IN whose interest does the Government act? This may seem an odd question to pose about a government that secured a large democratic majority in the House of Commons on the back of its ‘One Nation’ mandate.
The answer must surely be that it governs in the interest of the population as a whole, reflecting its mandate, whilst protecting the freedoms and rights of individuals so painfully won over the centuries and which remain the backbone of the political system.
Sadly, this is the wrong answer, which is easy to demonstrate through the government’s reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.
If it were acting with that intent, it would be talking constantly about how it has been weighing up the balance between the acknowledged damage to the livelihoods and welfare of the people from the lockdown and action which might mitigate the spread of the virus.
It has never done that. Since the start, all its measures and all its talk have been about the virus and protecting the NHS. The fact that from quite an early stage, and certainly before the lockdown began, it has been clear that fewer than 1 per cent of the population would get seriously ill and that only a small fraction of those people would die from the disease, wasn’t a consideration either.
Yet the other 99 per cent is suffering badly from the lockdown, directly or indirectly, through the suspension of medical diagnoses and life-saving treatments, anxiety, isolation, income reduction, job losses and fear of all these. That is a long list which is getting longer as the implications of the lockdown become clear.
It must therefore be concluded that the government acted in the interest of others. It did. It became owned by dubious disease modellers from academia, public health and NHS leaders, and by the news media whose opprobrium it fears most. It faced these interests up close and every day, whereas the interests of most people were distant and ignored because they could be.
If this can happen in such a vital and all-pervasive national crisis as Covid-19, it must be common in other government decisions. It is.
There are many examples but these are two major ones:
No account was taken of the benefit of alternative mass transport infrastructure spending rather than the HS2 line from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, which are already well served from the capital. The cost is now upwards of £100billion, more than 15 per cent of the government’s annual total expenditure. Local services and road improvements are a much greater priority for the public. HS2, though, is a project of great interest to a small number of infrastructure companies and vain politicians.
No account is being taken of the exploding cost of electricity for poor families due to hidden renewable subsidies being passed on in bills to the tune of £9billion or £340 per household per year. Some rich landowners and the renewables companies are benefiting enormously. The Green Party has been standing in elections on this agenda for years and wins less than 3 per cent of the vote. Yet its expensive and unpopular policies are repeatedly introduced, often with minimal scrutiny.
The disregard for the majority is not limited to health and economic welfare. The government tacitly supports the Black Lives Matter campaign which is run by an avowedly revolutionary communist movement with a race-based, anti-white people and anti-nuclear family creed clearly expressed in its public literature.
The public’s main sympathy with its campaign comes through revulsion at the cruel death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police and similar incidents in the past. There is no evidence that it supports the BLM’s aggressive political agenda, yet the government is afraid to stand with the majority against that agenda because of its terror of the media reaction if it did so.
Minority views are in control of the policy agenda of government. An assessment of the interests of the majority does not take place. The public does not count.
Groups which can lobby government successfully and get the media companies and other big corporations on their side are successful.
The only way to change this is to introduce an assessment and accountability system which genuinely includes the interests of the public as a whole, because the few who are looking after its interests have remarkably little influence.