Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Everybody resigns shock

A good day for those who complain that no one ever resigns these days. Doug Smith has resigned as head of the Child Support Agency and Jonathan Ford has resigned as head of the National Assessment Agency.

Both agencies were created by central government to take on responsibility for matters that have traditionally been the concern of autonomous institutions - the courts and schools respectively - and both have failed.

Whatever the faults of the individuals involved, it is hard to believe that this is entirely a coincidence. The socialist belief that progress consists in more and more aspects of society being taken over by the state has influenced many Liberals, but it is time that it was challenged more consistently.

The question is not just whether it is desirable for the state to run so many things: it is whether it is possible for it do so with any reasonable degree of efficiency.

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