Sunday 17 December 2017

We're all paying the price for grotesque influence of public service unions and weaker Government

Repeatedly, the lion's share of the 'fiscal space' went to public service pay at the expense of service improvement and investment in vital infrastructure Photo: PA
Repeatedly, the lion's share of the 'fiscal space' went to public service pay at the expense of service improvement and investment in vital infrastructure Photo: PA

Eddie Molloy

In a radio programme to honour Ken Whitaker on his 100th birthday, broadcaster John Bowman played an excerpt from an interview recorded around the year 2000 in which the esteemed public servant set out a defining mark of a functioning democracy and good government.

"The rule of law is an essential guarantee of personal freedom and social order. Lobbies have legitimate functions in protecting and advancing particular interests. But society as a whole cannot be expected to tolerate abuse of their power, particularly by intimidation in any form or defiance of the law of the land," he said.

"It may be unpopular now to praise [former UK prime minister Margaret] Thatcher, but her greatest and enduring legacy was to re-establish the supremacy of government and parliament over sectoral interests. Government and parliament, democratically elected, should never surrender independence of judgment to group or media pressure."

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