6 July 2010

Polly wants a cracker

The influence of the Guardian's Polly Toynbee among the political class is one of those uniquely British phenomena that defy rational analysis. Most of what she writes is warmed-over 60s bien pensanterie, mixed with the the arrogant ignorance of the real world that has always characterised the paternalistic upper-middle class socialist culture which she represents.

Credit where credit is due, however. She is spot-on about the utter folly of inflicting yet another reorganization of the NHS at a time when that deeply dysfunctional institution is also having to adjust to the abrupt end of Gordon Brown's spending orgy.

She fails to underline that the failure of Blair's "endless reorganizing" marks the exhaustion of the so-called managerialism that really kicked off with the Salmon Report of 1967, which embodied the arrogance of "scientific socialism" that was the conceit at the core of her class's astounding self-regard.

"British management" remains an oxymoron. No matter how much you fiddle with the organization charts, the dearth of managerial talent has led to greater and greater centralization, culminating in the box-ticking and target culture, and the vicious circle of ever more perverse incentives.

Toynbee's class has failed so utterly that if it had any collective sense of honour, it would commit mass suicide. 

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