Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Why are tory ministers so incompetent?

Here's something that's puzzling me. The Tories have 304 MPs in parliament. The Liberal Democrats have 57. Therefore the Tories have a much larger pool of talent to call upon than the Lib Dems.

The Cabinet has 22 members of whom 5 are Liberal Democrats - so therefore roughly 9% of Lib Dem MPs are Cabinet members. On the other hand, the 18 Tory Cabinet members represent just under 6% of Tory MPs.

So why is it then, with this larger pool of talent and proportionally less Cabinet members, that of the 34 policy u-turns the government has made so far, only one of them has been a u-turn by Lib Dem ministers and, given that the u-turn in question was Lords reform being blocked by tory backbenchers, it doesn't really count.

The remaining u-turns - all thirty three of them - have been by Tory ministers on Tory policy initiatives. And invariably, such as with the pasty tax or selling off the nation's forests, these have been u-turns made due to a lack of someone with the competence to sit down and notice the blindingly obvious political pitfalls of the latest wheeze.

Which, as Mark Thompson points out, begs the question: Why is it that the tory party, with a much larger pool of talent than the Lib Dems, has managed to make a pretty much unprecedented number of u-turns and mistakes while Lib Dem ministers haven't made any?

Now, obviously I'm discounting the coalition negotiations where the Lib Dems, as we all know, gave up on several of their policies. What I'm focusing on here is people being actually capable of competently enacting policies in government. I might not agree with Margaret Thatcher on selling off council houses but you can't deny that the policy itself was capably implemented with very few problems, for example.

But the modern day tory party it seems, is incapable of going more than a couple of weeks without making some sort of a cock-up or other. And I'd dearly love to know the reason why. Personally my prejudices tell me it's because the kind of people who succeed in the tory party are usually exactly the same kind of arrogant, ignorant and incompetent berks that we have passing for tory ministers at the moment but perhaps there's another reason.

Either way, the tory incompetence in government, not to mention the recent suggestions that Theresa May, a woman who's stupid and incompetent enough to let thousands of people travel through immigration without recording or checking them, who's credulous enough to believe a totally mythical story about a cat preventing an asylum seeker from being deported, is now being suggested by some tory MPs as a possible future Prime Minister, does rather tend to suggest that the tory party is facing a truly dire lack of talent.

So, despite all the oft-repeated refrain in the 2010 general election campaign that the Lib Dems were utterly inexperienced and unprepared for the challenges of governing competently, it does rather seem that, if anything, Lib Dem MPs tend to be fairly capable people while the tories, the self-imagined "natural party of government" couldn't even manage to organise a piss-up in a brewery.

7 comments:

  1. Hi George - surely 5 Lib Dems in cabinet?

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    Replies
    1. David Laws "attends" Cabinet, but he is not of the Cabinet.

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    2. Sorry, I'm embarrassed that I forgot the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is five.

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    3. Whoops - well spotted Richard. Sorry for stealing your point by the way.

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  2. I think that possibly you have the answer in your text.

    There's a saying that goes something along the lines of ...those who seek power are least likely to be capable of the responsibilities it brings...

    Liberal Democrats didn't chose their party, I'd have thought, because of a thirst for power. Apart from this coalition (and in my own country, 8 years of coalition with Labour), the UK Liberals (and Lib Dems) haven't seen power for 90 years or so, and people joining and standing for it will not have done so with the express intention of one day being a cabinet minister.

    Tories, on the other hand, have, at least in England, been the predominant party for a very long time. It is only Tony Blair's move to make Labour far more like the Tories that caused Labour to secure one long period in government.

    We can reasonably assume then, that not all, but many, Tory MPs joined the party and stood for parliament in the expectation, or hope, that they would achieve power.

    Unfortunately the current crop of public school/Oxbridge, very rich Conservatives give the impression of believing that to "rule" is their right and their destiny.

    They are led by someone who (for all his experience in PR) is a walking disaster. He seems incapable of taking the tough decisions that a PM must do when it comes to keeping his ministers in line. His loyalty to his cabinet and staff may be laudable from the friendship point of view, but it doesn't cut the mustard in management terms. And government is the management of the country, not the OB Club at Eton.

    One of my worries is the quality of civil servant providing the advice on which ministers act. Should not Sir Humphry be pointing out pitfalls (or is he doing so and being swept aside by the arrogance of the "born to lead" Tories?

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  3. The problem is - as a pleb - as I see it - The people in 'power' are all the ones stealing money from the public purse whilst blaming the plebs for doing it - They eat off the country drink off the country - they take money for everything they do, normally twice, and then they STILL want more and they just cream all the money off whilst makign the plebs pay more and more whilst they have so many 'perks' it is ridiculous - We are not and never were all in this 'together' as they are not in it at all bar for the benefit scrounging of the MP society!

    The true scroungers are living it up on Moet and DSteak whilst the plebs are at food banks.

    We need a whole NEW set of people to run this country - NOT people who were born into riches and steal money left right and centre from the country.

    They are lying in every word they utter, saying that the welfare state people are all scroungers - the disabld are all liars - that everyone bar themselves are bad and they know whats right. Well they are the liars, they are the thieves, and THEY are the scroungers. And until this country gets them ALL out and gets representation of the people FOR the PEOPLE. Then nothing will change for the better.

    And even tho i am not really knowledgeable in politics, Proportional representation sems to be the only thing that makes snese at this moment. Because to be represented by people who know NOTHING about REAL life, and who look down on us plebians from their pedestals and actually hate us for taking good air from them. Labour and Conservative are the scum of this earth and unfortunately Lib Dems are not a force to be reckoned with as Clegg has shown that Lib Dems have no heart, no soul and most importantly - NO BALLS!

    I like you - You are the only one who says things that make sense - But - If nobody listens then i fear even more for the future - My life ends very soon, but i am scum and a pleb so who cares.

    But I pray the future will not be as bleak as it looks from here.

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  4. I like you - You are the only one who says things that make sense - But - If nobody listens then i fear even more for the future - My life ends very soon, but i am scum and a pleb so who cares.

    But I pray the future will not be as bleak as it looks from here.

    At anonymous above.A lot of people do care.But the people that do care cannot be heard because the Rich,the Elite,people like Rupert Murdoch,own the media.So they stifle our voices.

    We can be heard on the internet,and our voice is getting louder,that is why Governments seek to Censor it to (protect us).

    I hope you are not contemplating suicide.Don't let the Bastards win,that is what they want.You sound reasonably educated.Go online to Papers like the Guardian,Mail and others and express yourself.

    For every person whose mind we change,its one less person to fight.Don't wait for things to change,help to make things change.Be part of the fight back.

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I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.