Saturday, 25 September 2010

Silencing the independent voices ... or rather not

In a Guardian article on the much-trumpeted, yet-to-materialise 'bonfire of the quangos' I find this from Labour's John Denham:
Labour accused the government of playing politics with jobs. The shadow communities secretary, John Denham, told the BBC: "If you've got a government coming along saying: 'Let's silence all the independent voices, let's silence the people who speak up about equalities' ... they are really saying: 'We will be able to do whatever we like and there won't be anyone able to shine a spotlight on what we are up to'."
It's worth pausing to review the upside-downness of his reasoning. Firstly, he calls quangos, organisations that are set up and funded by the state, 'independent'. Question: independent of what or whom? The mandate, the raison d'etre, of these quangos is dictated by the government legislation which creates them. The government bankrolls them. The notion that the removal of government money will end their existence is clear evidence of their dependence on the government.

Secondly comes the idea that 'the people who speak up about equalities' will also be silenced. Clearly these people must only be doing it because of the tax-payer-funded salary they receive for the work, for otherwise they would continue the fight, and moreover, according to Denham, they must be the only people speaking up about equalities (whatever that word means). Everything inside the state, nothing outside the state, right John?

Finally comes the view that, without these quangos 'shining a light' on government action, the government will be able to do whatever it likes. Thus, for Denham, it is not the people, not a system of democracy that is responsible for holding the government to account, but rather government-funded organisations. In this way he answers the age-old question: 'who watches the watchman?' The task will be performed by the watchman's brother-in-law, who the watchman has appointed to head up the CWW (Commission for Watching the Watchman), panoramic views from London headquarters and gold-plated pension included.


alison said...

Great so many

Hope all's well. Soho drinks should be sorted for Autumn.... I'll be out of hospital etc and so on (boring) by mid to end Oct so hope to sort something soon.

Trooper Thompson said...

You're too kind. Sure, will look forward to that.