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Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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The growing power of the State

Posted by davidburbage on January 25, 2011

 My colleague Cllr Walters pointed out to me today, that in the 19th Century (he’s not that old, note) the only interaction that the ordinary citizen would have with the State would be if they used the post office.

 No police, no NHS, no income tax, no road tax, no VAT, no benefits, no European Directives, no petrol tax (no cars!), no landfill tax, no insurance tax, no national insurance, no state pension. . . . . the list goes on no doubt to include pretty much every modern day quango – and most taxes . . . .

I am told that the equivalent of the Ministry of Defence had an employ of 13 people that raised the army that fought the Napoleonic wars. Now, the  MOD employs 80,000, rivalling the size of the army itself.

 And yet, amazingly, with that dearth of interaction, tax and government between the citizen and their country, Britain had conquered a large part of the world.

I am not advocating a return to such a minimalist government, or an empire, but the point is that it is worth noting what UK plc achieved without big government.

We are proud to be a Big Society vanguard council because the principles that underpin the strength of communities are the same that built the strong Britain of old. The bureaucracy of modern government stifles innovation and independence to a significant degree, and the commitment to localism and the independence of communities is to be welcomed, and championed.


3 Responses to “The growing power of the State”

  1. Mr Phillips said

    Oh, those happy days of the 19th century. Child labour, malnutrition and rickets. And lets not forget a population that was mainly illiterate. But the best thing of all, I quote, “in 1841 that while mean life expectancy in Surrey was forty-five years, it was only thirty-seven in expectancy in London and twenty-six in Liverpool”. Halcyon days indeed.I thank you and you political brethren for trying so hard to turn the clock back.

  2. davidburbage said

    A typical leftie comment. I point out that I wasn’t advocating return to 19C but you ignore that and assume that I was trying to make it so.

    The point was, and is, that the growth of the public sector / state has coincided with a reduction in influence and capability. It wasn’t unsuccessful to privatise the telephone and water companies; even the Labour party haven’t thought it sensible to advocate a return to state ownership of these industries!

  3. Marc Green said

    What you do not articulate is what the level of state intervention should be. It was not a big state which has caused the recession but unfeterred free Market capitalism.
    Additionally innovation is also stifled by cartel capitalism evidenced by the monoplolistic utility companies which invest litle yet charge much so that they can increase “shareholder value”.
    Finally can I take it that your blog is another attempt to return to the Victorian social values loved by so many Tories and yet were repugnant to many great Victorians such as Charles Dickens?

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