Byline: SIMON HEFFER
WE'RE all supposed to be delighted that Gordon Brown is promising huge increases in public spending, throwing money at our benighted public services in the hope of making them better.
After horror stories about old ladies spending days on hospital trolleys, shortages of policemen and schools without teachers, the land of milk and honey is just round the corner.
Actually, it isn't. No amount of money will improve public services unless their structures are modernised, they are run more efficiently and they become more flexible, less centralised and more responsive to the public's needs.
Mr Brown isn't promising any of that.
As a socialist, he prefers the rigidities of the socialist state. They allow him to stay in control. They also provide millions of jobs for Labour's core voters in the public service unions. And in socialist public services, the employees are more important than the public they're supposed to serve.
That is why the extra money will provide so little for those who need to be cured, or taught or protected from criminals, and so many more jobs for the public sector boys (and girls).
And make no mistake: this explosion in the unproductive sectors of our economy at the expense of the productive ones will send taxes soaring, stoke up inflation and interest rates, and suffocate enterprise.
Mr Brown knows this, which is why he is having to borrow so much. If things were really going as well as he says, he wouldn't have to spend on the nevernever-The economy is suffering as a result of his wastefulness, and he will either have to go deeply into debt or ratchet up taxes. With an election a year away, it has to be the former. Once that election is over, middle Britain will suffer a tremendous and sustained assault on its wallets. And public services will not be substantially better at all.
As far as Mr Brown is concerned, taxpayers' money is his money to do with as he likes. It isn't: it's ours. He has a duty to spend it responsibly, and to spend as little of it as possible. In both duties, he fails.
THE TRAGEDY is that there used to be a debate in Britain about whether high taxation and state spending was the way forward, or whether taxes should be low and families allowed the freedom to spend their money more wisely than any civil servant.
That debate has ended. Mr Brown's intellectual arrogance brooks no mention of it. And the Tory Party is terrified of the accusation that it will start cutting the public sector, so says little or nothing.
The Leader of the Opposition, who should have been on the airwaves endlessly condemning this wicked exploitation of the taxpayer, is, instead, addressing a media conference at a top Mexican resort.
The Tories aren't on the same playing field as the Government in the debate about the economy. Why aren't they standing up for taxpayers?
Why aren't they arguing that, with structural reforms and rationalisation of nonessential staff, spending and taxes could be cut and we would still have better services?
This has been a great week for Mr Brown. It has been a depressing week for the taxpayer. …