Tuesday 29 May 2012

U-turns are healthy

I was walking down the street just yesterday lunchtime past a nice looking ice cream van. I went to queue up and then after a minute or too thought about my ever expanding waistline and decided to walk away.

However, if the opposition party were spinning against me as they are against the Government today it would look something like this:

 "A truly terrible decision, that has left one voter unhappy and without sustenance, whilst at the same time denying a critical retail sale, without which the Ice Cream van owner may very well soon to be out of business. As usual, a typically selfish and unreasonable decision and why-oh-why cannot a decision just be made and followed through for once - changing ones' mind all the time is a sign of abject weakness"

In another example which is current and slightly more important than the minutiae of hot fast food, the German government is not of U-turning on any part of its European fiscal and monetary policy. As things stand this is going to cause a major global economic catastrophe. That does not seem very good, but a U-turn won't look good for Merkel so she is not going to do it - an exhibition of Thatcher like qualities perhaps?

My point is that bad decisions need to be turned around and most often the best thing to do it act on it and no see it through in a pig-headed I am always right manner.

Much hay is made about u-turns, but I personally have always worked well with people who's minds are open to convincing rather than those who are stubborn. Stubborn is sometimes right when the person's idea is right, like, say Churchill. This though is rare in my experience, but this kind of thinking is happily picked up in the media as showing strength, with weakness attributed to any U-turn. Which is a shame, but there we are.

Anyway, its's a nice hot day today, so aI am off to buy an ice cream...


Anonymous said...

Whilst there is nothing wrong with the occasional U-turn when you've plainly made an error, but when you've made a habit of them in just over two years of what can be, very loosely, described as governing the nation it begs the question of if you're actually any good at the job.

The answer would appear to be 'no.'

Maybe it's just bad luck, Blair wasn't particularly great in his first term but at least was in bed with the press, and whilst having an idiot for a chancellor too, at least Brown didn't look like he was constantly very pleased with himself.

Cameron has landed himself in the midst of terrible economic times, the media/state love-in falling apart and a sidekick more punchable than John Terry mid-coitus with your wife. Plus the small matter of being somewhat incompetent.

Cameron's rise to power has been much like a eunuch's pursuit of a women, once achieved it becomes apparent one party hasn't the necessary equipment to satisfy the other leaving one back-pedalling and the other disappointed.

And when you look at the Miliband/Balls alternative, suddenly the prospect of an asteroid hitting the nation becomes pretty enticing.

Bill Quango MP said...

Agree with Anon.
The number of u-turns is astonishing.
And they don't seem to be getting any better at government either.

Blair squandered his first term, through fear of making a mistake.

Cameron won't get a second chance if he continues to make so many mistakes.

Why wasn't the budget stress tested in a media rather than financial setting?
So we know the treasury was desperate to find the few remaining areas in which Draconian taxation might not already have been levied.
Naturally, after the reign of the supreme tax taker, there was very little left.

I expect that Brown had already looked at caravans and pasties. But someone, somewhere, a media type SpAd, had pointed out that the backlash from taxing the nations favourite van man snack wouldn't be worth the few 10's of millions they obtained.
I doubt that would have been enough to stop the clunking one, but when also told there were very marginal seats in Bristol, a key target for Labour, and that the CEO of a large baked produce company was considering a sizeable donation, then the idea would have been dropped an easier cash grab sought.

This government does seem to create its own U-Turns.

Of course there is nothing wrong with retreat. But to charge headlong into the enemies cannon in the first place and having taken heavy casualties to withdraw to the starting position is not a U-Turn.

Its a defeat..

Anonymous said...

Has he really made so many mistakes?

I would characterise this as the usual BBC Leftie crusade against a sitting Tory government. This time the BBC is joined by the right that consider Cameron should be getting out of the EU. It's all very tiresome, having seen this flagrant breach of democratic principles far too many times now.

Take the pasty tax. In principle it is correct - other purveyors of hot food have to pay VAT so why not Greggs, the nations biggest fast-food outlet? However, since many people would rather not pay tax on their pasties however reasonable it might be, the media has crucified Cameron over this and he's decided to back down. Now the laughable anamoly that gives Greggs an unfair advantage in the marketplace is allowed to continue and the IR loses out on some much needed extra income.

