It’s madness. Our ruling class is a third the size of the army

By Quentin Letts

Last updated at 5:12 PM on 14th July 2009

Try to imagine 45 Houses of Commons. Not a pleasant thought, is it?

Multiply by 45 times all that conceit and deceit. All those lies, all that bureaucracy, all those wriggling, egotistical career plans.

Forty-five Commons Chambers full of hot-aired meddlers; 45 sets of expenses claims!

Overrun: Our country now has 29,000 professional politicians, enough to fill 45 Commons Chambers

It is, you will surely agree, a nightmarish prospect, the sort of thing that happens only in the small hours when you have dined too heavily on blue cheese and Lebanese red wine.

The terrible news yesterday, however, was that this vision is more than a nightmare. It is the reality.

Our country now has 29,000 professional politicians – enough, as I say, to fill 45 Commons Chambers.

Alongside MPs, Peers and MEPs, the figure also includes the part-time Scottish Parliament and those assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland which are so easily mistaken for the call centres of an insurance company.

All hang off the taxpayer like a cave full of vampire bats.

Then there is all that cash paid to the Official Opposition known as ‘short’ money, to help it hire research assistants – several millions of pounds a year, given chiefly to make the Opposition feel important.

The 29,000 figure also includes county and district councillors, many of whom are paid salaries if they are appointed to a specific post.

Those election-night tears when they lose office are caused by more than dented pride.

Last, we have the size and cost of the London mayoralty and the capital’s anonymous assembly.

It sits in a South London building known to locals as ‘The Testicle’, but you would need the plural of that word to sum up the quality of its debates.

Was ever a kingdom so overwhelmed by rulers? At every turn, under every toadstool, politicos lurk.

It explains a lot. It explains why business is so overloaded by regulations. The one thing politicians are good at is creating rules. It also explains why our taxes are so high. Most of this lot are on stonking pensions.

One report yesterday suggested that the number of politicians has increased tenfold on the figure 30 years ago – when we still had a few last blasts of Empire under our control.

Look back 100 years and you find that we once ran entire continents with a handful of parliamentary undersecretaries answering to a Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Now, we have Women’s Ministers, Ministers for Equality, Ministers for Job Centres, Ministers for individual regions of England. The time-wasting is unbelievable. And the boredom.

Does the Greater London Assembly have debates worthy of its sizable cost?
Read Chris Mullin’s diaries and you will be struck by how little politicians have to do. And Mullin was one of the more successful ones.

Much of that increase in personnel has come in the past 12 years, since New Labour and its big-state friends won power.

Blair dispensed political patronage like a dinner lady ladling out Bisto. He cared little for the costs – or about the calibre of the people he recruited to public life.

All Blair understood was that creating peers of the realm and setting up new political bodies can give a Prime Minister a wonderful short-term buzz.

It creates loyalists and it gives him something to say when he is put in a tight spot by an interviewer.

He can say: ‘This is why we set up the assembly.’ The moment of political danger has passed, but the after-effects for the rest of us are ruinous.

One of the most depressing things as a parliamentary sketchwriter during the Blair years was to witness the sheer mediocrity, or worse, of our elected politicians.

Some of these people very plainly would have struggled to find work elsewhere.
And for all the initial excitement about ‘Blair’s Babes’, many of them were not up to the task. They could not make speeches without first consulting their Whips.

They could not ask parliamentary questions without reading them off prompt cards.
Deplorably few of our 29,000 politicians have had much experience of ‘real life’ (i.e. non-political life).

They are political professionals, drawn from the trade unions or from the think-tanks. They have not run businesses or toiled on factory floors.

Few of them had been headteachers or served in the police or Armed forces. They are political careerists, bent on their own job security. That makes for a rotten democracy.

If looking for culprits in all this you can do worse than finger the late Harold Wilson. He was responsible for introducing Short money, named after his colleague Edward Short.

It is sometimes said he thought it up as a thank you to the Tories, who had given him a state-supplied limousine when he had just lost power and was seen queuing for a taxi.

Wilson is the man who created special advisers, those slippery eels who inhabit the mudflats between elected politics and Whitehall. There are now some 80 slithering around Westminster.

The Government is expected to disclose their identity and the cost of hiring them in a written parliamentary statement next week.

At fault? Harold Wilson is the man who created special advisers, some 80 are now slithering around Westminster

It happens this way every year. The cost of the special advisers is reported on the very day the Commons breaks up for its summer recess, along with hundreds of other Government statistics.

This is a practice known by one of the most infamous of Labour’s special advisers, Jo Moore, as ‘burying bad news’. It is the sort of disreputable habit at which special advisers excel.

For we poor schmucks who pay taxes, the question is: how do we get rid of all these politicians? Lambs will never vote for Easter lunch, will they?

We could probably cut the number of ministers by a third without any inconvenience. The number of MPs in the Commons should also be chopped by, I would say, 200.

David Cameron has flirted with this idea, but as yet has given no firm manifesto commitment. We must starting demanding one.

Peers die off at a reasonable rate but we could offer ‘get lost’ payments of, say, £15,000 to those who no longer want to attend the Upper House.

The Scots are likely to become agitated at any suggestion of closing their parliament, but they should be made to pay for it through local taxes.

The Northern Irish assembly is hard to scrap, but the Welsh assembly is expendable, as is the London one.

We can also demand, firmly, that there be no more special advisers.

After all, a country in which the professional political class is a third as large as the Army is a country which has lost grip of its values.

It is also a country in which that political elite is running amok, like a crowd of machete-wielding Malays.

It is a country in which the declining number of people who pay taxes to support this vast apparat will eventually buckle and say: ‘Sorry, we can continue with this arrangement no more.’

So, here is an issue to which the New Parliament, when it eventually gathers after the next General Election, must apply itself urgently.

Politicians who agree to put their own kind out of work would be worthy of our vote.

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“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821),

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‘The arrogance and hubris of corrupt politicians
will be responsible for every drop of blood spilt
in the Wars of Disassociation, if Britain does not
leave the EU.

The ugly, centralised, undemocratic supra national policies being imposed by the centralised and largely unelected decisionmakers of The EU for alien aims, ailien values and to suit alien needs stand every possibility of creating 200,000,000 deaths across EUrope as a result of the blind arrogance and hubris of the idiologues in the central dictatorship, and their economic illiteracy marching hand in glove with the idiocy of The CAP & The CFP – both policies which deliver bills, destroy lives and denude food stocks.

The EU, due to the political idiocy and corruption of its undemocratic leaders, is now a net importer of food, no longer able to feed itself and with a decreasing range of over priced goods of little use to the rest of the world to sell with which to counter the net financial drain of endless imports.

British Politicians with pens and treachery, in pursuit
of their own agenda and greed, have done more
damage to the liberty, freedoms, rights and democracy
of the British peoples than any army in over 1,000 years.

The disastrous effects of British politicians selling Britain
into the thrall of foreign rule by the EU for their own
personal rewards has damaged the well-being of Britain
more than the armies of Hitler
and the Franco – German – Italian axis of 1939 – 1945.

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