I would like to think that this is not in America’s future, but I am afraid that we have already watched the beginnings of it. From Melanie Phillips, an update on how government rewards itself for failure:
One of the wonders of the world is the way in which the public sector manages to defy the laws of financial gravity.
If a private company is found to be catastrophically incompetent by producing a lousy product, it goes bust. But when the public sector is so incompetent that vulnerable infants in its care actually die as a result, it treats this as a signal for paying itself even greater sums of public money.
And this even when belts are supposedly being tightened to cope with the financial crisis. In the private sector, people are facing a miserably uncertain future. But in the town halls, the party just seems to roll on and on.
Last week, Sharon Shoesmith was finally sacked from her £100,000-plus post as director of children’s services for Haringey Council following the Baby P scandal, in which a toddler died from sickening ill-treatment at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger while supposedly in her department’s care.
Yet now it has been revealed that Haringey will pay almost £200,000 a year — more than the Prime Minister himself gets paid — to her successor.
This would be understandable if it was thought necessary to tempt an outstanding manager from a successful company in the private sector, where such levels of remuneration are the norm.
But it turns out that Ms Shoesmith’s successor, Peter Lewis, comes from exactly the same background. Currently the director of education, children’s services and leisure at Enfield Council, Mr Lewis has previously worked as a teacher and social worker.
In other words, far from someone who would bring a much-needed fresh perspective to the problem, Haringey’s new children’s director has been fished out from the same municipal pool of institutionalised mediocrity and outright failure.
There is much more detail at the link, should you be unfamiliar with the situation to which Ms. Phillips refers.
Government, in whatever country, time and place may be considered a watchdog. As long as it is kept within the bounds of a fenced yard, or chained to a fixed point, or somehow restrained in its influence and function to that which is absolutely necessary, all is well.
Problems arise when the beast is released (for whatever reason) and it finds that it no longer must wait to be fed and that there are no other restraints on its behavior. Instead, it demands it wherever and whenever it pleases.
I apologize if the preceding paragraphs seem a bit dramatic, but I fully believe that in UK we are seeing the result of not keeping the watchdog in check. Government is meddling in the very minutae of individual’s daily lives (and doing a very poor job of it), to the end that people are not helped but that government is perpetuated and expanded.
Let us take a lesson from our neighbors across the pond. It is time to keep the watchdog in check. If it has been getting out lately, it is time to build a fence, and quickly.