I'm a UKIP voter and even I'm beginning to feel sorry for the appalling undemocratic campaign being waged against the coalition by the BBC and the press. Sadly I don't suppose the Levenson inquiry will do anything to prevent the media spoonfeeding people with their opinions even though it has been clear since the time of the Nazis just how dangerous it is. The media has decided to bring down this government one seat at a time, just as it did with John Major's government. It makes me feel sick inside.

Anonymous said...

@BQ - a smarter move would have been for a unifying of VAT rates into a single rate of around 10%, and a more universal application of it. Issues like the increase in fuel costs could have been combated with additions to the winter fuel bonus and the like.

It could easily have been spun positively - no more Jaffa Cake cases, part of cutting the HMRC budget (a department the public are unlikely to empathize with), boosting the High Street...

People are generally unaware of what is and isn't VATable, and Labour had been calling for a VAT cut, so this would have neatly made attacking it difficult whilst increasing tax take at the same time as making it look like a tax cut.

Osborne's issue, from what I can see, is that he likes 'clever' solutions - which end up as eggs on faces, and expensive eggs at that. Sometimes when faced with a Gordian knot, you take the Alexandrian solution - Osborne would rather try to unpick it with his fingers than reach for the blade.

Bill Quango MP said...

See anon 12:33 - What's wrong with that? It raises revenue, can be easily explained, and is easily spun as a benefit to hardworkingfamilies.

{It probably costs more than it raises though- but that's easily fixed by making the rate 15% or 13% or wherever the break is. There's more of a problem with the EU VAT harmonisation levels, but any row with the EU over making the UK pay higher taxes would only be media gold.
Osborne says hands off the British sausage..etc.

I still contend that the government is actually tackling too much. and its brightest and best are spread too thin. The volume of work is swamping the political machinery.

Add in the usual traps of wars, deaths, scandals, jealousies, and enemy opposition probes and raids and it leaves the government looking weak, divided, ineffective, incompetent and out of touch.

The coalition wasted its year one goodwil, when the public were prepared for real cuts and hardship, by saying it had cut, yet cutting nothing. Now it appears that the cuts are continuing for a second and third year, when in fact its all the same cuts.

Sort of like the Brown device of announcing every spending plan three or four times as if it was a new plan.
Only in reverse.

Anonymous said...

Why not just get rid of VAT? Complaining about Greggs getting an advantage misses the fact that the economies of scale apply to VAT and the guy in the van will be much harder hit.

VAT is rarely a so called "tax on consumption" while it actually gives an advantage to larger companies. This is why we're always hearing about possible changes to fairer corporation tax but nobody wants to touch unfair VAT.

But, of course, VAT mostly comes from the EU and Westminster doesn't have the power to do anything truly radical.

Timbo614 said...

I'm with BQ, and my comment last night on the pasties of the pretty lady below.

In the case of this government, I don't think U-turns are turning out too well, just too many!

Precedent is set: kick up a fuss, get the meedja on your side hey ho full steam criticism ahead. Nothing will be approved the press don't like.

Sorry but with this one (which is insignificant in the scheme of things) is just one too many.

Electro-Kevin said...

Yup. The number of U-turns gives the impression of indecision.

The tax will have to come from somewhere. At least there was a choice with how many pasties to eat. Looking at the nation's waistline I would say that a cut back wouldn't do us any harm.

Anonymous said...

After seeing Blair at Levinson, it occurred to me that he, and Boris, and very rare in politics. They are really clever and would usually have chosen to be banksters. Whereas the rest of the political animals are only there as they'd fail in any other career as they're so stupid.

Bill Quango MP said...

Us MPs are recruited from the highest ranks of the low fliers.

Budgie said...

This morning on Today (which I rarely listen to) I heard a (Tory-led) government spokesman (yes, it was a man, though in the interests of diversity "man" is a loose term which includes the gay-community) defending the government's austerity program. And the BBC man (diversity ditto) was attacking the apparently ruinous resultant 'austerity'!

How can an overspend of £100 billion be austerity? The government cannot U turn on this because it is going in the opposite direction already.