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The Government is simply perpetuating the status quo in economic policy and on Whitehall, argues Douglas Carswell MP

By Matthew Barrett
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CARSWELL DOUGLASDouglas Carswell MP has launched an attack on the Government's policies because, he says, they simply perpetutate the status quo. Writing for Prospect magazine, Mr Carswell first attacks the economic policy he often likes to label "continuity Brown": 

"Far from trying anything bold or different, we have ended up with Continuity Brown, the macroeconomic setting virtually unchanged from when Gordon was at the helm. During the five years of this parliament the government will borrow more than Gordon Brown managed in 13 years. Just like under Brown, the Treasury has looked to monetary stimulus to produce growth, but ignored supply-side reform. “Unfunded” tax cuts continue to be ruled out, yet “unfunded” borrowing never seems to be."

One of Mr Carswell's causes in parliament has been the introduction of more localist and democratic methods to British politics - by championing the "recall" measure, for example, which would allow voters to kick out MPs they deem to have acted improperly during the parliamentary term. Mr Carswell is disappointed with the lack of progress on these issues:

"The idea of open primaries, whereby candidates to become MP would be chosen locally, rather than being imposed from outside, and which would have made MPs properly answerable to the electorate, has been quietly dropped. The proposal for a mechanism to allow the recall of MPs has been so mangled that if it goes ahead it will actually strengthen, rather than weaken, the executive’s control over parliament. ... Despite all the lip service paid to localism by the government, what has actually changed? Local councils have even less control over their finances than they did previously."

Mr Carswell ends on the Government's seeming capitulation to Whitehall insiders and vested interests. He says:

"If anything, the “Sir Humphreys” who run the civil service now have more say over public policy now than ever before. It is, I would argue, not only the constraints of coalition that explain the lack  of radicalism. It is also the influence of the Whitehall machine. ... Too often, ministers have acted as departmental spokesmen, ready to defend a status quo that does not work and drift along with Whitehall’s ingrained assumptions."


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