Tuesday, 11 May 2010

On public spending

This morning I went to the shops to get some coffee, I didn't have quite enough change, so I had to use my credit card, and sadly there's a minimum spend on credit cards, so I had to buy some more stuff. Its a shame cos I'm trying to save my pennies at the moment, with being unemployed and everything.

Anyhoo, over on the BBC website there's a story about how Charles Moore refused to pay his TV licence as a protest against Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's Sachsgate phonecall.
He went on: "The question was, how to protest. Normally if you don't like a service or a political party, you can at least withdraw your custom and choose another. With the BBC, there is no such option.

"So disobedience seemed the logical response... when my licence fee came up for renewal, I would pay the sum instead to Help the Aged, out of respect for Andrew Sachs. Until Ross was sacked, I would keep my television and go on watching it."
Sadly this sort of thing is forbidden, c'est interdit, and Mr Moore was fined £262.

Its a similar thing with public spending and taxes. Mark Wallace of the TaxPayers Alliance made a similar point the other day in an article on ConservativeHome
Councils are at best semi-accountable at the moment. Every year, or three or even four years I get a vote on who my councillor is. Even then, many of their policies are not decided by elected councillors. In between elections, I am legally compelled at the threat of prosecution to hand over as much money as they demand.

Compare this to private business. Every time I go shopping, I take part in a referendum on which supplier I give my money too. Even better, it is a referendum of a population of one – me. At any time, if I get a dodgy product, poor customer service or an unreasonable price hike, I am free to withdraw my business from any one of the thousands of different companies I deal with in my day to day life. I don’t get outvoted by others, and if I choose to reject Heinz beans as far too expensive, they cannot serve me with court papers demanding I hand them money regardless.

Does Mr Myers still think that Kensington & Chelsea is more accountable than a private business?

This is the really good reason why councils should be more transparent than private companies: if voters are only given a choice about their council service once every year or more, then they deserve as much information as possible to inform that decision. If taxpayers are to be forced to hand over their money, then the very least councils can do in return is show us how it is spent.
I prefer to decide how to spend my own money (or when to save it) myself.

Yon Facebook group 'Tories have no MANDATE to rule Scotland' and their hypothetical counterpart group, 'Labour have no MANDATE to rule England', it all comes down to the same thing, how aligned are you with the UK's political system.

If the party you voted for doesn't form the government,
do they have any right to spend your money?

Clearly under the current system, the answer is yes, they (the winners) have the right, can raise taxes (or lower them) as much as they decide, and them allocate resources in any way they see fit. Any protests against the current system comes down to this, you think your judgment of how to allocate resources is better than those who have been elected.

God knows what I'm trying to say here, probably something about how the government of the last 13 years has been trying to extract as much money as possible from our pockets, keeping them in power isn't going to change that policy.

If you think you could better allocate resources then electing a party that lets you keep more money in your pocket is the wisest course.

1 comment:

  1. Labour exists to extract as much money as it can, consistent with being re-elected. Thus an increase on inequality is fundamental. The more unequal the distribution of income, the more there are taking out, bribed to vote Labour and the fewer there are to pay in, whose votes don't matter.