Saturday, May 16, 2009

While the papers still go on about MPs’ expenses…

It’s worth examining what New Labour really thinks about the people who fund it, the British taxpayer.

George Monbiot has once again highlighted how lax this government is in regulating business with an expose of its Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform department, which appears to exist solely to undermine what few rights we do have in favour of ignoring all conventional wisdom and removing even more planks of protection between unscrupulous business practices and the public. It’s great to see such an important department is run entirely by unelected officials (nice to see New Labour delivering on its promise on constitutional reform; now it appears to stuff the Lords with people it wants to give power to without having to go through the inconvenience of waiting for them to be elected). Click here for the full story.

No doubt those in favour of laissez faire to an extreme level applaud its existence and decry it doesn’t go far enough. But when a government department can provide “exemptions” to allow a previously banned company director from launching a sub-prime loan company which has been operating without a licence for 11 months (see here), or builders can get away with building sub-standard housing (see here), it’s clear we’ve gone too far.

Regulations exist because time and again companies and businesses have shown they are incapable of acting with a moral conscience. If people cannot voluntarily adopt a set standard, it should be imposed on them. As someone who pays a fair whack of his earnings into government coffers I would expect said government to be a little more representative of my interests in being able to purchase goods and services that are fit for purpose. Stupid, I know, but perhaps the real stupidity lies with everyone else for thinking we should simply put up with it…

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