Monday, November 12, 2007

Unsettled Contemplation

Today has been an important day in my life. One of those 'culmination' days when the blindingly obvious suddenly emerges from behind a cloud. Sometimes these things creep up on you like bowel cancer symptoms. I was just sitting there in Starbucks, eating a granola bar all on my own, gazing out over the bay, just chewing my cudd like an absent-minded bullock. It sort of hit me all at once. One of life's certainties just slipped down quietly into the water.

Today, I think I became a better Tory. Reading Janet Daley's column in the Telegraph only nailed down the way I was already thinking. Government and all the politicians and back up millions of officials (who cost millions of pounds) are not as important as I had previously thought . This great bureaucratic structure cannot deliver anything that maximises human benefit without the involvement of the private sector and/or the voluntary sector.

First meeting of the day involved the private sector 'care' provider I have just started doing a bit of work for. I realised I was thinking about how we could benefit people in need of care - without any thought of how it would 'appear' to others, or about how it would fit in with some policy or contribute to some target. I just wasn't thinking like a politician. And then I went to a meeting called by my very good friend Brynle Williams, where a group of us met to consider what 'Government' might do to mitigate the consequences of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak that, in all probability, Government itself visited upon the livestock industry of Britain. There were no answers. We were trapped by bureaucratic restraint. The industry has been far too controlled by politicians and not enough by the market for decades. It should be thinking more about how to look after itself.

Finally a meeting with Simon Hatch, Wales Manager of the Parkinson's Disease society. We were discussing a major donation to the Society that I have had an involvement with. Don't know yet whether I can blog on the detail of this. And it was just after the BBC had telephoned me about the will of a friend of mine who died recently. Hadyn left huge amounts to local organisations and cancer charities, which will have more impact in terms of delivering real benefit to people than most politicians ever do. You can read about this on the Mid Wales BBC online page. Its a special story and well worth a read. It all just makes you think about how we organise ourselves - when the mists of contemplation descend. Off to London tomorrow. I wonder whether I will still be quite so impressionable?


Anonymous said...

dont give up on politics glyn.

Anonymous said...

"the livestock industry has been far too controlled by government". surely you mean "far too cossetted"

David Cornock said...

Be careful, Glyn - London is a den of vice and inquity, and full of government. Drop in to the BBC for a coffee if the bright lights don't tempt you first.

Dylan Jones-Evans said...

Glyn - the veil has finally lifted...

Sorry for not returning your call but my old phone has gone kaput and I only got a replacement from vodafone today but minus my address book (including your no!) Give me a call to catch up.

Patriot said...


Please please do not drift back to the 'voluntary sector and private sector could do this so much better than the state' line. This is a fantasy. It is exactly how Victorian Britain ran where everyone had to be 'ever so grateful' for patchy un coordinated, hopelessly inadequate charitable help.

In my experience the private and voluntary sectors in care delivery are a cover for poor pay, poor conditions and inappropriate competitive behaviour.

Go and check sanddeff rhyferys for the terrible life the Danes get from their 'big state'.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I have no intention of giving up on politics - but its as well to understand the limits of what is acheivable.

Anon - So I mean controlled. We need to return in a sensible way to strengthening market influence. Not going to be easy because of hsitoric desire of governments across the world to protect home food production.

DC - Thanks for the coffee

dje - will be in touch.

Patriot - Fair point - but increasingly I believe that we have gone too far in believing the state has the answer to everything. And as far as the care services are concerned I just dont agree with you. There has to be separation between the provider and the regulator. My experience is different from yours. But even you will have been affected by what happened to the elderly patients in Maidstone a few weeks ago. If that had happened in the private sector, the guilty ones would have gone to jail - deservedly. And Sanddef is a fine man I'm sure - but I'm not sure he has reached the level of eminence you are according him. I will look though!

Montgomeryshire Witness said...

Everyone has a different view on the positive and negative aspects of politicians, the private and public sectors, charities and alike.

But they all have a part to play in life and the economy and, while some commentators with large egos find it best to constantly attack and just be negative about anything they don't see eye-to-eye with, we'd be far worse off without the diverse work of politicos, companies, governments, charities and alike.

Glyn Davies said...

mw - no problem with what you write. Where I do have a problem is when politicians condemn the private sector as being about profit as if its a dirty word. The private sector has to deliver or it does not survive. Neither does it survive without profit. The best arrangement is for government to regulate the delivery of services from the private sector in a competetive environment - always remembering that the cheapest is not the best value.