Douglas Carswell waxes lyrical over these plans, writing that "David Cameron today announces plans to give people a legal right to choose what public services they get. He promises to end “the closed state monopoly where central government decides what you get, and how you get it" - an announcement, he writes, that has sent him off to his Easter recess with a spring in his step. He also writes that at the moment we have very little say over how government spends all the money we give it, or what they buy on our behalf.
During a recent, brief, conversation with Daniel Hannan I took the opportunity to query whether his vision of Direct Democracy - as outlined in "The Plan", the tome he co-authored with Douglas Carswell - meant that central government would only be responsible for a few matters, such as foreign affairs and defence, with the remainder, such as law & order, health and education, being devolved to local authorities. This he agreed was the case, making the point that local authorities would be the equivalent of Swiss Cantons.
Now Hannan's statement must be one with which Carswell agrees, which makes the latter's exultation with Cameron's statement a tad bewildering. I fail to see how providing a choice over which hospital or school we get to use is empowerment of the people, when Cameron and his government have just spent a few bruising weeks getting their proposals for how the NHS will be managed, said proposals set by central government, and which will be imposed on us all. The NHS debacle is surely no more than a continuation of the closed state monopoly where central government decides what you get, and how you get it - yet another example of a Cameron policy which does not do what it says on the tin. Where was the choice in that for the people - and it is surely a process which is a complete anathema to Carswell's core beliefs in Direct Democracy.
Another matter where I consider Carswell is being a tad disingenuous is his statement that we have very little say over how government spends all the money we give it, or what they buy on our behalf. The truth of the matter is that we do not give any money to government, it is extracted from us. We do not have very little say - we have no say.
Ever since my youth I have been an aficionado of westerns which at that time mainly involved cowboys and indians. From that era I can but paraphrase, where Cameron, Carswell and Hannan are concerned:
Blue man speak with forked tongue.