Posts Tagged ‘governments’

Working with some Belgian colleagues on valuing the management of nature conservation areas at the moment. Their Government situation is an interesting one. There are strong governments in Belgium’s two regions (Wallonia and Flanders), but they have had no national Government (in the elected political sense) for over a year. The machinery of Government is still working, but the political energy of leadership seems absent.

The intriguing fact is that the Belgian economy is performing ok (growth for 2010 predicted at 2%). There doesn’t seem to be an obvious explanation for this (no big sectors that are driving GDP growth), but performance is just better than several neighbouring EU countries. So are there alternative explanations?

I’ve often thought that UK politicians change things for changes sake – to be seen to be doing something. The NHS is maybe the best example. There seems to be a major overhaul every other year. Are any of these systems ever allowed to develop and achieve their aims? Maybe like me you’ve wondered if the NHS wouldn’t be better off if the Government didn’t interfere so much: set the objectives, and the budget (including the need for savings) and let the professionals get on with it…

Maybe that’s what is happening in Belgium? Politicians aren’t interfering. The socio-economic system is the same as last year. Everybody does roughly the same thing, only slightly better. Maybe 2% better?

So should we reduce how often Government implements change – they should only reform the NHS once every decade, they should only make new policies every other year, and in between leave us to get on with it?

Or should we limit the extent to which Government intervenes – set a system and let us get on with it?

The latter question is one that we will be asking more often in the UK in near future especially in the context of how to marry the localism and big society agendas and environmental protection that requires some national systems to be in place….

Where is the balance? Brussels?!

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