'Parisite' state needs reform: Carswell

Harwich MP Douglas Carswell has written the following piece for the ConservativeHome web site under the headline: “We are living in a parasite state which rewards us with sheer incompetence.

Harwich MP Douglas Carswell has written the following piece for the ConservativeHome web site under the headline: “We are living in a parasite state which rewards us with sheer incompetence.”

THE modern British state has many of the characteristics of a parasite; it grows and feeds off each of us. Far from nurturing, it infantilises us and stifles society.

Ever more tax is collected from us to pay for the livelihoods of remote officials whose sole purpose is to tell us how to live our lives. Tax is not simply too high, but at times seems designed to punish those who try to do the right thing.

Savers, taxed once on their income, must pay tax on their prudence. Older folk, forced to pay for their long term care, find virtue penalised and a lifetime's thrift ignored. And after all that income tax, national insurance, road tax, VAT, license fee, petrol tax, what's left over? For many families, little more than pocket money.

Neither friend nor “facilitator,”, what does the parasite state do for us in return?

It rewards us with sheer incompetence. Just scan today's newspapers; a UK Border Agency (annual budget over �1,000 million) that's failed to secure our borders. A Financial Services Authority (annual budget �280 million) that failed to oversee the banks. Or a Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (annual budget �120 million) that messed up the exam system.

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We are monumentally misgoverned - and forced to pay a fortune for the privilege.

The parasite state doesn't simply fail to do what it should. It often ends up doing the precise opposite. Consider the Association of Police Authorities - slogan “Giving people a say in policing” - which lobbies to prevent people from having any direct say. Or a National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which stops patients from accessing the best medicines.

And all the while, the parasite state strips us of the ability to decide things for ourselves. Just ask local residents who've ever tried to oppose a planning development.

And what happens when, inevitably, officials can no longer conceal their blunders? When their army of PRs are unable to hide the crushing incompetence? Then we hear that familiar cry; "We did our best. We're not to blame. We followed best practice".

What spawned this parasite state? With our legislature supine and spineless, there's been no one to hold those with executive power to account. No one to veto the grandiose schemes and interventionist follies of ministers and officials.

We need more than a change of ministers. We need a Commons that answers to the electorate, rather than to whips. A Commons with the power to elect its own Speaker and committee chairmen, free from the party machines. A legislature with the power to veto government expenditure and appointments. We need radical reform at Westminster.

Douglas Carswell MPConservativeHome