The Corner

Home, James!

Britain’s pantomime horse of a coalition government announced a modest six billion pounds’ worth of spending cuts today. Not a lot, but I like the de facto abolition of ministerial drivers. Henceforth, just the four “Great Offices of State” – the Prime Minister, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer – will be entitled to a car and chauffeur. Everyone else “will be expected to walk or take public transport” – and, if it’s the latter, there’ll be no first-class travel.

At a certain level, this is gesture politics. But symbols are important. Citizen legislators in democratic societies are not a ruling class. They should walk among us, rather than be swanking about on the public dime. If you want a chauffeured limo, get a gig in the private sector and earn it. And that goes for Nancy Pelosi’s ludicrous Botox One jet, too. I remember as a teenager going to London, getting on the Circle Line and being impressed to find myself standing opposite a strap-hanging Lord Home, the elderly former Prime Minister, en route to the House of Lords. If the Tube’s good enough for a 14th Earl, it’s good enough for the present crowd of shakedown artists.

Nevertheless, the BBC report I heard soon got over any glee at seeing Cabinet ministers reduced in status and began obsessing over the soon-to-be-laid-off pool of government drivers as if they were mineworkers after the last pit in town’s closed down. It cheered me up no end. In a small way, even a ministerial car service is a grand example of government bloat. Chris Mullin, a former Labour minister, disliked using the chauffeured limo, but found that, even if he didn’t, it still cost the department £3,000 a month. After the growth of the state in the Blair-Brown years, there is a need for significant privatization, and the government car service is as good a place as any to start.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist. That’s to say, his latest book, After America (2011), is a top-five bestseller in ...

Most Popular

U.S.

G-File Mailbag: The Results of a Bad Idea

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you just standing there eating Zarg nuts), I had a bad idea. It wasn’t a terrible idea, like asking a meth addict ... Read More
Politics & Policy

How Democrats Can Blow It in 2020

Donald Trump probably can’t win the 2020 presidential election, but the Democrats can lose it. What I mean is that in a contest between Trump and a generic Democrat, Trump would almost surely lose if the current political climate holds through 2020. According to a Fox News poll this week, 38 percent of ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Collusion Scenario

It has become an article of faith in some quarters on the right -- well, most -- that the Mueller investigation has found no evidence of collusion with Russia and has accordingly shifted gears to process crimes like lying to the FBI or obstruction of justice. Having decided that this must be true, many have ... Read More
Immigration

Democrats’ Border-Barrier Flip-Flop

Is steel more moral than concrete? House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said last week that she and other Democrats consider a border wall “immoral.” But some of the same Democrats who decry President Donald J. Trump’s proposed concrete wall as a 30-foot-tall human-rights violation actually ... Read More