It's a fairly bald appeal for government spending, isn't it?

The argument in favour of government doing things is that if all the clever people are taken into government and given the societal pot to spend then things will be better. Those of us who have met politicians and bureaucrats will want to ponder the intellectual firepower gathered of course. But even then it never does quite seem to work out that way. This is why:

Invest billions to restore pride in overlooked communities after Brexit and reap 'electoral dividends', Joseph Rowntree Foundation tells Boris

Spend lots and lots of other peoples’ money on this group over here and they’ll vote for you!

Investing billions to "restore pride" in deprived communities after Brexit could reap "electoral dividends" for Boris Johnson's government, a left of centre thinktank says today.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said Labour and the Tories "need to focus on winning over low-income voters" in disadvantaged areas if they are going to form the next government".

Take money from one section of the population, give it to another, you’ll thereby buy the votes of the recipients of the cash.

Well, yes, obviously. But it is a usefully naked example of why this government thing doesn’t quite work out. The spending of the societal pot turns out not to be based upon efficiency, or even equity, grounds, but on how many votes can be bought with the least hissing of the geese.

We have long, here in Britain, made outright bribery for votes a crime. So much so that a candidate, in an election period, cannot stand a round of drinks on the basis that this might be purchasing support. It is also a long standing part of the Common Law that conspiracy to is equal to the act itself. Given that the JRF is nakedly suggesting the diversion of tax money to purchase votes, well, anyone think there’s a case there? Sadly, we don’t either, but perhaps there should be a case there.