Dear Dave - Show us some leadership

With the summer coming to an end, it is time for the Prime Minister to show some leadership and create a growth strategy instead of perpetuating the status quo

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Watch and learn, Dave
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Simon Miller
On 24 August 2012 13:10

Dear Dave,

Ah, it feels like only yesterday when I wrote to Georgie Boy urging him to put some conservatism back into the budget.

Like the weather, the political climate has got damper with the occasional burst of sunshine but generally very poor.

But why is this? What has gone wrong Dave? Well, as tempted as I am to blame Georgie, ultimately the buck stops with you. You are the Prime Minister that is overseeing more spending, zero growth and a downward spiral that doesn’t seem to have an ending.

How exactly are you borrowing more money than ever? Where are these vaunted cuts you proclaim are necessary?

You see the problem, Dave? There are no cuts. OK, so far no one has caught you with your trousers down – mainly because it doesn’t suit the narrative – but eventually some party girl will have her iPhone out.  

What we are seeing is that the Big Society is really more of the same – Big Government.

And you are adding to it.

Instead of getting rid of the dead wood, the unnecessary bureaucracy, the pointless positions, you are creating more and more bureaucracy with the elected police commissioners being the latest.

Now, I fully understand the concept of localised democratic decision making within a police service but you do know what is going to happen, don’t you?

Like Council chief executives, the commissioner will need an office, he will need staff, no doubt he will commission reports and all of this will cost money. And like councils, those that actually pay the bills will be fobbed off, told this is necessary, that the cost is justified. But is it?

Where is the bonfire of the quangos? It appears that every time there is a problem you set up yet another inquiry instead of having the balls to take responsibility.

Where is our relationship with the EU going? Every twist and turn of the eurocracy is pushing us further down a path that can only damage the national interest, or perhaps this is what you want?

Then there is the coalition. Being held to blackmail is not good government. Although slightly grubby politically, you’re right, there is absolutely no reason for that many MPs. Why haven’t you told him to get lost if he feels that strongly? Why haven’t you told the country that the Lib Dems were reneging on a manifesto commitment?

How strong is your commitment? Are you so wedded to power that you are willing to destroy your party to keep your greasy palms on the door of Number 10? Is this why you are reportedly going to offer state funding to the Lib Dems – further separating the political classes from those who should be their bosses?

In fact, where are your responsibilities?

You hide behind the blame game, bleating that this was Labour’s creation (granted), that this is down to the eurozone (partially) but you don’t seize the opportunities available, flip flopping your way through u-turn after u-turn creating policy that pleases no-one. 

And there are opportunities – even with your puppy partners around.

If the excellent Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith can get their policies up and running with help, yes help, from their coalition ministers, why can’t other departments?

Firstly, stop this nonsensical HS2. It is a vanity project that serves no-one. If it had run up the spine of the country by the M1, if it had utilised Japanese knowhow and created a link between the North and the South with the subsequent regeneration of nigh-abandoned towns and villages past the midlands, then it may have been worth it. But this? Egotistical nonsense; hiding behind greenwash and false claims to the economy.

Secondly, speaking of false claims to the economy, ditch this ridiculous green policy. It doesn’t work, will never work, and only brings benefits to the likes of your father-in-law and Tim Yeo. The greenwash is staining policy and will lead us down a path to energy rationing. Think nuclear; think thorium; we were once the world-leaders in thorium research, we can be again. Look at shale gas – can this be beneficial? Can it be done without long-term damage to its surrounding environment?

Thirdly, forget this third runway nonsense. Properly explore the Boris Island. There are many people that insist that the proposal can be done with no cost to the taxpayer, which is a thumb’s up for me if true. Everyone knows that Heathrow was the wrong place so why increase the problems for residents of West London?

Finally, and I return to a favourite theme of mine, stop spending our money. That’s right, it’s ours. Make proper cuts to the civil service, make efficiency a part and parcel of what’s left. Why do they need the Queen’s Birthday off anyway? Change the culture.

Make tax cuts and regulation-stripping a priority. Don’t give me that rot on unfunded tax cuts. If you are happy to go into the overdraft by £600m in July alone then tax cuts for the low-to-middle earners is a priority. What is politically wrong in taking, say, earners up to £12k out of the system? Oh and simplify the system. There should be no reason for the tax book to be the weight of a heavyweight judo player. All the tax and regulatory system does is create jobs for accountants, lawyers and officials – a self-perpetuating circle that benefits those inside but damages the UK as a whole.

These are things that as a Prime Minister, you should be pushing; these should be your growth priorities. With the global downturn, every ounce of fat we shed now will benefit us in the future.

You see Dave, I think you problem is that you are now addicted to government. It can happen to the best. But you must go cold-turkey and you must show that underneath the showman there is a leader.

Simon Miller is the Editor of Financial Risks Today. He tweets at @simontm71

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