Late last week I found myself stuck in Christmas traffic, taking almost 45 minutes to get home from the Lisburn Road. Fortunately I was able to distract myself by listening to a debate on the radio about the upcoming water charges in Northern Ireland. For reasons that are already known to some, and will shortly be completely public, I haven’t really bothered to keep myself informed on this front, and so don’t really have any strong opinions on the matter.
However, I do still have strong opinions on the role of government in general, and was astounded at one point by the complete bizarreness of the argument being put forward by a representative of the Consumer Council, who apparently successfully fought a High Court action against the government over the manner in which the charges were being introduced. She didn’t really provide much detail on this, but in general I’m all for keeping the government in check. But she then went on to say that there needed to be much more consultation and research and the like into this whole area, and that the costs of this should be borne by the government, not by the public.
In an even more concerning twist, no-one challenged this logic at all. I still have no idea where she believes the government’s money actually comes from. This is all part of a very disturbing trend where the government is no longer seen as drawn from, working for, and paid by the public, and thus our servants, but has instead somehow switched to the opposite view, where they are in total control of the country and we are merely their servants (or, at current tax rates, well on the way to becoming their slaves).
At EuroFoo a few years ago Stefan Magdalinski explained that when they were about to launch the wonderful “They Work For You”, there was some hesitation that the name would prove too provocative. However it was felt that the name could serve as a powerful reminder of just where the balance of power actually lies. If only more people would actually believe it …