Friday, December 07, 2007

Iain Dale: More Bad Statistics and More Tory Cuts

Iain Dale is pimping his latest Telegraph Column: Bonfire of the Bureaucrats. Amongst other tosh and twaddle he claims:

If you employ hundreds of thousands of extra bureaucrats - as Gordon Brown has - do not be surprised if they come up with hundred of thousands of extra regulations. It's what bureaucrats do. The only way to stop them is to get rid of them.

But where does he get his statistics from? Is he perchance in a careless muddle between bureaucrats in bureaus and public sector workers at large - police, doctors, nurses, prison officers and so on?

100s of 000s of extra bureaucrats? Last time I looked Gordon Brown was in deep trouble with Unions over his insistence on cutting around 100,000 jobs in bureaucracy i.e. 20% of the national civil service.

It is also worth noting that over the last 10 years or so the proportion of the total headcount in such jobs who are part time has increased very considerably (chart one) meaning total hours are dropping even more than the numbers and it looks like there are more flexible jobs available to women in the workforce. Though there are other ways to dice and slice that statistic.

Deliciously a Japanese paper I found with two minutes search shows that of five major OECD nations surveyed in 2000 only Japan had a lower level of non military public service workers per head of population (chart two). The United States of America, France and Germany were actually running ahead of us. Though Bush may well have done some damage there.

At local government level more and more work is of course being carried out by private and voluntary sector workers. The trend there is almost certainly also downwards.

So we must assume that Iain's bold statement of Gordon Brown bringing on 100s of 000s of extra "bureacrats" is actually based on a totalling of more police, more teachers. more doctors, more nurses, more of this that and the other direct public service providers? Afforded in part by cutting bureacrats!

Bureaucrat numbers are now falling from a total of around 500,000 in the civil service towards a target of around 400,000. They have certainly not risen even before this process by the 100s of 000s claimed. Ridiculous!

An anonymous comment at Iain's suggests CCHQ would be annoyed. Iain shouldn't frighten the horses by telling the truth. Conservative Central HQ might instead be worried that rather than telling the truth and frightening the horses Iain would speak a load of vague unresearched generalisations and ideologically driven tosh?

But then again that is of course their stock in trade.


Newmania said...

That is quite interesting but if you are talking about actual civil servants that it is only a small part of the public sector bureaucracy.
The problem is that , for example education of crime are not performing very well and yet huge amounts of cash have been thrown at them leaving us in debt ...etc.

If it has gone on "coal face workers" , then they must be terminally idle or badly run. This is in a fact the "anecdotal " evidence that people repeat hence the unpopularity of the government .

I am not as inpresed as you with statistics anyway having some idea how they can be mispresented. What I hear everyday counts a lot for me . Anecdotal you might say

Chris Paul said...

Fair enough Newmania. Though perhaps you'll agree that it is disappointing for such an important blogger and journalist as Iain to mix up the statistics to this extent.

The only way to cut these 100s of 000s of jobs as he diagnoses would be to cut coal face jobs.

That is the fear of the public about the Tories and it seems that fear is well-founded. Of course "pen pushers" are not so well regarded as nurses and teachers but mixing the two types up is a bit sad.

Iain Dale said...

So one minute I am a CCHQ mouthpiece and the next minute I speak twaddle which they will be upset over. Make up your mind.
So you are really saying that the public sector has contracted under Labour. Get real.

Chris Paul said...

Iain: You say these extra "bureacrats" must be cut but it turns out that they are NOT bureaucrats - already being cut back by 20% - but are instead front line public service workers like doctors, nurses, prison officers, police, teachers.

You are recommending cutting these jobs. But covering that by disparaging them as bureaucrats.

You get real yourself. Don't you ever fact check? Or if you did why the propaganda?

Evan Price said...

The dramatic increase in Government employment has not simply been an increase in the number of frontline staff ...

The table that you choose to use from Japan is dated 2000 data - of course, the problem with using data from different periods is that they don't match and do not present fair comparisons. An additional problem with using data from 2000 is that the Government had only just started increasing expenditure ... after a period of self impoed austerity from 1997 - and the vast increase in employment had not begun.

A difficulty for my party is the accusation that because we want to cut the state down we will have to choose which doctors, nurses, teachers etc we want to get rid of ... the problem with this argument is that it represents a false choice. There are many things currently done that we want not to do - ID cards is an example, some aspects of what is done by LEAs are another. By not doing them, we will avoid employing people to work in departments dealing with those things - hence we can reduce the size of the state without actually reducing frontline staff or services that we all believe need to be supported.

Just because the merger of HM C&E with MH Revenue was conducted with such speed and ineptitude that problems have arisen as a result, it does not mean that we would have conducted such a merger at all or in the manner conceived by New Labour with its small cabal of decision makers.