Servants of the people? They need a slap

Last night went to see my old boss Geoff Mulgan plugging his new book, Good and Bad Power: the ideals and betrayals of government [Amazon]. Three main observations:

      1. Geoff Mulgan is a very clever man and interesting speaker.
      2. The book offers a fascinating insight into the tension between governments as democratically accountable ‘servants’, and as ‘rulers’ that take power to deliver security, welfare and justice. All very timely.
      3. He draws on the ancient Sumerian tradition in which the High Priest slaps the King’s face to remind him of the need for humility.

The third point has important and urgent relevance in Britain today…

The under-performing British consumer

Just back from an excellent break in the Lake District, but had cause to reflect on the reasons for Britain’s poor record on economic productivity compared to the US. I’m convinced it’s little to do with the rise of China taking all our jobs, the failing biotech revolution, poor R&D spend or any of the other reasons usually offered. No, it is something much closer to home: the underperforming British consumer is to blame.

The basic reason is that Brits too easily put up with rubbish service or products or are too undiscerning to notice that’s what they have been offered. The consumer is the problem… Continue reading “The under-performing British consumer”

First past the post

With David Cameron riding high, will he win the next election? In the 2005 general election, each party needed dramatically different numbers of voters for each seat it won. They weren’t that far apart in votes cast, but miles apart in seats won.

Party

Seats

Votes

%vote

% seats

Votes / seat

Labour

356

9,566,618

35.2%

55.1%

26,873

Conservative

198

8,785,941

32.4%

30.7%

44,373

Lib Dem

62

5,985,414

22.0%

9.6%

96,539

All others

30

2,809,358

10.3%

4.6%

93,645

Total

646

27,147,331

100%

100%

42,024

At the next election a hung parliament is a possibility – perhaps that will be what we need to have a change of electoral system. We have to get closer to PR, without ending up like Italy.How can anyone possibly call this fair? The worst injustice was done to UKIP – with 605,973 votes and no seats. This would be enough votes for 22 Labour seats. I have no brief for UKIP at all, but they do reflect a particular view in Britain that is seeking representation.