die belebende Bedenkung

They seldom deliberate

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The saga of delayed and failed rail electrification suggests British politicians and officials are more comfortable with talking than with deliberation (wrote Ian Jack).


[From the railways to the NHS – why can’t Britain think anything through?, Ian Jack, The Guardian, 22 July 2017]

In the context of general British incompetence, these railway difficulties amount to only a petty disaster. Towering above them come the examples of the poll tax, the serial reorganisations of the NHS, the Millennium Dome, and the failure of expensive new IT systems in government departments. As the political scientists Anthony King and Ivor Crewe noted in 2014 in their book, The Blunders of Our Governments, there was no letup in Britain’s propensity for the cock-up – if anything, it was getting worse. King and Crewe thought the features of the government system that made the country more blunder-prone included “parliament’s near irrelevance” and the absence in Whitehall of relevant skills, but also what they termed “a deficit of deliberation”.

They wrote: “British politicians meet, discuss, debate, manoeuvre, read submissions, read the newspapers, make speeches, answer questions, visit their constituencies, chair meetings and frequently give interviews, but they seldom deliberate.” They didn’t, in other words, take the time to weigh the claims against the evidence, to ask for more information, to reach out and consult other parties who knew more or would also be affected by the action that might be taken.


Written by beleben

July 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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