Friday, April 24, 2009

Still working out how we got here...

Please don't blame anyone but Labour for the sheer enormity of this mess and the lost opportunity.

The most significant advances of the past century all piled into the last decade - and the start of this one, as ubiquitous telecoms and networking transformed the way we all interact.

No government started to begin to "get it" until around 1995 when the first dotcom boom heralded the arrival of globalisation and unprecedented transparency in trade - which filtered all the way down from multinationals to the bloke on the number 9 bus thanks to things like Google and eBay.

And it was Labour who have held power for pretty much the whole of the critical period, with a PM who was proud to boast he knew nothing about computers to the end. And it seems Gordon Brown is still using an early copy of Visicalc that gets the decimal point in the wrong place.

The Labour government wasted a lot of time faffing about with dogma and scared cows like devolution (of all the divisive and wasteful things!) , the House of Lords "reform", and of course, the vital issue of foxhunting. And they left BT to get away with what BT is best at doing - as little as possible for as much money as possible. Only a big effort in the past 4 years has moved broadband along at all - but the key opportunity to fibre the entire nation for £12bn back in 1997 was ignored.

And for 12 years now, a vast raft of legislation has been dreamed up by those who had never run a business employing anyone in their lives. This has piled the agony onto employers and made the creation and operation of small businesses increasingly stressful and unrewarding. It's no surprise that many are taking the excuse of the recession to trim their workforces at a time when everyone has been softened up to expect it.

Any way ahead starts with flushing the present administration down the toilet of history - and hoping that no "floaters" re-appear. We arrived at that crucial point where absolutely anything must be better, some time ago.

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