From the TUC

Is there more to life than market forces?

23 Aug 2010, by in Politics, Public services

The Guardian tells us today that Matthew Elliot of the TaxPayer’s Alliance is to head up the campaign for a no vote in next May’s referendum on the Alternative Vote.

The TUC has no policy either way on AV as yet, though we were asked to stimulate a debate on electoral reform at our last Congress. I suspect that this announcement is unlikely to aid the no campaign in unions.

But what struck me in the article was this enconium from Conservative peer, Rodney Leach – who as Wikipedia tells us is “chairman of the eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe and a noted climate change sceptic.

What I like about Matthew is that he’s not a gun for hire. He’s that rare combination of someone who not only believes passionately in what he’s fighting for, but is also an extremely successful campaigner. Campaigning against the ‘alternative vote’ system is a natural extension of his fight for greater accountability and transparency in politics.”

But shouldn’t he be “a gun for hire”?  Isn’t this how markets are meant to work?

It’s a small step from this view to recognising a “public service ethos” in public sector staff that might be hit by privatisation and contracting out that treats them purely as “guns for hire”.