Increasingly it’s clear that politicians are not the best people to be left in charge of anything.
The evidence is mounting. Pick a government department and survey the broken stones. I don’t blame the politicians – not entirely. Within the majority of the departments you find senior elected representatives placed as figureheads and expected to understand the terrain and complex briefs, frequently at the drop of a hat. And then they’re asked to make informed decisions for the good of the nation based on the briefest of bits of knowledge. When you strip it down, this is a crazy way to do business.
Some are smart and will work to find a way. But rushing against them are waves of party politics and the necessity to toe the line if they value their career. So good judgement is always either clouded or diluted.
Then there’s the Chris Grayling-style politician. This style is exemplified by Chris Grayling, a man for whom no major office of state is too big to mess up. He had a wrecking ball approach to the Ministry of Justice – remember the banning of books, cuts to legal aid, employment tribunal fees? So far, nine Grayling justice policies have been ditched or, in the case of the tribunal fees, found unlawful in the Supreme Court. Now Grayling is bringing the same ‘if it needs fixed, break it’ approach to his brief at the Department of Transport. He’s not, as he said himself, “a specialist in rail matters”.
Top 10 overcrowded trains ran 67-150% over their passenger capacity in 2017. It's the perfect storm of over-crowded & under-staffed. It's a national crisis but the Transport Sec says he's not a specialist in rail matters.
WE KNOW! Please appoint someone who is!#FailingGraylingpic.twitter.com/GegnddqJDA
— TSSA (@TSSAunion) July 26, 2018
Incidentally, just insert your own political bete noir in place of Grayling and list their failings. It’s a fun parlour game.