the majority want.

Government is too big in Britain, and the public want that to end. However, whether it means finally taking the knife to the national religion - the NHS - is another thing.

The editorial makes the point that doing this involves confronting the unions:

"The unions are all but irrelevant in the private sector, however, with only 16% of workers signed up as members. The public sector is the last bastion of union power, where nearly three in five state employees are members. That is why most industrial disruption is in the public sector, including a damaging series of Royal Mail strikes.

More disruption of this kind may be the price we have to pay for cutting the public sector down to size."

"Just as voters knew instinctively in 1979 that the unions had grown too powerful and elected Margaret Thatcher to cut them down to size, so they know now that the size of the state, spending the equivalent of 50% of gross domestic product, has to be tackled."

So it should - it's time for half of the British economy to stop bludging off the other half.

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