Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Two very different questions

Matthew Taylor, Blair's former PR advisor, was quoted as saying yesterday
"Most people will say that we should devolve more decisions about cuts to the local level. But if you then ask them 'Should services depend on where you live?' and they say 'No, services should be the same everywhere'."
But the question 'Should services depend on where you live?' is a very different question to 'Should local people determine their own service levels?'. The first implies that someone else is making the decision, that Whitehall is rationing services, perhaps with a bias towards politically favoured areas. People, I suspect, read in the question the underlying question 'Is it OK for government to give more services to Barnsley than to Guildford?' and of course the answer is no.

I think Taylor suffers from that peculiar myopia whose sufferers are simply unable to conceive of an alternative to central Statism.

Try asking 'Is it OK for people in Barnsley to vote for higher local taxes and better local services than people in Guildford vote for?' and I think the conclusion will be rather different.

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