George Osborne, in his speech to the Conservative party conference demonstrated the total lack of understanding of administration that we have come to expect from almost any politician in the UK.
Faced with the explosion in the costs of the public sector, Osborne's answer is simply to freeze salaries across the board. It is certainly the case that labour costs have run out of line, but the deal that Osborne offers is essentially "accept a pay freeze and keep your job". This is not public sector reform: indeed it pretty much guarantees that the motivated staff will leave and the quality of public sector personnel will fall.
Mr. Osborne's supposedly "eye catching" and "brave reform" in effect strangles the ability of public sector management to carry out the necessary streamlining of the system: they can not fire under performing staff and they can not incentivize the staff that they want to keep.
This is not public sector reform: it is the abandonment of such reform. The signal that the freeze sends will send to staff is very clear- no matter what you do you will be paid the same and keep your job. You can not be incentivized and you can not be fired.
From Teachers and Nurses to Prison Officers, the unintended consequences of Mr. Osborne's abject ignorance of basic management will be the exit of good quality staff and an overall decline in the effectiveness of those who remain.
It is, in other words, precisely the kind of disaster that only someone who has never managed any kind of business could seriously suggest as a sensible policy.
Dan Hannan had the nerve to say that the Conservatives were the true heirs to the Manchester Liberals. The difference though is that the Manchester Liberals were competent.
George Osborne is already demonstrating that he will be a foolish, ignorant, ineffectual and incompetent Chancellor of the Exchequer. The fact that the current incumbents are equally incompetent is not much of a comfort.