Lets tackle gangs


Britain's newspapers this week report that the government is going to take on gangs. Well, they had to say something: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had to give a speech to the Police Federation, and since she's not going to honour their pay agreement, they were in a nasty mood. So getting tough on young thugs was something that might cheer them up and deflect a bit of flack. Who says policy is made for rational reasons.

Mind you, there are a number of slightly older gangs that the government could usefully tackle. Like the legal profession, for example, which succeeds in extorting vast amounts of cash from their clients, making it impossible for people to get real justice these days, unless they are very rich (or very poor and eligible for Legal Aid). By restricting the supply of lawyers, they can charge what they like. And the fact that the courts are a state monopoly doesn't help either. Sure, you can go to arbitration on contract disputes. But if someone owes you money, for example, you don't have much choice.

Doctors are another gang that should be tackled. Again, they decide how many people should qualify as doctors. So they don't go out of their way to pass too many. And again, the medical system is a state monopoly. People might not have to pay cash, but they certainly do pay in terms of reduced access, poor service, and lower recovery and survival rates than in many other advanced countries (and some non-advanced ones).

I could go on. There's the Health and Safety gang, which cancels village duck races and stops firemen from using ladders. And another shady group, known as the Quangocracy, which has all sorts of powers to regulate and fine people, without any democratic control. Not to mention the Westminster Gang itself, which is adept and robbing ordinary people in order to line the pockets of their own supporters.