06 July 2009

The bonfire that never quite gets lit

Those who take pleasure from watching politicians do the same thing over and over again without any practical result will have noted Mr Cameron's interest in quangos. The BBC reports:
David Cameron is pledging to cut the number of unelected quangos to save money and increase accountability.
A Tory government would close one schools quango, while another - media regulator Ofcom - would be stripped of its policy-making role, he will say.
The Tory leader will ask shadow cabinet ministers to identify which bodies within their areas should be cut back.
This weekend the government announced a review of public bodies in a bid to ensure cash goes to frontline services.

The threatened bonfire goes back at least to the 1970s. Politicians of all parties have at various times (usually near an election) dug out a box of lucifers and gathered up the driftwood of quangos. For some reason, however, the conflagration never takes place. Could it be that, on reflection, the pols conclude that quangos are actually quite useful? But never mind, a threatened bonfire is always good for a headline or two.

(Incidentally, don't imagine for a moment that governments set up quangos and then forget about them. There is a whole industry within the civil service devoted to reviewing them which you can read about here.)

2 comments:

ScottishToryBoy said...
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ScottishToryBoy said...

1) In October 2007, at SNP Conference, Alex Salmond announced his intentions to cut Scotland’s quangos by a quarter.

2) In January 2008 at First Minister’s Questions Alex Salmond admitted his actions “certainly will not reduce the number of people who are employed in those organisations by 26 per cent”.