Britain’s technocrats triumph

In: Uncategorized

2 Dec 2011

It is not just within the eurozone that technocratic rulers are coming to the fore (see Frank Furedi’s essay in spiked on this trend). The same trend is apparent in Britain.

In yesterday’s Financial Times the newspaper’s economics editor, Chris Giles, made the point that he:

“was struck by the triumph of the technocrats in Britain. He might not be sitting on the green benches of the House of Commons, but the influence of Robert Chote, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, over UK fiscal policy is at least as strong as that of Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos, the technocratic prime ministers of Italy and Greece.

“Mr Chote’s downbeat forecast was sufficient for the coalition government to announce two more years of austerity, proving that Mr Osborne’s creation has teeth even though it is little over a year old. The chancellor’s obedient response helped underpin the credibility of Britain’s fiscal policy, surely good news in these difficult times.”

Of course most Britain’s have probably not even heard of Chote but that underlines the point even more. An unelected and faceless bureaucrat has huge influence over decisions that affect many people’s lives. Giles obviously welcomes this development but anyone who believes in democracy should not.

There are many other examples Chote could have given. The way this government and its Labour predecessor have ceded power to the governor of the Bank of England is perhaps the most obvious.

Sean Collins has made a similar point on the rise of the technocrats in America on his American Situation blog.