At the beginning of January 2021, it became front-page news that excess bureaucracy has been blocking the process of enlisting people to administer the COVID vaccine. The Times of 2 January: ‚’plans for former GPs, surgeons, physicians and nurses to assist in vaccinating…. have faced…. ‚’dispiriting levels of red tape‚’. A checklist of 21 different areas of qualification was reported. This checklist required hours of work for applicants to complete. Today, 9 January, the Times interviews the Oxford professor Sir John Bell: “…what worries him is that the bureaucracy of the NHS might thwart the vaccine programme”.
On 3 January Boris Johnson said that the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock ‚’is taking steps to get rid of that pointless bureaucracy‚’.
But the question is: how did over-bureaucracy arise? It is not new; and COVID is not the only thing it affects. A frequent complaint about membership of the EC/EU was that it imposed over-regulation.
But the late Christopher Booker strongly made the point that the EC/EU was only half the problem.
Over-zealous bureaucrats within the UK were equally to blame. They would enact scores of pages of regulation to implement an EC/EU directive, while other member states would be content with half a dozen.
Why? Many years ago, the late R.W.M.Dias, of Magdalene College Cambridge, observed that Roman law, once vigorous, stagnated into over-regulation as the Roman Empire declined. Is it now happening because Britain is in decline?
Reversing bureaucracy would bring a wide range of benefits. It would move us back to being the innovative country that we have historically been. It would greatly benefit commerce and industry, and help our economy to be competitive. And, if Brexit does actually free us to make our own regulations, now is the time to do it.
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