Today’s newspapers (Sunday) are confirming what we reported on Friday - the report from Sir Philip Green on Government spend is due tomorrow.
But I noticed an incredible comment in the Telegraph -
“The coalition would now impose “Stalinist” controls on public sector spending, Mr Maude was reported as saying”.
If he really said that, and note that it is only a ‘reported as saying’, he may live to regret it! As well as the strange use of a communist dictator and mass-murderer as a role model by a Conservative Minister, and although history isn’t my strong point, I don’t think Stalin’s economic policy was a huge success..
And there is a serious point here. In a procurement context, what makes Mr Maude think he can dictate from the centre what needs to be bought in every Department, Agency or other government body, across every part of the country? I’m all for some greater control on spend and aggregation of demand across Government, but we need to have a sense of proportion here and what will actually work. If he really does impose ‘Stalinist’ controls, then there is a real possibility we will end up with Stalinist outcomes.
(PS A Conservative party member of my acquaintance just said to me, “isn’t this the opposite of Conservatism – and of what Cameron is going on about – that the centre doesn’t always know best”?)