Reflections on my life....havenplace.co.uk

Welcome Cynik-Politik - Target Driven Government is Dead 

by Phil Marks

Listening to Lord Mandelson of the multi-titled Ilk being interviewed on BBC Radio the other morning, I realised that Target-Politik is dead. We now have Cynik-Politik.

That idea has been emerging for a couple of months now on the international stage, as (principally) European Governments grapple with the punitive cost levels (and that's dollars as well as poll-cost) of designing legislation to implement Kyoto carbon reduction targets. All they have done is move the target horizons out and soften the targets (the UK) and agree as a group to not have binding agreement as an objective of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. That's at the macro-level.

At the micro- level -or should I say, within the UK, this government has realised that it cannot deliver on targets it has set in Education, the Health Service, the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement, to name but a few. The problem with targets is that you can only do so much with statistics to hide target shortfall. The Government scored an own-goal in setting up the Statistics Commission, which has limited its ability to use sleight-of-hand to cover up failure to achieve targets.

So, what do you do when you are patently failing to hit very publicly-set targets? Well, you just convert targets into 'Guarantees' for citizens. Problem solved. Get the Queen to sign off on that in the Queen's Speech.

Great, Targets are dead, long live Guarantees. And the bonus is that the Government (in the form of the Labour Party) has a clearly defined ring-fence around its (for the moment) core beliefs. They cannot be measured against these so-called Guarantees, but they can use them as a front-line defence against the Tories.

It is no wonder that politics and politicians are discredited, when they resort to tactics like this. Welcome the new dawn, Cynik-Politik is here to stay.

Copyright © 2009 Phil Marks



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